Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Last night I indulged in one of the best reality shows on television, “So You Think You Can Dance”.  The show is up to the top 10 dancers and now these dancers, who were dancing with each other, are now dancing with an all-star from a previous season.  The stakes are higher as they begin to compete hard to win top honors.  One of the pieces last night was dark in its theme.  The piece was about a woman who was having a nightmare, and the male dancer (Rickie), the contestant, was the nightmare.  He danced the piece beautifully and then I starting thinking about what it means to be afraid of the dark.

In psychological terms we often talk about the “shadow”, the part of ourselves we push away because it’s not pretty, but it’s important to unlocking the clues about our true nature.  The dark doesn’t have to be a bad thing because for many it prompts us to take action, moving us closer to our desired results.  Anything that gets us up and going toward health and healing is a good thing.

How can the “dark” be a good thing?  This week I spoke with a client about a family situation regarding divorce.  The client prefaced the story by stating I shouldn’t be worried about possible negative actions; it’s only talk.  The client began to speak about a revenge fantasy.  I’m totally on board with revenge fantasies because they come from a place of authenticity in the soul.  It allows you to fantasize and release the negative energy that might be holding you back from getting better or well.  I can’t tell you how many people tell me they don’t have revenge fantasies, until they are given permission to have them and that they are good to have, then the flood gates open and the revenge fantasies flow.

The diagnosis of a chronic or other life-altering illness propels many of us to the dark side.  The anger that often comes with the diagnosis of a health challenge sets these dark thoughts in motion, but releasing them allows the body to restore its sense of balance.  It’s like when we sweat allowing the body to cool down.  The dark thoughts/revenge fantasies allow the body and soul to cool down so you can focus on health and healing.

Remember, that to some degree we’re all afraid of the dark; you just need to create a night-light to help you find your way!


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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