My Dark Place by Rachel Moorefield Weary, I whisper to myself while looking in the mirror, “What’s wrong with you, Rachel?” This is one of the many things I ask myself when I am in my dark place, lost within myself. I know it’s not healthy, but these thoughts can feel uncontrollable in the moment. I am in my dark place. A place where I can be unreachable. I may want — or desperately need — help, but I shut down when I succumb to my depression. It takes over, and it can be frightening. Being in my dark place is also scary for those around me. They struggle to understand what is happening, and their confusion is compounded by the fact that I cannot explain it myself. Even if I could explain my mental state, I don’t know if I would want to admit to it. I can become angry and contentious or sad and compliant. I can be unpredictable. It leaves me feeling alone and yearning for someone to take my hand, but instead, I will walk further into the darkness. I will not allow anyone to help me. Sometimes I don’t believe I deserve to be helped. When I am in my dark place, I can get settled here. It’s familiar. Not comfortable, but familiar. It never completely goes away and is always within reach. It will never abandon me. Sometimes, when I’m here, I can get lost and no longer find my own way out. The dark place never wants me to leave; It tells me how I belong there. It tells me how I cannot make it outside of this place on my own. It tells me how weak and broken I am. It tells me, again, how I have failed and will fail. It reminds me of my mistakes and flaws. Then, it tells me how it needs me to stay. It tells me everything I need to hear to make me believe I belong in this place. While this dark place can be a painful reality, I have learned to accept that it is a part of me. I have also learned that having a dark place is not uncommon — others may be struggling with a similar feeling. I do not have to be ashamed. It is ok that I am not always ok. And it is even ok, I learned, to share my dark place. I have learned I can let people in here. Naturally, many will not come, and others cannot stay. But what I have learned by letting people into my dark place is that sometimes they bring a light with them. Sometimes that light can be enough to help me find my way out. My vulnerability allows those around me to share their places too. I have been limiting my visits to my dark place lately — something that isn’t easy for me to do. I wish I could say it was pure will power. However, it is not that simple. I have to gather my tools to fight back when the dark place calls me. Escaping it hasn’t been a straight path out and I don’t believe it ever will be. But the more tools and friends I find on this journey out, the stronger I have become. My tools are simple but effective, and they work best when used together. My therapist is my flashlight; she helps me see in the dark. She reminds me I do not belong in my dark place and gives me the ability to see and fight off what is around me. My psychiatrist and doctor are my shield and armor in the form of a proper diagnosis and medication to help keep me safe from self-harm; to prevent the darkness from penetrating my core. The more people I share this with and the more people I invite, the less lonely it becomes. The less I hide, the more I share of this place, the more people come with lanterns. More candles are lit, more flashlights are shining. Although this dark place may always be on my map, in the distance and sometimes near, others know how to find me now, and can help hold my hand and guide me back out. It is cathartic sharing the dark place — not because we pull others in, but because we can pull each other out. Rachel Moorefield is married to her love, Steve, and together they have three amazing children together: Isaiah, Bella, and Myley. Rachel has become a mental health advocate after losing her eldest child, Isaiah, to suicide in 2018. She advocates through her YouTube channel.