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Sharing the storm
My parents recently asked me if I could update them more frequently on how I’m feeling so that they get some warning before a crisis. This is a perfectly logical request, but when I’m super depressed, it’s such a monotonous thing that talking about it can feel pointless. Picture this, Norman Rockwell style with old school curly telephone cords:
Me (on one end): “Hi Mom, it’s Erin. I’m feeling depressed.”
The next day: “Hey, I’m feeling shitty.”
The next: “I hate life.”
The next: “Newsflash, I’m depressed.”
What a depressing conversation! I’ve been feeling so awful lately that I’m just not talking about it with most of the people in my life. My therapist hears about it but few others do just because I don’t think anyone can do anything to help. I don’t want to share my pain because it feels like mine alone.
A friend asked me today how I’m doing and I said, “Okay,” even though it was a lie. I wasn’t suicidal, so that means I’m better than I have been. What’s the basis for comparison? Sometimes it’s just easier to lie than to try to explain the inexplicable. My life feels like a record on repeat.
A few hours ago I actually caught myself using a word I rarely use: “love”. I said, out loud and to no one: “I love thunderstorms!”
I was sitting on the porch with Digby, sporting a wicked smile as the thunderclaps roared louder and louder as they approached. After moving inside to avoid getting wet, I positioned myself in front of my bedroom window so I could sit on the bed and peer at the sky. As I watched the trees sway wildly in the wind, I took pleasure in recognizing destruction that wasn’t all in my head.
When was the last time you heard anyone tell the clouds to stop raining? People complain to each other about the weather but everyone knows complaining to the sky won’t change a thing. Thunderstorms are natural, normal, and necessary. And the sky doesn’t apologize before raining, it doesn’t beat itself up for getting everyone wet. It just does its thing.
After marveling at a feeling bigger than myself and definitely out of my control, I felt my left elbow being nuzzled. Looking over I saw Digby beside me on the bed, peering up at me with those big googly eyes. I leaned back and he jumped onto my lap so he too could peer out at the sky. We sat in the dark together, sheltered from the storm but still watching the rain and listening to the wind and the roaring.
Some things unite us, causing a shared experience that we rarely take the time to notice. Some things are bigger than us, and something as simple as the weather can remind us that our place isn’t the only place in the world. The world is huge and we aren’t alone because we share the sky and the ground and the trees. And sometimes if we’re lucky, we have someone with whom we can share the storm.
Erin Schulthies is the writer of Daisies and Bruises, a blog about "finding her way one step and one word at a time". After losing most of her youth to severe depression, she decided that since death was no longer an option, she had to find a way to live. This is it.