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They whisper, “You cannot endure the storm”. I whisper back, “I am the storm”.
July 6, 2016, 12:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Legend has it that when I was younger, a hurricane hit my coastal home town. It was so strong that it blew a pine tree through my bedroom window. While all of this was happening, my father was standing on our front porch, holding my little hand. The wind whipped by us like a tornado and the rain was coming down in diagonal buckets.

I can imagine my mother was probably in the kitchen, telling him to get his butt and her daughter back into the safety of our cape cod style house.

That wasn’t the first or the last time my father took me, or my little sister, outside to face a storm. We stood there, listening to him tell us about clouds, moisture, electric charges, pressure systems.

My father would tell us that people are only afraid of things that they do not understand.

This is not to say that every fear can be broken down to scientific, tangible pieces; there are some things in life that are scary because there is no explanation; aliens, ghosts, Donald Trump, the grassy knoll.

There are things in life that you see, that you hear about, that you go through and there is no reason for them, but they terrify you just the same. Depression is one of these terror ninjas. You can give birth to a perfectly fine baby girl. You can nurture her and love her and provide all that she needs early on in life. You can take her to church, read her classic literature, take her to music lessons. You can give this child all of the tools she would need to have a fully functioning and successful life; and yet, even at a young age, something silently slips into her brain. It takes her serotonin and dopamine and makes jello out of them.

Doctors can talk to you until they are blue in the face, but they still can’t pinpoint why you are depressed, bipolar, riddled with anxiety, or faced with crippling obsessive compulsive behaviors. If people knew how to fix these disorders, if they fully understood how they worked, there would be a simple solution. There would be one pill to balance everything back out the way they are supposed to be.

When you are in the deep throws of a depression bout, when you can’t get out of bed, when you want to kill yourself, the fear takes over. Your mind has betrayed you; you don’t remember what it felt like to be normal, or at least functional.

People are always saying to only worry about things in life that you can control. This is supposed to serve as a coping mechanism against stress, I guess, but to someone like me it is bullshit.

My brain is inside of my skull which seems like something well within my control. This is my body. This is the only body I have been given and I should be in charge of how everything works in there. I read the manual, I took the trainings. And yet,

 

and yet

my brain frightens me.

It takes me dark places that I cannot breath in. It takes me into rooms with no windows and slams the door. It takes me away from my body, my heart, my soul. It robs me of everything else I CAN control about myself.

It’s basically an abusive relationship that there is no breaking up from.

I try to understand it. I take my pills. I go to the appointments. I keep vigil watch over my moods. I try so hard to stand on that porch and watch as my storm goes by; I try to break things down like my father does–science, logic, bravery.

But what can you do when that storm never passes? What happens when the storm just recedes back into your brain?

I, we, you must be strong enough to step off that porch. Stand in the middle of the storm. Lean in.

And understand that sometimes it is not just about understanding things that frighten you, but about being strong enough to endure it blindly.

As a summer thunderstorm rolled violently through my sleepy southern town this afternoon, my daughter cowered in her room, diving deeper under her covers with each roof shaking boom.

“Come out of there. It is only noise. It cannot hurt you.”

If only everything was so simple.

 

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I needed this tonight. Thank you

Comment by Lily




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