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Most words have multiple meanings and the word darkness is no exception, it's generally considered a negative word and used in such context too. Darkness means many things to me and not all bad. I'm going to start with the literal meaning, those long winter nights which make the days seem fleeting, like the sun may as well not bother rising at all. Perhaps this is where many draw their mental health analogy from, they are the sun struggling to bother at all against the inevitable moon shining stronger for longer. Winter sun has a pale watery brightness, it looks weak but the fact is it's still a raging ball of firey strength that has the ability to obliterate anything that gets close to it. Maybe I am more like the sun that I have ever realised or cared to consider. Why does the darkness make me so happy? From a condition point of view it is easy to feed people the autism reason, which is validated. Everything about night time and winter is more gentle on my senses, it's softer and less painful. Summer sunshine brings far more noises and smells, chaos and clutter, the world becomes loud and messy. My eyes hurt, my ears hurt and my skin burns, none of which is pleasant. There is also an expectation to be outside "it's a lovely day! You should be outside getting some fresh air" nobody seems to ask why though or challenge that "lovely day" isn't factual but merely an opinion. Winter is quieter, it's softer materials against my skin and more gentle lighting that's kind to my eyes. Windows are closed, people are holed up cooking roast dinners instead of a BBQ, containing their noise and smells to within their own four walls. From another point of view, the one I speak less openly about, when darkness falls it's as if a blanket has been thrown over the world. I am safe to move around, I can walk for miles knowing I can't be seen and if I can't be seen then I can't be judged. I am just someone walking along the shadowy streets, still keeping close to the trees and on high alert but more relaxed none the less. Darkness offers a level anonymity that I gratefully accept, my face is shadowed and partially hidden, it can't be read if my eyes can't be seen. I still keep them lowered when traffic passes and cross the street if people approach from the opposite direction. All this can be considered rude and possibly antisocial. I am probably both.

My eyes will always give me away, the truth will always be found in them. As with most people, their strongest emotions will be expressed in their eyes not their faces. In the dark when it is raining I can cry freely, some say this is sad and maybe it is but they don’t understand me and they don't need to. I don't walk along the night streets sobbing, the tears flow steadily and silently, they know they're allowed to be free and fall without judgement. The rain washes them away and nobody needs to know they were ever falling, the darkness and the rain keep my secrets safe. In the darkness and the rain I am safe, safe to be me, safe to carefully open up my heart and peep at what I dare to dream of but know I will never have. To face the fear that hides within me, to listen as it laughs mercilessly at my dreams for a better more fulfilled life. Then the moment comes. That moment. The moment that people say doesn't exist but I know it does and it's very real. The moment I'm alone, completely alone. The dark moment. The moment the tears stop and acceptance washes over me, I can breathe again and I am at my most relaxed state in both mind and body. I feel alive, I can and I do smile with relief and the feeling that a weight has been lifted makes me feel like I am standing even taller than I actually am. I know, without any doubt, what I will do and when. That is why I believe that one day suicide will win because the plan and the time will align with the moment and everything will play out how it is supposed to. I am alone because I want to be, it is a choice I make in the moment. I don't reach out in this moment because I choose not to because I want to be alone, my mind has never been more sure of anything. It is quiet acceptance. The dark moment is considered negative but how can something so peacefully beautiful be so bad and negative? Selfish? I can live with that, or die with it might be more fitting! I can do it because I am in the moment and when the darkness and the moment combine to become one it brings no judgement, invalidation or reaction. It just is. None of this means when I speak about my love of the dark nights or the heavy rainfall that people need to jump to conclusions and read more into it than there actually is because I genuinely love the rain and I become happier in winter. The moment is just a moment, a tiny pocket of time. Written by and shared on behalf of Steph Grainger (@TattySoul) | Twitter

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