Sympathy for the Vampires

I love dark, gothic, supernatural tales. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. You name it, I can’t get enough of good dark tales. In fact, part of why I named this page The Dark Tales Project was in homage to that whole genre of culture. Yet I also get it. I have sympathy sometimes for the vampire.

In the worst of my depressive episodes, sleep was elusive at night, but I certainly never had the energy or motivation to leave my bed during the day. I feared and I felt that my darkness would prove to be a drain on others, sucking their happiness away from them.

Of course, I am not a vampire. For one thing I have enjoyed my days in the sun, especially since I’ve learned to manage my mental illnesses better. For another, I do drink wine, and many other beverages, unlike Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula.

Yet it makes me wonder about some of these legends, even having sympathy for the monsters in them. Because of my mental illnesses I have likely been the villain in someone’s tale. My own darkness, my own demons, threatening to even become my own villain, the Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyll.

Yet unlike those gothic tales of old, my story isn’t over yet. I can choose my ending. And regardless of the ending, I can still have sympathy for those who are battling in the dark, because I’ve been there too. Unfortunately, too many people have ostracized those battling mental illness, treating them as nothing more than dangerous monsters simply because they were different. In reality most of us battling in the darkness are more prince than beast, no matter how long we’ve locked ourselves and our demons away.

It is easy to judge others when we fill in the details, easier still when we turn a blind eye to the dark tales. Yet compassion and understanding are the harder road, and the one that can ultimately help push back on the demons of mental illnesses, helping everyone step out into the sunlight. Which is of course the happy ending we all deserve.

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