Storms Don’t Last Forever
When Will the Storm Pass?
A few weeks ago much of the UK was battered by Storm Doris. High winds and torrential rain affected many areas of the country. One Thursday after arriving home from a morning out cut short because of the inclement weather; I watched the rain beating against the glass of my bedroom window, observing the dark grey clouds while I lay down on my bed battling the effects of chronic pain ravaging throughout my legs. I lay there wondering if and when this horrible, destructive storm will end.
Waking the next morning, after opening my bedroom curtains, to my surprise and delight I was greeted by beautiful blue skies and glorious sunshine. It was at that moment I realised that storms don’t last forever, and that the sun always shines after the rain.
The Perfect Metaphor for Life with Illness
Furthermore, it occurred to me that it could also be a perfect metaphor for life with chronic illness. We all will, at some point, experience a storm in our lives; a dark period that at the time feels like it will last forever. But, of course, nothing in life is permanent. Our experiences and feelings like most things such as storms are transient, before moving on, and making way for the sun to shine once more.
Of course, the definition of ‘chronic’ is something usually describing an illness which is persisting for an extended length of time, or one which is constantly recurring. In this sense, living with chronic illness is like permanently living under a storm cloud. However, although our conditions are permanent, our symptoms can sometimes be transitory, allowing a small piece of sunshine in our days. It’s like Charlie Chaplin once said, “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.”
Navigating Through the Painful Times of Late
Symptoms are often persistent and loud, but they can also concede sometimes; the feelings and their effects are fleeting and mild, allowing us to have a rare, good day. Even living with a long-term condition, therefore, doesn’t mean accommodating a permanent storm in our lives.
Things recently have been difficult, in regards to my own circumstances living with a neurological condition with increased pain and trembling in my legs. Some days it has been so bad that I wonder how I have managed to get out of bed in the morning. On the worst days it has felt like I was living in my bubble, surrounded by large and dark storm clouds above my head. The physical symptoms I was experiencing were severe, and they were taking a huge emotional toll on my well-being.
Seeking Out the Little Rays of Sunshine
Despite this, I have still found little rays of sunshine within my days. Even little things such as enjoying the feel of the sun on my face, especially after spending days inside. Or enjoying the taste of my favourite bar of chocolate. It was also my birthday last week, and although my symptoms did slightly dampen the occasion, it was still so lovely to receive presents, cards, and messages from people who took the time out of their lives to think of little, old me! These beautiful moments are small reminders that although it may not feel like it at this very moment, that storms indeed do not last forever. Nothing is permanent, and these thoughts and feelings shall pass, too.
I’m Learning How to Sail My Ship Through The Storms
Sitting here thinking about the storms that roll in when living with chronic illness, reminds me of my favourite quote from Louisa May Alcott, who is the author of one of my all-time favourite books. She once famously wrote, “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”
For me, it’s a beautiful reminder that the obstacles, challenges, and difficulties that any of us face during our lives help us build strength and resilience; ultimately it is these hardships that teach us how we should be living our lives. For if it were not for storms, we would never learn how to sail our ships; we would never learn the lessons of strength or resilience that help us through the dark times. Of course, this is of little use during periods of distress.
As I continue experiencing these distressing symptoms, I will try and continue to remember that storms don’t last forever, and I hope you do too.
Rhiann Johns is a Psychology graduate from South Wales and who lives with her parents. After living with neurological symptoms for most of her life, and spending many years searching for a diagnosis she was eventually diagnosed with a long-standing brain stem lesion, and it was after this that she started her blog, “My Brain Lesion and Me”, as an outlet for her experiences of living with the condition and to raise awareness of living with a neurological condition. She has been subsequently also been diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder which she now is working to raise awareness of this condition. Connect with her on: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest.