As Storm Doris touched down over the UK this week, I was amid a storm of my very own. The name of my storm also began with the letter D, but to me, it felt far more gruelling than any weather storm ever could.
While the gale force winds whipped the country into a frenzy, my storm caused chaos in my mind. When the rain lashed down, so did my tears. The heavy darkness of the clouds was no rival for the black, helpless feeling that engulfed my body and soul. The media feasted on stories of Storm Doris, meanwhile I had completely lost my appetite. Even the wheelie-bins seemed to taunt me as they flew effortlessly down the street; because I could barely muster the energy to stand up.
Yes, my storm was called Depression.
So, I battened down the hatches, armoured myself in a soft blanket, took to the sofa and did whatever I needed to do to get through.
As the storm raged on, inside and out, I became drawn to the trees outside. I noticed the way that they were being thrashed around by the screaming winds, and suddenly felt a strange type of affinity with them… I really understood how it felt to be pushed and pulled by a force that is out of your control.
Something struck me as I continued watching in my sad day-dreamy state. No matter how the devastating gusts of wind beat the trees, the trees remained firmly rooted to the earth and always returned to their up-right position once the gale had passed. Sure, the odd leaf might get torn off, or a branch may crack, but after everything they still stood strong and tall. This gave me hope.
I hoped that I could be like those trees in my garden. That I too could emerge from my own storm, standing tall and knowing that I have everything I need at my roots to help me heal and continue growing.
So I paid closer attention to those trees, realising that they weather the storm by bending and moving with the blows, rather than stoically trying to battle against them. I took their advice and decided that this time I would bend with the blows of my own storm.
I slept when I was too tired to do anything else. I snuggled up to my partner in crime when I needed some comfort and reassurance. I took time to be alone when being around others felt like too much to bear. I wrote in my journal when I couldn’t get my thoughts straight in my head. I ate whatever I could face, whenever I could face it.
Slowly, the storm clouds started to lift and eventually I ventured out in to the garden. I found that the sun had risen once again and was beaming down from a clear blue sky. A stillness surrounded me. I saw the trees, but this time I noticed how calm they were. The two joyful magpies had returned to their treetop home and were resplendently chirping out their birdsong as usual.
Then I spotted my daily reminder to ‘Enjoy the little things’ hanging on my tree. I was surprised that this heart had survived the storm, but it had! IT REALLY HAD!
I felt grateful for the clarity of the blue skies, and for the returning clarity in my mind. I breathed in the fresh air and realised that I am just like those trees after all.
I can weather the storm. And so can you.