My moods are the cause of all my confusion predominantly. Now I am older its more of a clearer picture in terms of metaphorically a passing storm. The weather is historically unpredictable even with modern technology they can still get it wrong. However, they are a great guide and thankful have a higher degree of accuracy these days.
Mental health for me is much like modern weather predictions. I am great mostly and normally well prepared if a storm is approaching. Things, like talking and listening, are great mental health self-care strategies in raising awareness to notice red flags. The conundrum of missing an approaching storm can leave me confused and suffering from a multitude of unpleasant feeling. Then there is the cleanup lessons and things learnt from the stormy conditions.
My best strategy is to be well prepared and strong way before the approaching storm hits. This not only drastically reduce the impact but speeds recovery. I understand in life storms will always arise in various ways and severity.
My aim is not to be complacent on sunny days and neglected my spiritual practice. A wise monk told me a while ago to ”meditate when I am happy” it sounded a bit odd to me and took a couple months to understand his teaching correctly. What he was saying, is happiness is a result of good spiritual practice not just when meditating. Happiness does not always have to be dependent on conditions or environment, not even inconvenient geographical locations to be experienced. Consequently, as my spiritual practice has grown conditions become less of an issue for happiness and meditation seems natural and a place of peace and happiness and offers sanctuary, plus strength from storms. The monk spoke to my expectations and presuppositions concerning meditation. He could have said, ” improve your mood” or ”you look unhappy in meditation” which would have been obvious and typical of my experience back then.
”As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, even so, the wise are not ruffled by praise or blame”
p 77 The Dhammapada
My mood disorder Bipolar is a tough storm to navigate once it has arrived often seemingly unexpected. I know life is a tough experience for all of us not just people like me with mental illnesses. I, like you, know that preparation and lived experience in and before the storms only makes us wiser and stronger if we investigated and learn from our pain and suffering. The secret for me has been sitting in my pain and suffering not running from it. Looking into the feelings and accepting reality not escapism or just seeking short-term comfort.
I have always loved walking in the rain and we all can find beauty in storms too.