Today on my walk at lunch this cloud had a perfect silver lining. “Look for the silver lining” can feel like cliched advice. But when we are struggling with the symptoms of bipolar, depression or other mental illness and facing a day of stormy emotions where everything feels dark and cloudy it can be tough to see anything outside of the darkness. If the dysfunction in my brain has me laser focused on the darkness (like the box in the picture) then we could be missing the outskirts of the cloud where there is a silver lining.
And then today, when I shifted my perspective and gaze to another area of the sky it was still cloudy but the brightness and blue was visible and it didn’t seem dark and stormy at all.
Analogies help me to tackle real life, day to day problems. When we’re stuck in the darkness of the storm if we can look for pinpoints of light, silver linings or fully shift our perspective, even briefly, it can help the overwhelming storm to not feel so dark, ominous and hopeless.
For me, those pinpoints of light may be a walk outside where I take the time to look around me instead of being stuck in my head, singing along to a favorite song, a hug from my SO or the kids, making a favorite meal that’s also healthy, texting or calling a friend, gentle yoga, deep breathing or listening to a guided meditation. This is not “pick yourself up by the bootstraps advice” or “just look at the bright side and you’ll be fine and not feel depressed anymore.” Using coping mechanisms can help us to make baby steps out of the darkness. And we each have our journeys and certain techniques might work at certain times and some might not help at all. But joining a community of people who “get it” and can make us feel not as alone and give us ideas to try can make the difference between life and death, or thriving vs. barely surviving.
By the end of my walk the sun was shining through the clouds with an overwhelming glow that could not be missed!
Coming out of a depression can take, hours, days, months and sometimes even years but it WILL pass. In the darker days I hold onto the acronym for HOPE someone shared with me years ago, Hold On. Pain Ends.