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  • Karl Walker-Finch

The storm before the calm


19th January

It’s just hit me that I think I’ve gone into a bit of a manic phase, which usually precludes a period of a significant drop in my mood and motivation. I may be making this up, but I feel like I’m getting a better understanding of myself.

It’s only on reflection, writing and talking about this am I able to start to spot these patterns in myself. I feel empowered by this knowledge. Protected a little. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t. Time will tell. When the storm comes, I’m not going to keep running through it. I’m going to hunker down and protect myself and my family. I’ve never been in the eye of a none metaphorical storm, but I imagine it feels quite surreal. A deafening disquiet without apparent carnage all around and impending sense that all hell could break loose again at any moment. A calm that is anything but desirable.

I’m currently reading The Light in the Dark by Horatio Clare, a fascinating personal journal through a bleak Yorkshire winter. While we all experience life and emotions differently, this short passage really resonated with me. The author’s ability to illuminate the bewildering sensations that can plague us in times of darkness really captures my own experience.

“Our minds filter and tint the past, turning it so it catches the light; most involuntary memories are happy ones, most of the time, and so we are granted forwardness and direction. Depression, seasonal and otherwise, turns all this upside down: the past is a guilty place, the future a hanging threat, the present a humiliation. Stop it, you want to shout. Just stop it. Let me be.”

I’m not going to stand by and let this happen. I don’t want to be in that place and I’ve spotted some red flags, so here’s what I’m going to do about it;

1. Talk to Marisa. My rock and my confidant. The unwavering support and judgement-free way she supports me always is everything to me. Often it requires no words from her, it’s just the opportunity to vocalise my feelings freely that can help me process my emotions.

2. Sleep. Plenty of it. I’m going to make sure that I get my eight hours, whether that means going to bed earlier or getting up later. Sleep is the most important and least understood of our vital functions, but more of that later when I’ve finished reading Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep.

3. Cut myself some slack and slow down. I’m not going to push myself too hard for the next few days, this is unfamiliar territory for me. I’ve always been in the 110% school but I have learned that there are times when it’s more important to allow myself to ease off on certain tasks so I can focus my energies on more important matters.

26th January

Whether I would have dipped or not, I don’t know. I do know that two days after I wrote the above passage, I felt considerably better, rested and alert. I’m certainly not low and I’m not running round like a headless chicken. This feels good. I am the keeper of my own destiny and whilst I don’t honestly believe I’ll never find myself in the eye of that storm again, I feel like I have a better understanding the storm itself than I have ever had.

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