When It Rains It Pours: How to Manage the Eye of the Storm
Saturday morning I woke up to…a lot of rain, as I did more days than not in the last week.
If you live in the Nashville area, chances are you’re a little water-logged too.
I’m all for a couple of cozy, rainy days. In fact, those melancholic, if not romantic, parts of me love a good excuse to hole up, drink loads of coffee, and read and write to my heart's content.
Aaaand after a non-stop week of it, I’m officially done. No mas. Vitamin D por favor.
My house has tons of big windows. This past Saturday morning, I got lost just staring out at bucket after bucket of rain, dumping against a foggy, silver day. It reminded me of the big 2010 flood.
I remember so clearly how helpless I felt during that flood. People were losing everything: their houses, cars, and sentimental belongings, while I just sat hearing about it all on the news.
Do you ever feel so helpless amidst the flood of your own emotions? Do the water levels of your own powerlessness feel so high, you just want to hide behind the covers and completely opt out?
I have felt this way more times than I can count. The waves of depression and anxiety were so crushing, every exit door to safety I knew of in my head seemed entirely too far away. My ability to cope was non-existent and I clung to the few safe people around me because I knew I didn’t have the where-with-all to weather the storm alone.
Let’s face it; there are those times in life that the pain of circumstance is more than we can bear. We can’t self-help or positive-self talk our way out of it. The gravitational pull of that pain is the only thing that seems true.
In light of this, I want to share with you three pillars of truth that have kept me afloat.
1) Reach out
This may seem ridiculously simple, yet I’m convinced most of us don’t do simple very well. We love to over-complicate things. My tendency in the eye of an emotional storm is to isolate. I don’t want anyone seeing me weak, ugly crying, or God forbid, without a plan. So, I retreat.
What I’ve wised up to throughout the years is that any act of courage REQUIRES vulnerability and this vulnerability takes bags of strength. What used to seem weak about this now seems powerful and expansive. To reach out when you’re all out of answers and the inner critic rages inside is one hell of an act of courage.
Who are your people? Have two or three people you trust and start this buoyant conversation with them now or when you’re not in crisis. Let them know that you consider them as safe and want to be able to reach out when you’re in need and vice-versa. Pre-empting this brand of connection and conversation is everything.
2) Life’s work
Reb, a brilliant therapist friend of mine, likes to say, “Don’t feel ashamed if you keep stumbling over the same problems. Consider yourself lucky! You’ve found your life’s work. Many people spend their life wandering around never quite sure what it is they should be doing.”
What is the emotion that tends to feel the most overwhelming? What is the lie that feels so heavy and relentless, you can’t seem to catch a break?
Is it depression? Anxiety or worry? Insecurity and self-doubt? Good news, this is the life’s work you must show up to do on a daily basis. What is it trying to tell you? My depression would always say, “You simply don’t have what it takes. You’ll never get there.”
Now I like to say back, “Where? I’m right where I need to be.” It’s taken me quite some time to build these muscles, and they still get sore from time to time, but I know this is part of my life’s work and the emotional fitness I must pursue.
Listen to voices amidst the unruly storms. They will be the roadmap for the internal healing journey that needs to take place.
3) This too
Finally, know this: no emotion is final. Just as storm clouds pass and the sun eventually makes her long-anticipated appearance, those feelings of hopelessness and powerless will too.
When words aren’t enough, and it seems absolutely nothing brings relief, take heart. It will inevitably pass. Sometimes the only thing we can do is watch the storm unfold, observe its strength, and touch its darkness. Don’t make up stories, or fake news about your emotions. Tip your hat and let them pass. I promise, they will.
You’ve been brought too far to simply be left here. Love is far too clever for that, my Dear…
Love & Gratitude,