How to hold on during an emotional storm
Yesterday I wrote a message to a friend, to let her know I understand how difficult it is to face tough times, but also to remind her that those are the times that make us who we are. She told me to write a post about it, as if it was an open letter to a friend. So here it is, a letter to her and to all of you (and ultimately to myself)*.
I hope you are ok. For real. Not like everyone says in emails just to be polite. I really hope you are. I hope you are happy, and that you have no worries, but if for any reasons you are not, there is something I want to tell you: it’s ok.
We all have a hard time sometimes. Even when it doesn’t look like we do. Even when we are smiling, and we are doing amazing things. Even when we are surrounded by lovely friends and family, and we have all we could possibly want. You don’t believe me?
I understand. Not many people say it out loud; because it is hard to admit it, and it makes us feel vulnerable, and weak.
So, I am going to make an effort and say it. I am going to be honest with you. Because, just in case you are not ok, I hope my words can help you feel a little less alone; because, just in case you are not ok, I hope they can help you realise that it is ok for you to be; because, just in case you are not ok, I hope they can help you see a little light.
Sometimes, I am not OK.
Sometimes I feel like I am in the middle of a storm, where it’s raining sadness or fear, or anger or frustration, and there is no place around to quickly find a shelter in.
When you are caught by a storm, it can feel pretty scary. And you might panic, or cry, or feel sorry for yourself. You might wonder why this is suddenly happening to you, especially when the sun was shining just a moment before, especially when you checked the weather forecast, and the sky was supposed to be clear.
Well, I have learnt the hard way that, like the weather, life is unpredictable.
But, if it’s true that you can’t control the weather, it’s also true that it can’t rain forever, right? Eventually, the sun will come out again.
So, when I am surprised by a storm, I do take a moment to panic, to cry, to despair, I am entitled to it. But then, I think that this moment won’t last forever, that I just have to hold on until the storm will pass.
It will not be easy, as the hail might hurt my skin, and the wind might threaten to blow me away. I will have to focus all my energy on staying grounded; I will have to find the strength within myself to resist the storm and wait until it passes.
And you know what will help me not giving up? Knowing that my fear, and pain, and effort, are not going to be experienced for nothing. They are going to turn me into a stronger person, they are going to shape the way I am, and they will make the next storm a bit less difficult to face.
So, in the end, I wonder if it’s really the storm that passes, or if it is me making it through it. One thing is sure, I will, eventually, feel OK again.
If I have to be completely honest, I am not sure if I am saying this to comfort you, or to encourage myself.
Either way, I hope we can both treasure this letter, and read it again: when we need it, to remember that we are not alone, and when we don’t, to remember how strong we can be.
*This blog post expresses the personal, non clinical, opinion of the author. If you think you need support, talk to your GP or call for free The Samaritans helpline at 116 123- available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for people who want to talk in confidence.