The calm that follows the storm

Yesterday, in the late afternoon & evening, there was a storm.  Although it didn’t rage for long, it lingered on for some time & lightning killed a tree in a nearby field – it looks like a lone Twiglet sticking up amongst a huge bowl of broccoli.  

At the same time, I was experiencing my own storm.  An email discussion with my bosses prompted me to revise my work plans for the coming weeks.  This decision was entirely my own, but it still stirred me into a frenzy.  As the wind & rain howled around outside, I spiralled into my own cloud of misery.  The knot in my stomach gave me indigestion.  I banged my head on the desk trying to retrieve the camera cable.  Even my favourite TV show delivered a frankly dull episode (it was a recording from last week, so the programmers’ ability to so effectively preempt my mood on 2nd June is quite an achievement!). 

Once in bed, I scribbled furiously in my journal.  It’s not surprising that I wrote so much: the issues playing on my mind are ones that I’ve wrestled with more times than I care to remember.  Self-doubt; lack of worth; fear of failure.  The same sense of dread, the same questions, the same crippling feeling – every few months, they rear their ugly heads.  It doesn’t happen as often anymore.  I can also identify the triggers that separate this neural storm from an ordinary bad mood.  Number one: tiredness.  Number two: thinking too far ahead, rather than concentrating on the immediate task in hand.

I get frustrated that I can’t stop before I push too far & send myself over that edge.  I still don’t notice that I’m teetering on the precipice until I fall over it: down down down – it’s too late.  But at least I’m aware of the triggers & ways of countering their effects.  SLEEP, I wrote in my journal.  A few lines later – having got way-laid onto another train of thought – GO TO SLEEP.  More thoughts & feelings swell up, like a barrel of biscuits luring a dieter from the path of righteousness.  GO TO SLEEP NOW. 

So I did.  Then this morning, I got up.  The squall in my head – well, more accurately, my stomach – was still there, rumbling away.  But the eye of the storm had passed.  I got on with my list of tasks for the day, immediately making good progress on the challenges that had yesterday seemed so insurmountable.  By late afternoon, today’s list was completed & ticked off.  I looked up from my desk.  Out of the window, there was an eery calmness.  A thick low covering of cloud & very little wind.  The storm had gone.  The one dead tree is the only reminder that it had ever been here at all.

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