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Why I Always Light a Candle on Nights I Struggle With Depression

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Young adult life, particularly when coupled with mental illness, is tumultuous and confusing and the darker it gets, the harder it seems to be to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Viewing this in the light of my own life, there have been many moments I’ve felt darkness over the past year — many moments my rollercoaster of emotions and events plunged deep underneath the ground, taking my view of the track away completely. During those times, I’ve found solace in the simple act of lighting a candle.

I’ve also found it soothing to keep one lit as I go through my evenings, whether they are spent on homework, watching movies or even cleaning my apartment.

It has a little more flair than flipping a switch, and it brings this warm and natural light that’s alive, active and beautiful. Keeping a candle next to me while I work has reminded me to never stop working, to keep the candle inside burning and to not give up, even when what I’m working on (or working through) seems impossible.

The glow of candlelight reminds us that even a small flame can bring warmth, comfort and light to even the darkest places; the act of lighting it reminds us that while we don’t have the power to change our situations, we have the power to create a light in the darkness.

At the same time, we can remember that we have a flame within us, even when it’s barely a flicker in the dark. We create light through our existence, and this flame never stops burning no matter how small it becomes.

If you ever find yourself in a place too dark to see, give yourself the reminder of the warmth and light that exists even when we can’t see it, even when it feels too small to provide much relief. Keep it burning. Remember that your presence is in itself a light that can provide warmth and guidance on your way, no matter how dark things may be.

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Getty Images photo via adrianova_

Originally published: March 16, 2018
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