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Symptoms of the Dark Night of the Soul

Symptoms of the Dark Night of the Soul

The symptoms of the Dark Night of the Soul can be hard to deal with.

You’re pushed to your very limits physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

However, knowing the symptoms helps you prepare for what’s to come.

That’s why we’re here to help you find a light to hold on to.

What Are the Symptoms of the Dark Night?

Symptoms vary depending on what stage of the Dark Night you’re in.

From start to finish, it’s a spiritual journey of ups and downs, twists and turns.

From emotional despair to existential dread – you experience more than you can handle. You experience more than anyone can bear. The Night breaks even the most resilient soul.

But the question stands: what are the signs of the Dark Night of the Soul?

Let’s do a quick breakdown before we jump into the details:

  1. Spiritual depression
  2. Emotional instability
  3. Existentialism
  4. Isolation
  5. Loss of meaning
  6. Hopelessness
  7. Loss of faith

Still, you will experience a unique concoction of symptoms during the Dark Night.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common signs and symptoms:

1 • Struggling With Spiritual Depression

St. John of the Cross defined ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ as a journey of change and transformation through pain and suffering – when the whole world turns against you.

And there’s one prevalent symptom to note. And that is spiritual depression.

But what does that mean, anyway?

It’s usually described as a sense of emptiness.

You lose purpose and direction. The meaning of life suddenly eludes you.

When the Dark Night of the Soul unfolds, it casts a shadow over your life.

You can’t make yourself happy or find fulfillment in things you love to do.

It’s like a thief of joy has snuck into your soul and stole the riches.

The divine spark within you dims, and you begin to question everything.

No matter how far and wide you look, there’s no answer or meaning to find.

The symptom of spiritual depression causes you to lose faith and hope. You begin to rethink your life through the lens of a pessimist. And this can lead to self-loathing.

An inner turmoil takes place, usurping peace and harmony.

2 • Intense and Overwhelming Emotions

The initial shock of the Dark Night of the Soul evokes intense emotions.

You respond by trying to take control of the rising emotional tempest.

They’re beyond anything you’ve experienced before.

Expect your mental health to plummet when you’re going through the Dark Night.

You may feel like you’re caught in a vortex of confusion and doubt. You may have some strength to fight and resist – but it drains you quickly. The internal struggle intensifies.

There’s no winning the fight against the Dark Night. There is only survival.

Be ready to experience emotions beyond their usual thresholds.

When you’re sad, it’s a profound sadness. When you need love, you crave it. And when you’re empty, the void is all-consuming. And it can be challenging to weather the storm.

The Dark Night of the Soul demands an almost impossible amount of resilience.

3 • Questioning the Meaning of Life

Although Dark Nights vary from person to person – some symptoms are more common.

Most people experience an existential crisis during the Dark Night of the Soul.

Because of this, their mental health plummets to an all-time low.

And it’s not because you question it. But because there’s no meaning to find.

Living through the Dark Night means living in darkness, depression, and confusion.

You’re purposeless, like a ship without sails.

And nothing you do can help you restore that old, vibrant self.

In the beginning, you’re more curious about the world. But the answers elude you, leading you to believe there’s no meaning to be found. You forego purpose and embrace nihilism.

The more you think and ponder, the worse it gets.

The Dark Night paints your thoughts with a pessimistic color.

Some signs of spiritual darkness make you question reality. Although this is only a part of the transformative journey, the Dark Night makes you unable to look beyond the surface.

4 • Loneliness and Isolation

As the Dark Night of the Soul unfolds, you grow distant from the people around you.

Being around people no longer fills you with joy and wonder.

So, you resort to solitude – your self-created prison of isolation.

The Dark Night builds a barrier, preventing you from breaking free.

And it’s not just a physical isolation. It’s a spiritual and an emotional one, too.

You’re detached from your ego and feel alone in a world of limitless possibilities, all of which lie beyond your reach. It feels like nothing you do can bring you closer to them.

You reflect in solitude and drive yourself deeper into the madness.

The turmoil within swallows you whole and brings a world of pain and misery.

As the Night progresses, you grow more and more distant from your purpose in life.

You try to reach out, but there’s just no breaking out of it.

The people you love and care about grow distant from you with time.

And it’s because this feeling causes you to teeter on the edge of giving up.

If you’re giving up on yourself – how can you expect others to have hope?

The Dark Night can be cruel to the soul, but the spiritual journey has a purpose.

5 • An Inability to Find Meaning

When experiencing the Dark Night of the Soul – the world loses meaning.

The things that meant everything to you now appear empty and devoid of purpose.

So, you don’t make an effort to sustain your relationships. Why would you if it’s meaningless? You still show up at your job but put in twice as much effort and dedication.

You feel like you wouldn’t mind if your whole life falls apart – and slowly, it is.

Most of the time, you spend alone with your thoughts, none optimistic.

You’ve abandoned your ambitions and pinned them to the wall as a futile effort.

Your soul is dark, and there’s a persistent emptiness within.

Yet, for something so empty, it casts quite a large shadow, enshrouding your life.

It affects every part of your life, from your relationships to hobbies and passions.

You experience moments of defiance in a want to reignite the spark within – but that inspiration fizzles out quickly. You’ve long parted ways with discipline and dedication.

At the start of the Dark Night, there’s an inner need, a desire for things to make sense.

But as the Night progresses, casting wickeder shadows, that need is extinguished.

From there on, you’re stuck in a blackened void of a life you used to live.

6 • You Feel Hopeless

The Dark Night of the Soul overwhelms with the feeling of hopelessness.

The longer the Night goes on, the worse it gets.

The more you fight and resist to no avail, the sooner you surrender.

Because of this, you lose self-confidence and resort to isolation.

You fail to envision a brighter future or a way back to what you used to be.

The Dark Night of the Soul erases any hope for a better tomorrow.

During the initial phase, you still hold on to faith, salvaging what you can. But as the Dark Night of the Soul progresses, you grow colder and distant – closer to a spiritual surrender.

From start to finish, it’s a journey of pain and suffering.

And it blinds you to the spiritual transformation beyond the hardship.

It’s impossible to perceive until the symptoms of the Dark Night die out.

7 • You Lose Faith in the Divine

You can expect to lose faith when going through the Dark Night of the Soul.

You may not lose it altogether, but it is sure to waver.

The spiritual crisis you endure shakes the very foundation of your belief.

You begin to question higher powers and look for meaning in other places.

The Dark Night instills a sense of loneliness that transcends the people around you.

You feel abandoned by the higher powers, left to fend for yourself.

The absence of divine guidance makes it harder to keep going forward.

With faith, you lose hope in finding salvation and restoring balance.

In Conclusion

The Dark Night of the Soul is a journey of spiritual awakening.

However, the symptoms of the Dark Night paint a different, much darker picture.

Now that you know what lies ahead and what to expect – prepare for it.

When the Dark Night ends, you change into a different person.

You become closer to your true self.