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3 Reasons My Mental Illness Is Like a Storm

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I struggle with mental illness and have always been attracted to storms for some reason.

Yes, you read that right.


I know it sounds kind of weird, but I feel like I identify with them in a way. Somehow their chaos reflects the chaos in my head. I’m not exactly sure how it started, but I can remember feeling this way ever since my symptoms started appearing. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

I have read countless articles and stories and listened to songs and seen paintings where people use storms to relate to their mental illness, and I can’t help but ask myself, “Why?” Why would so many people, including myself, identify with such a powerful force of nature, and what does it have to do with mental illness? I’ve thought about it for years and have never been able to put it into words, but I’m going to try my best.

So here are just a few reasons why I think people compare their mental illnesses to storms:

1. They’re unpredictable and chaotic.

Mental illness strikes when you least expect it, just like storms. It comes completely out of the blue and turns your skies to grey until all you can see are the negatives. But just as quickly as the storm comes, it leaves again, and you’re left with sun on your face and a light breeze on your skin. You never know what’s going to happen, and that can cause a lot of anxiety. Some get addicted to the unpredictability and the chaos of it all and that’s when recovery becomes difficult. I like people who think like this “storm chasers” because they follow the storm. Some just get so used to stormy weather that they are scared of blue skies, because happiness and stability have become “the unknown.” I am not a stranger to this feeling.

2. The effects can be disastrous and overwhelming.

Storms are incredibly powerful, just like mental illness. It can destroy everything from relationships to the individual themselves and can seem to drown everything good in their lives. Mental illness can often seem out of control, which can be true if the correct treatment isn’t available. It can be catastrophic in some cases and forces you to put your whole life on hold, but things always get better. While it lasts, though, it feels like it is all around you and there is nowhere to hide, and I think storms are similar in a way. They’re out of your control and are all-consuming in the same way that mental illnesses can sometimes feel. It feels as though you are enveloped with emotion and caught in the rain, in a sense, which I believe is why people identify so much with them.

3. They don’t last forever.

Storms don’t last forever and neither do the effects of mental illnesses. There is always hope and there are always blue skies ahead, you’ve just got to survive the storm. And the more storms you survive, the easier it becomes, because you become better equipped to deal with the rain and the thunder and the lightning the next time.

Just make sure you have the support you need and don’t forget to carry an umbrella.

You’ll be OK.

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Thinkstock image via va103

Originally published: July 13, 2017
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