I watch as the clouds turn from a pleasant grey to a dark, heavy, and threatening charcoal grey.
Winter is peering over the hills, casting a long shadow over our small town. Daylight Savings Time has fooled us; no longer does the sky stay bright as the time clock ticks, nearing Closing Time.
The clouds, the darkness, and the expectations weigh heavily in the air as I wait for my family to pick me up. Looming above me is the potential for a powerful storm. I hold my breath, hoping it waits.
Inside, the clouds of a different storm wait. They twist and turn, growing heavier and darker by the day, consuming my mind with different thoughts. I am not sure when this storm will hit–or, if it will blessedly pass me over. Hope, excitement, and other positive emotions are squeezed out by nervousness, pain, and fear. Disappointment dots my landscape. I push through, though, certain I can work the bad thoughts away.
I am home with the kids and husband, lying in bed when the clouds release a torrential outpouring of rain. It isn’t the gentle pitter patter I had wanted; instead, the water slaps my windows, walls, and roof over and over again, jerking me awake as I listen to the sounds and hope our walls and windows keep us warm and safe.
The storm inside is more complicated, silently waiting until I have relaxed to fully engage my mind, releasing a torrential outpouring of happy and sad, exhaustion and elation. My insides shake as I am slapped consistently by a barrage of these competing emotions, attempting to decide which ones to focus on.
I hide under my covers as the storms outside and inside converge, metaphorically, in a thunderous roar above my head. The walls shake and I cower even further under the protection of warm blankets. I tremble, not wanting to know the truth. Or worse, to confront my fears.
But deep inside, as the storm rages on, I feel the shield of strength. An umbrella emerging to protect my face and arms from the worst of the barrage as I confront my issues. I take deep breaths and run through the storm, reaching my destination. First one place, then the other, quickly making my rounds. I finish, exhausted, but feeling Full.
The darkness and desperation have fled. Yes, they might come back; but, this time I will be ready. Fist clenched tightly around my medications: my relief and hope from the dangerous storm of mental illness.