I’m always searching for the right words.
For my stories. For my life.
After all, words are the form we give ideas, a way to make the intangible tangible, conceivable, real. Words confess, they admit, they ground.
I’ve always been an anxious person. Neurotic. Hyper-vigilant. I have high walls, struggle with change, emotion, vulnerability. At some point, it tipped. When I get overwhelmed, my body shuts down. I start shaking, in that teeth chattering, heart stuttering, flushed and sick to my stomach way. I try to mask it, to pretend I’m okay, and sometimes that works, and sometimes it gets worse and worse until I’m sitting on a bathroom floor, wishing I could find the plug and pull it.
It’s always been a war, mind versus body, mind over body, body over mind.
For someone who’s pretty good with words, I’ve struggled to find the right ones for this. For myself, but also for my family and friends, who wanted so badly to help, to understand, the storm in my head.
It’s taken me a long time to settle on that word. But the more I think about it, the more it fits.
Sometimes my mind is so cloudless and blue that it’s hard to imagine there ever was a storm, let alone that I’ll see one again.
Sometimes there are dark clouds in the distance, I can see them, but I’m able to skirt the weather. Other times I can’t, and I’m forced to watch the weather roll in.
Sometimes every day for weeks the forecast is dark, and I have to keep my umbrella handy, shuddering at every distant piece of thunder.
Sometimes whole seasons are made of lightning, hail, turbulent winds.
Sometimes the storm is so bad that all I can do is hunker down somewhere safe and remind myself over and over that storms pass. It’s what they do.
One of the most insidious things about mental illness is that it lies. It tries to convince you that this–how it is at its worst–is how it will always be. That the storm in your head is the new constant. That because all you can see is bad weather, that’s all there is now.
All there will ever be.
You will never see the sun again.
But that’s not how storms work. Which is why this metaphor is so important.
Because no matter the weather, the most important thing for me to remember–for anyone to remember–is this:
Sometimes fast and sometimes slow, sometimes without any damage and others with wreckage in their wake.
But they pass.
I guess I’m putting this here as a reminder–to myself and anyone else who needs it–that storms are meant to be weathered.