Light at the end of the tunnel

So, you’ve opened this blog post and found a rather poor photograph and half a page of solid, black nothingness. There is a point to this, and it’s about finding the light at the end of a long, black tunnel. Allow me to explain.

I was in my home city of York, stuck in traffic and feeling sorry for myself. I’d just had the latest of three disappointments in as many weeks and was wondering if I could pick myself up enough to be a cheery presence at the leaving do I was on my way to.

Pondering these rather gloomy, negative thoughts and staring straight ahead at the back of a car I’d been looking at for nearly half an hour, I suddenly realised I was beneath an arch – Micklegate Bar – and there was literally light at the end of the tunnel. The unexciting image you can see above is that light.

I scrambled for my phone in an attempt to take a photo before the traffic began to move. I must have lurched as I took the photo, and found I’d taken a blurred, wonky photo of a ‘keep left’ sign. I tried again, and the traffic lights obligingly stayed red, as you can see from the resulting image.

The view you’ve just been looking at inspired me. I know it doesn’t look very inspiring, but to me it was a revelation and it changed my mood completely.

It became symbolic of my past year. Last October, I crashed into a second major bout of depression, triggered by my reaction to what I saw at the time as a personal rejection. I could have taken these latest three disappointments in that same way, but instead I vowed to learn from them and keep going, because nothing will happen if I do nothing.

Yes, I’d been sad, disappointed – gutted even – but I was able to accept (probably thanks to the counselling I’ve had, the books that I’ve read and the wise words I’ve listened to) that it is perfectly normal, even for the most upbeat of people, to be disappointed sometimes, and not necessarily a sign of an impending re-run of my depression.

This acceptance and determination is something I simply could not do and did not have twelve months ago. It was a sign of real progress, and a reminder of how far I’ve come.

It showed me that however long and dark the tunnel may be, it’s worth keeping the faith that you will one day see the light at the end of it. A moment after I took the photo, the lights changed, I moved forward and turned a corner. More signs of progress yet to come?


12 Comments on “Light at the end of the tunnel”

  1. Shawn says:

    The whole time I was reading I just kept thinking “ya, but the light at the end of the tunnel is red.” So I am thankful for the last paragraph (and your continued forward momentum) otherwise the metaphor and irony were just too much.

    • Jan says:

      Brill! Thanks! Where I used to live I could see Wales and most of the area was covered with trees except one patch! At night I could see the area lit up except for one dark patch! That reminded me of depression but it was so lovely to see the rest of the area shining brightly which reminded me of happy times and not sad!!!!!!

    • paulbrook76 says:

      Ah yes, I was thinking of the general light rather than the specific traffic light, but see what you mean! Glad I rescued the metaphor at the end 🙂 Cheers.

  2. Ruth Evans says:

    It is so hard,sometimes to change how we think, but so powerful. One day soon , you will be in the light, with the tunnel behind you. I love the phrase ‘Change the way you think and you change the world’.

  3. Kim Williams says:

    I completely understand where you are coming from. This time last year I was in a bad place too. I never thought things would get better but now I have returned to learning and the future looks bright. I still worry about things but I have to keep my eyes facing forward towards the light and keep moving no matter how small the steps get at times.

  4. Hi Paul, love the blog.
    Would you consider writing a recovery letter for our blog? Twitter @Recoveryletters
    Would be v grateful.

  5. Julie says:

    Oh Paul! Brillant as ever – do hope all is green now


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