A young person I know very well told me recently that they do not live a day at a time, but mostly it's an hour at a time. The concept has gravity. There was weight to the words, for it was the case of a real and present danger, a darkness lurking, where what was spoken of implied the potential that the very next moment could take all sense of hope and rationality; a darkness descended.

I know of such hours. I recall times when one hour felt like a whole day. On other occasions, I remember, within one hour, feeling fine, then only to sink into a menacing spiral.

“What happened?” I'd think. “How could my hour / day be hijacked so instantly?”

The thing is, until this happens to you, until you're overwhelmed in a panic attack, you do not believe it's possible – for someone else, maybe, but not for you. Then you experience it for the first time, and a worst type of reality is born into existence. But such an horrendous reality is not the end of the story; it's really a beginning of something far better, if we embark on a learning journey, though I do not want to halt necessary descriptions of darkness just yet.

Experiencing the hour of darkness teachers us something about the weight of life.

It teaches us about the gravity indwelt in reality. It opens the eyes of our mind, penetrating the heart to fathoms, and makes us serious, wiser, more compassionate persons overnight. It grabs our attention, making us ever more empathic to myriad plights in the world.

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Experiencing the hour of darkness, as a swarm of spiritual heaviness hovers with fleeting swiftness, is best done still. Nothing can be added just like nothing can be taken away. Stay still, silent in your mind, hold the key of the moment, and do nothing silly.

For all those who've lived in this hourly frame, you're not alone. The seconds are arduous, the minutes contemplous, the hour's pitch darkness.

Experiencing the hour of darkness reminds us to be grateful for the return of the hour of light.

Anxiety and depression, however atrophic they are, expand our empathy, and deepen our compassion.

© 2016 SJ Wickham.