The Art of Embracing the Rain

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That familiar darkness and heaviness is the first thing that greets my waking mind and body.

Good morning, depression. 

What else am I going to do? If I can’t escape, what else can I do except embracing it?

I pray the rosary, and say the prayer to St. Michael. I come out to the living room and do my best to do some yoga postures. My body just wants to stay still and I feel like I can only manage to do “a dead tree in the abandoned field” posture, but I know some yoga will help me get through the day. The good news is that I am looking forward to my short morning shift at the coffee shop. It tells me that my symptoms are not entirely out of control. The work will be a good distraction and I will be with the people that love me. Then I will come back home, back to the place where those that love me are always waiting.

I dig through my old books I wrote. I am looking for the one titled “To Those Who Walk in the Rain” In the book, I wrote down ten lists to remind myself of the things that can help me find my way back from depression. Once I am deep into depression, I become helpless, and lose my million coping strategies. So I wrote them down for me, and for my family, my caretakers.

~ ~ ~

The Ten List

1. Get me a funny book, something light and easy.

2. If I haven’t cancelled my newspaper subscriptions, cancelled them, please! I won’t be able to read them for a while.

3. Laundry, paying bills, cleaning, taking trash out, grocery shopping… every little thing becomes a heavy burden. If I postpone my tasks, and if I stay inside all day without doing anything, don’t scold me. Try to understand me. Be patient with me.

4. Remind me to eat, or drink some water. I forget to eat or drink.

5. I will lose things. I won’t be able to remember where I left it, and I will waste a lot of my time looking for things. If we go out together, make sure I am taking my cellphone and my wallet with me!

6. Drag me, if you must, to go outside for a walk at least once a day…

7. If I don’t talk, or remain quiet for an unusually long time, don’t try to force a conversation with me. If you find me staring at a blank wall for a long time, don’t let that worry you. It’s actually healing for me.

8. I don’t know how long it will take me to get out of this darkness. But don’t ever lose faith that I will overcome as I always have. Believe, Because, I believe. I am still believing even in the deepest place of the depression though I may not look like I do.

9. Don’t worry about me, or have anxiety because of me. Don’t skip work, or take vacation time to stay with me. Continue your life like everything is normal, because everything is…

10. This is the most important part. Pray for my soul.

~ ~ ~

If you have read the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, then you know the secret of Denny’s success in fast turns when racing in the rain. He knows that “drivers are afraid of rain and rain amplifies your mistakes, and water on the track can make your car handle unpredictably. When something unpredictable happens you have to react to it; if you’re reacting at speed, you’re reacting too late. And so you should be afraid.”

His strategy is this: You spin the car before the car spins itself. You initiate the action. If you get the car a little loose- then you know it’s going to happen before it happens. Then you can react to it before even the car knows it’s happening.

~ ~ ~

Once you get through with one horrendous rain storm, you always want to believe that it won’t be back. You always want to believe that the sun will last. When you have nyctophobia, you always wish that day will last into the night. You wish the sun won’t go down, to make your world dark where you will shiver in fear all night long. You wish you can fly to a different time zone before the night hits in your world, but that’s just not a realistic solution. After every episode, you want to believe that it was your last one, and that you have conquered and that it will never control you again. You want to believe that your bipolar is cured, despite the doctors telling you that bipolar is incurable.

But the rain comes. The seasons change and make those with SAD really sad all seasons long. The day always turns into night, and darkness comes after the light. Sometimes the illness you thought you have under control relapses, and you just cannot do anything but to fight it again.

But what if you spin the car before the car spins itself? What if you initiate the action? If you have figured out the patterns and timing of your episodes(for both ends of the bipolar depression spectrum), and know when the time to make the turn in the rain approaches, why not initiate and loose a little before it happens? Then you can react to it before even the car knows what is happening. You can react to it before even your brain knows what is happening.

~ ~ ~

Couple of days ago, I barely managed to keep my commitments. When I finally returned home, I felt like I(or my brain) was about to drop dead and hit the blazing purgatory, but instead, I put my running shoes on and hit the concrete in blazing summer heat. I made plans to buy some funny, light reads to stack up for my upcoming season in the rain. It’s monsoon in my brain. And I am going to go through a lot of umbrellas.

But I have started spinning, and got my car a little loose, and I know it’s going to happen before it happens. I can react to it before even my brain knows it’s happening.

It’s only unpredictable if I am not possessing it. 

And I possess this. I know this. I’ve got this.

I know I am going to make this turn faster than I have ever done before.

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“I had always wanted to love Eve as Denny loved her, but I never had because I was afraid. She was my rain. She was my unpredictable element. She was my fear. But a racer should not be afraid of the rain; a racer should embrace the rain.”

– Words of Enzo from The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

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