Storms


Storms may ravage us, but we can rebuild.

It was the day after storm Doris and the air wass fresh, the sky blue, the birds were singing, and everything felt serene. If somebody had just arrived, they would have had no idea of the violence of yesterday’s weather.

That’s how I feel when a low has passed. The serenity, the calm, and the sense of hope that I can start building again. I can begin to put back together that which the wind has torn asunder. It might never be as it was, I might never be the same but I can rebuild, make something new, maybe something better.

When we are inside it, it feels like we won’t make it out alive. The meloncholy, the pain of a grief that you don’t understand the bewilderment of not wanting to feel this way but somehow feeling solace in the familiarity of it all.  We don’t know when the wind will ease or if there is worse to come. The uncertainty is the worst part.

As the wind blows us this way and that, we feel we wont ever find peace. We are lost at sea.
When the winds drop, the rain stops and the skies clear, that is the moment to take control. Do it before the next storm comes.  Start learning about the climate of your mind.  Learn the signs before the next low comes.  Learn how to build a sea wall, a stronger roof.

The trees that don’t blow down in then wind aren’t the strongest ones or the most steadfast but the ones that move with the wind, that let themselves be flexible. We have to be the same.  If something isn’t working we need to find new ways to do it.  We need to move with the wind of our circumstance.

If you can weather the storm, brighter days and better things will come. When you’re in it, it doesn’t feel that way.  The eye of the storm is a dark, silent, lonely place. How could you believe it would ever end or improve? The truth is, you can’t. All you can do is keep fighting, keep moving forward with your head down, braced against the wind. I don’t mean keep going as if nothing is wrong. Ask for help, tell someone you aren’t okay. There is strength in numbers.

Breathe

When it all gets too much, remember to breathe. More than that, focus everything on your breath for a short time and bring yourself back to where you are. Nothing is as bad as you feel it is in those moments of panic. Try, if you can, to get it under control before it takes control of you. It’s not easy, not always, but it can be done and it gets easier with practice.  Focus on your breath and a try little self talk.

Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so.  Block out your surroundings for a few brief moments.  Go somewhere quiet in your mind, somewhere you feel safe. A forest, an island, your house, it doesn’t matter.

Feel your feet on the ground.  Notice your body. Drink in the fresh air and feel it filling your lungs and bringing you back.

Breathe in and feel calmness start to swell within you.

Breathe out your worries and let them drift off to some far away place. Watch them go in your minds eye until they are so small and so far away, you can’t recognise them anymore.

Breathe in and count to ten slowly.

Breathe out and count again.

Feeling calmer with every breath.

Breathe in and feel your body and soul being filled with warm light, calming and soothing.

Breathe out any stresses or tensions still lingering within you.

Breathe in and feel your heart filling with love and let that love wash over you until it becomes you and you become it.

There’s nothing to frightened of or anxious about. Let it go. Breathe it out.

Feel your feet on the ground and breathe.

You will be okay.

Just breathe.

Spring

Depression is the winter of the soul, but spring will come if we can just hold on.

It won’t be long, I can feel it in the air. The days are getting longer and the night is ebbing away. My heart is starting to flutter with the excitement of renewal.  I adore the spring and all it brings with it. I am ready to be renewed.

I think one of the things that makes depression worse in the winter (and for me it always is) is the way it screams of our own mortality. Everything dies, the leaves are gone from the trees, leaving them bare, the flowers are vanished and the birds don’t sing. Everything is cold, lifeless and seemingly barren. It’s harder to feel joy when everything around you is bleak.
But winter doesn’t last forever and we will come through it. We just have to wait it out, plant seeds for the spring and wrap up warm.

Little by little the winter will yield to the spring. The snowdrops will flower, the daffodils will bud soon after and wait for their turn to open, the blue skies will become more frequent and the days will draw out. Colours will start bleeding into the picture like a massive celebration of life and the birds will sing again, the warm air carrying their music to our ears. We will be awakened from the hibernation of our spirit and our peace.

Everything will be reborn and with it will come hope. Warmer, sunnier days are on the horizon.

Hold on.