A Break in the Weather

handmade greeting card, Rumi

Cooler temps, clear skies, wafting breezes with the scent of milkweed blossoms—this seems to be my internal weather as well.  And like those breaks in the heat and humidity, they seem to come out of nowhere.

Earlier in the week I had a Come to Jesus meeting with myself.  When the depression bottoms out, all my demons swell up like roadkill on a hot day—gassy and explosive.  Out trotted All the Reasons My Life is Shit.  I won’t bore you with details, just to say there it is an unholy pantheon of gremlins.  And when said pantheon gets gassy and explosive, the splatter perimeter is vast.

So I sat down with my iced tea and toast and journaled until I spewed every vile thought onto the page.  All the self-contempt and whingeing, all the tar pits and road blocks, all the fist-shaking at the Universe lay exposed to the air and the light.  Then, I took a breath and said, “Now, let’s start ripping out the lies.”  So I spend another hour untwisting warped logic, adding gray to a black and white perspective, and challenging every assumption.  A few of the carcasses burst and disappeared.  Most lost volume and deflated into desiccated mats of fur—still there, still yucky, but changed.

The next hour I looked at what I could DO to start turning this rotting meat into compost.  What one small act could I implement to make one aspect of my life better?  What could I do that day?  That week?

By the time I left the cafe, the stink bomb had been disarmed.  I felt triumphant in being able to do that in and of itself.  But I also carried with me a plan to move my health, finances, and purpose in life in a positive direction.  I shared my success with my support group the next day and got nods all around the circle.

I’m not a dilettante at this process.  I know I have a narrow window to do some of these tasks and maintain a different outlook.  But the point is that I can do these things now. And I will do them as long as I can.

This is what we do.  We learn what has to be done every day to manage the illness, then we do it.  It’s the hardest work I know, and it never let’s up.  There are no vacation days and no time off for jobs well done.  There’s just the Work.  It’s not fair.  It’s not easy.  But too bad.  This is ours to do.

And then, after getting off our butts or out of our beds and doing the one thing we don’t want to do, a break in the weather comes.  We look up from whatever sweaty task we’ve been muscling into place, and all of a sudden we catch the breeze and feel it ruffle our hair.  We take a deep breath, one that loosens the belly from the clench we’ve kept it in all this time.  And we see the Great Work we’ve been doing, and it looks fine.

And we know that we’ll forget how this feels, this lightness, but if we keep coming back to the Work, keep doing all that we need to do, it will find us again.

It always does.

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24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jonathan Caswell
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 16:41:22

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    HER JOURNALING IS A GREAT PRACTICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  2. marieastra8
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 18:13:59

    Well, good for you, Sandy Sue! Sounds like you are doing what needs to be done. I have had a similar experience lately. Overwhelmed with self-doubt in the face of a new job, I was sinking fast. But I kept giving myself positive messages, and suddenly this week I convinced myself I was okay and I could actually do the job! What a difference! If only you can find that space to change the messages. Happy for you!!

    Reply

  3. karen
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 18:32:10

    you are amazing and wonderful and i love you so much!

    Reply

  4. Michelle at The Green Study
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 20:33:41

    Once I got past the road kill analogy, this struck a chord and ended beautifully. A break in the weather, indeed. Good work!

    Reply

  5. Moss Piglet
    Jul 27, 2013 @ 03:11:58

    I was enchanted by the scent of the Milkweed…named after Asclepias, the Greek god of healing…and always admire both what you say and the great weave of words you use x

    Reply

  6. Snoring Dog Studio
    Jul 27, 2013 @ 09:08:16

    Even for someone without bipolar disorder, I can use your very wise advice to help me in my own life. You have inspired me again. Your journey is inspirational.

    Reply

  7. David Kanigan
    Jul 27, 2013 @ 11:20:18

    Authentic + Inspiring = Dynamite post Sandy Sue.

    Reply

  8. Littlesundog
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 07:30:59

    I loved the road kill analogy… and that you disarmed it at a cafe! Your writing has always spoken mountains to me. This is another awesome post! Keep ’em coming, my friend!

    Reply

  9. LindaNoel
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 18:12:53

    May I make a printed copy of this text to give to my therapist? with or without the source, your blog address? He was the one who first showed me that my life of %+*@$# )(*&@(*(*^^!~~! … was bipolar disorder. I think he’ll really appreciate the substance and the writing, and it is expressive of me right now.
    This line “And we know that we’ll forget how this feels, this lightness,” squeezed that inside-my-face-place that holds my true feelings into tears and throat lump. Sooooo long I thought it was my lack of character that made me forget and plunge into you-know-what. thankyouthankyou P.S. Oh, and before that “lack of character” guess, it was that I hadn’t/wouldn’t open my heart to the all-male xtian god. I was pretty little…. so thankful I’ve lived to understand…

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Jul 30, 2013 @ 19:34:30

      First, please share this with your therapist and include the source. My hope is that he will come visit and, maybe, recommend it to others.
      Second, my heart really creaked at “I was pretty little.” To carry the illness alone would warp a wee one, but to suffer such unworthiness and guilt unchecked is just too much. I am, too, thankful you lived to understand.

      Reply

  10. Trackback: 3:54 am. And Inspired. – Lead.Learn.Live.
  11. donnaanddiablo
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 04:14:19

    I loved this post! The writing is so evocative and visceral. Thank you for sharing….

    Reply

  12. angela
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 04:25:56

    Good job. I, however, was fooled by the break in the weather and took a break on my work! It caught up with me—that horrid stench of self loathing. Now I am trying to clear out the debris of the shipwreck of me. It’s not fun and it’s tricky to know what is real and what is just ol rotten planks you’ve walked too many times.
    back at php! round 2!

    Reply

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