I suppose we are still technically in spring, not that the seasons seem to be following in any logical progression at the moment. Today the weather is pretty mild, a bit grey, but bright and not too cold. Showers are predicted. It rained all night I think. At the weekend, it was blistering sunshine, mid 20s, beautiful. A week ago I was snowed in, up on my pennine. Throw in some thunderstorms and I might think the weather gods were taking their cues from my moods.
We each have our own weather systems. Wouldn’t it be nice if each morning we were given a mood report by a smiley and overly enthusiastic type.
“Today will be mainly bright with spots of apathy, with a deep depression setting in just after that meeting with your boss. Overnight anxieties will increase the risk of this depression continuing late into tomorrow morning, but phonecalls from friends in the west could counteract this and lead to better prospects for the afternoon.”
Somewhere in Norway there is a town which apparently has more days of rain per year than any other place in the world. They have a saying there, that there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes. I see their point, though I’m not sure there’s such a thing as appropriate protective clothing for a tornado. Unless you count a deep, dark shelter. Moods are similar. There are always those events and moments where there is nothing much you can do but close your eyes and hold on tight and hope you come out of the other side. But for the most part, we can do some amount of preparation to try and reduce the negative impacts of either rain or shine. (Sitting here with a sunburnt chest, I acknowledge even the sunniest of days needs to be handled with care sometimes)
Learning about our moods, why and how they develop, can help to prepare us for what might be ahead. We can become our own weather report. Knowing our triggers, acknowledging the things which contribute to changes in our mood. If I have been very busy all week, with a lot of travelling and interaction with people, requiring me to appear confident and outgoing – then I know that will take a lot out of me and I will likely be tired, depressed and irritable at the weekend. If I push myself and try to do more socialising, thinking I need to play hard if I’m working hard – then I run the risk of a serious crash, a melt down, with the feelings of being overwhelmed leading to worthlessness, self doubt and hatred, urge to hurt myself and despair or sucidal thoughts. Or – I might skip over that, and work myself up into hypomania, which has its own dangers, to my pocket, my liver, my marriage, – and in the end only postpones the crash for a while.
So instead I know I need to rest hard, not play hard, to be safe in those circumstances. I need to do low key activities I enjoy. Take a stroll if I don’t want to stay in. Stay off the booze, but be kind to myself. I’ve worked hard, gone out of my comfort zone, I need to recharge my batteries.
Maybe medication might be the umbrella you require to weather a storm. Maybe talking or exercise will help you through a thick fog. Maybe mindfulness will help you to enjoy a sunny day without risking your skin. But with a good weather report, and the appropriate gear, it can be possible to keep relatively safe and warm. You just have to find some waders that fit.