The Moth, the Light, and the Positive

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March 21, 2018
moth, positive

The moth is drawn to the flame. A short life lived, though moths are always searching for the light. I find myself thinking about the way a moth lives and wonder if the metaphor is something to strive for.

Like the moth, in the grand scheme of time, we live short lives. And just as the moth spends a short time on Earth searching for and following the light, we as human beings should spend our gift of time on the planet searching for the light, or rather, the positive.

Negativity Turned Positive

Why do we so often miss out on the positive, and only see the negative? Maybe not always, but frequently we put more weight on negativity than we do on positivity. And living with mental illness makes the heavy weight of negatives in life bear down on us. It is a constant struggle to see the light, especially when depressed, in a bipolar downswing, or constantly hearing angry voices in schizoaffective psychosis. I have experienced all three of these at one point or another on my mental health journey. Today, though, I am searching for the positive, that light that draws the moth to the flame. And it is not easy, by any means.

In DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), we learn to observe our thoughts without judgment. It is a therapy that takes practice. If we notice a feeling that does not sit well with us, we can learn to change it with an opposite emotion. In turn, we can make an opposite action, fighting for doing great things, in spite of wanting to stay in bed in the fetal position. So many times, I struggle to get out of bed when in a depression, but there is truth to the therapeutic relief felt after successfully getting up, showering, and making the day become about the things that I know I love to do, even if it feels painful in the moment. That painful moment passes, and I see the sunlight of the day. Just as we let a craving pass in addiction, the negative thought or feeling can be accepted in a nonjudgmental way – and it passes.

Positivity in the Present

Positive moments in life often get shadowed by the negative times. When dealing with mental illness, the past may be judged by how difficult it was, and how overcoming dark times seems nearly impossible. But, change the thought if you can. The past is in the past, so why focus on, and place value upon those dark days when you are living in the present? Make a new moment, not just with a focus on the positive, but with focus on the strength it took to get to today. We are all stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

Thoughts of suicide make it so difficult to see the light in the darkness. But, if we can hold on and let the moment pass, the negative feelings that we overcome become strength in getting through it. I have felt suicidal many times, and it is incredibly difficult to refrain from acting on those thoughts while in the depth of a dark place. When we overcome them, we can say, “Hey, I managed, I overcame, and I am alive today.” Self-love can be the goal of overcoming those grim times. It is a gift that we can give ourselves. We are all good enough for ourselves, and if we can hold on to the strength inside of us as we live day-by-day with invisible illness, then we have gained the positive in the moment.

The Present is Now

The moth spends its little time on Earth chasing after the good, the light, the positive. We can learn from the moth and let each day be a promise to ourselves that we will find the light, the safe, the good, the happy, and the uplifting. Whether we are spiritual, or not, we can be our own champions over negative and let the positive win. It is not to say that those dark days will no longer be there; believe me, they will. It is, however, safe to say that the light will be brighter each day that we overcome our struggles. I like to think that even in darkness or on a cloudy night, those stars still burn brightly for all of us in the sky. Let’s shine back. Let’s be the light for the moth. Let’s be the light for ourselves.

Joanna Fanuko

Joanna Fanuko

Joanna advocates for mental health and wellness through her writing and charitable work. She has a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing from Carnegie Mellon University. She lives with her energetic poodle who provides her with “pet therapy” in the form of unconditional love.

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