Lighthouse on Dream Ash Island.

It's an unseen orb that arrives from time to time for no reason at all. An unwelcome guest with no immediately apparent rational explanation. The first response is to look for a cause outside one's self. Something in the environment, some condition or circumstance. Anything in the real world that is an unwelcome influence or minor irritant.

It's a darkness unseen but often illustrated in cartoons as a storm cloud following someone. It could be sadness, despair, anxiety or anger. We often look deep into our past to search for explanations. Some event in our childhood, some wrong decision. Something, anything to rationalize the suffocating presence of the unwanted negative emotion.

For some it is present all the time, lurking in the background, influencing our behavior, activities, decisions; rendering us insufferable as colleagues, friends or family. The vaporous demon of negative emotion is compounded often by the resulting feelings of abandonment. We often say we have abandonment issues, but it's the same emotion creeping over us with the arrival of empty weekends, holidays or fair weather shared with no other.

The feeling interferes with the ability to remember names, instructions or directions without the aid of pen and paper. It can be beaten back only partially with food, alcohol, gambling, or other distraction that shifts focus from it to the sensation of gratification following simple materialistic activities.

The frustration of not knowing its true nature, that it lies only within ourselves, can cause some to escalate toward violence, lashing out. However, recognizing its true nature, that it's merely a combination of chemicals in our brains that trigger unwanted feelings, that nothing outside ourselves causes negative emotions, may provide some solace and strength in our social character. If it weren't so damn insidious.

Years later the damage is done. friends are gone, family gives a wide berth, intimate companionship is long foregone. All that's left are the ashes of dreams upon which to build a lighthouse, a warning beacon for the rest of you to find and strangle your dark, persistent, insidious negative emotions, and not blame them on others.