If we’re lucky we’ll only see a few black holes in our lifetime.
The thing is black holes can appear out of nowhere – one day you’re jogging along quite nicely, next minute one tiny thing happens and there you are right in the deepest of holes, with apparently no way out.
Black holes are non discriminatory, they don’t just affect the obviously struggling; people with money, success, great lives can just as easily end up in one.
What’s different though, and is discriminatory, is a persons ability to get out of the hole. If life has chucked you challenge after challenge, survival has become tricky, key relationships have gone, the metal needed to scramble out of a black hole is harder to find.
That’s not to dispute that black holes are not all black holes, we can’t stand back and judge someone else’s and say it’s grey not black. Black holes are deeply personal – it’s not for anyone else to say your hole is not black!
We focus a lot on describing the black hole and the hows and why it appeared and even the unfairness of being in it – but all that in the end uses energy, energy which is in short supply in a black hole.
What’s also pointless is the feeling that someone could or should be coming to the rescue – this is the biggest of all the tricks the black hole plays and often results in people succumbing to the darker powers of the hole, imagining there is a missing rescue plan. (Which dives a person deeper into blame, shame, hurt and self-pity – none of which help the process of getting out)
Black holes are real, black holes have the power to change the language in your head, your body chemistry, your moods and feelings, presenting only one side and only allowing negative emotions, removing the natural balance of life and sucking all the focus from everywhere into the hole, they are our biggest challenges – and it seems they are close to 100% resistant to fixes by other people.
One of the biggest challenges of dealing with a black hole is acceptance, in other words building a nest in the hole, making yourself comfy in the hole, isolation, avoidance of the world, addictions and more can build a cocoon inside, which renders the black hole less obvious, dulls the ‘blackness’ so that it can be endured. To some extent acceptance helps, can be a way to regroup on energy, but the danger it holds is to create a permanent prison within the hole.
At any point in time, people you know are in a black hole.
Creatives can be more prone than others.
Often shame comes as the bed partner of the black hole. An embarrassment to be in it, a shame of not being able to jump right out. The stronger and more independent and successful the person, the higher the potential for shame.
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” ― Brené Brown
The shame people feel about being in a black hole, just adds to the difficulty of getting out. Shame often needs to be handled first.
“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” ― Brené Brown
This is not the same as asking for help.
Getting out of the hole is hard because the world outside – with a more proper balance of opportunity and potential is not visible from the hole – ‘black hole’ thoughts tend to go along the lines of “it’s pointless trying” or “its hopeless” or “there’s no other options” because the black hole is rendering all other options and emotions and mindsets irrelevant and invisible. It’s what black holes do!
Black holes are a change mechanism – either because we have no option to change (like as in loss of someone/something) and as a result we are plunged into this hole to figure out how to move forward, or because we take a road which has a black hole in it (business failure, debt) and we are forced then to change our path to get out of it.
Change is mostly hard, we are by nature change resistant, however much we talk about wanting to. The black hole, is actually helpful, because it makes change an imperative, impossible to avoid. Change, especially big life or significant personal change is rarely possible without the help of a black hole.
Climbing out of a black hole, contrary to hope, can be a real anticlimax, acknowledged by no-one. Just another day, but suddenly the primordial black soup of the hole, has less magnetism than the day before, or the day before that. Often the strategies which have worked to allow some scrambling up and out are small and not deliberate. It’s more often about creating a star trek like deflector shield – to prevent the hole from creating negative emotions, thoughts and feelings – to allow survival skills, initiative and energy to be used for good, than it is about coming up with new brilliant ideas.
What is also NOT true, is that having been in many black holes before, that new ones become easier to handle. Black holes are black – end of!
Mostly, we do not have control over when they appear or how often. We don’t always deserve them, and the change/s that come from surviving them are not always better.
What we can do, is stop blaming ourselves and others for their existence. What we can do is stop judging people (or ourselves) when there are many or when it’s difficult to get out.
In one way it’s like getting the flu, fairly random how that happens and apparently random how bad one person or another is affected by it. Black holes are a natural hazard of life. Nothing to be ashamed of. Generally nothing to fix. Everything to do with change.