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.