Dancing on the edge of the Pit of Despair

Image by the glorious Jessica Tremp

Yesterday I found myself in the foetal position, on the floor surrounded by tear soaked shreds of tissue.

Nothing particularly bad had happened, but the combined weight of a whole lot of things just suddenly felt too heavy to carry and I collapsed in a messy emotional heap. The kind of heap that reason, rationality and sense, flees from in terror. 

Truth didn't seem to want to find or rescue me at all, and my own mind had turned on me. It attacked me with mean thoughts about my failures, my self-worth, my lack of self-discipline, it judged and tormented me.  All of the worst parts of myself were drawn to the surface and raged inside me, reducing me to a defeated shell. 

Rationally I know that emotions, are a filtered response to circumstance. They are real, but often do not contain truth. Even though I know this, I still found that I had fallen into the Pit of Despair and I couldn't get out alone.

I sent an email. To the founders and leaders of Thought Leaders Business School which I am part of and which a lot of my world revolves around right now. The email subject line simply read, "Help, please". The rest had bits in it like this  ...."The crash has happened. I have fallen into a pit of despair and I'm finding it hard to see past the fear....."

The interesting thing, as soon as I hit send on that email, I felt incredible relief. I had shared my fragility and vulnerability, acknowledging my failings and stresses and asked simply for help.  I immediately felt strong enough to pick myself up, dust myself off and get back to work. All of a sudden the monumental obstacles and mountainous journey ahead of me, became a series of very step-able steps. One metaphorical foot in front of the other. The raging voices became low hums and niggles, the negative self-talk, turned into conversations around action and truth emerged like beacons of peace from the settling dust storm of emotional chaos.

I spoke to Sam (my beautiful ex- husband) and he told me the story of Sunil Ambris, who in the weekend, on his debut playing cricket for the West Indies, went out for a golden duck, by stepping on his own wickets. Imagine the honour and glory of being chosen to play for your country, to be in front of millions of people, to step up, to face history, only to make it for all the wrong reasons. 

Failure, can be the thing we learn the most from and the way we face it, how we turn up in the midst of it, has the power to change the world.

Matt Church the founder of TLBS, in his email reply, shared with me this mantra, "when you're going through hell, keep going".  To me this means, do not stay on the floor, ask for help, do not cry alone, do not give up. 

I feel for Sunil, his failure has been globally broadcast and laughed at, there will be memes, ridicule, and reminders of this one moment for the rest of his life.  He will always be that guy.  But I'm also really excited for him, because from here, he can only rise, and I hope he does! 

So, today, I'm rising. Acknowledging the fear, dancing on the edge of the pit of despair (metaphor for life?) knowing that when I fall again, it is survivable.