Have you ever had a moment in your life when you felt that nothing was going right and that your situation would remain that way indefinitely? Unfortunately, this is a mindset that can come easily when you’re in the grips of depression, anxiety, or stress.
Whether this is your current mindset or a mentality you’ve found yourself in at some point, I’m here to encourage you to “drive through the storm.”
I recently was commuting on I-95 South and suddenly found myself in a rainstorm. It started off as a light drizzle, and my windshield wipers had no problem handling the rain, but then I reached an area where there was a torrential downpour, and my wipers were at maximum speed.
That moment reminded me of the first time I experienced driving into a storm and then through it. It was several years ago, and my mom was the passenger. Once we found ourselves in the downpour, she suggested that we pull over. I respectfully objected, and I carefully kept driving toward our location. It was fascinating because we literally drove through the storm and were able to look back and see other drivers doing the same. It was a very cool thing to see.
That moment became a powerful analogy of how we can maneuver through life at times. What I remember most about that moment was my caring mother suggesting we pull over. Of course, she suggested we pull over out of concern, as would I if I found myself being driven by my son through a storm. But if I would have pulled over, we would have likely been caught in the storm for a long time, patiently waiting for it to pass.
Well, this is often how depression, anxiety, and stress work. Each can start off small, like feeling a bit blue or a little concerned. Until one day you find yourself in the grips of moderate to severe symptoms. You may think to yourself, “ok, let me pull over and wait for this feeling to pass.” But I’m here to encourage you to put one foot in front of the other and keep it moving.
As a psychologist, I teach my clients that the less likely they are to engage in pleasurable or meaningful activities, the more likely they are to trigger or maintain depression, anxiety, or stress. In our work, we explore how they can stay engaged with family, friends, and activities that make them feel good. Pulling over to the sidelines of life when they feel down can lead to remaining in a negative state for a long period of time. I don’t want that to be the case for anyone!
Are you currently on life’s highway shoulder or thinking of pulling over to wait for your emotional storm to pass? If yes, here are a few suggested goals for you to work toward this week:
Have lunch with a close friend
Watch a comedy (Martin is always my go-to)
Take a bubble bath
Sign up for a dance class
Read an inspiring book. Here are two I’ve recently enjoyed:
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis.
Can you guess how my commute was later that day on I-95 North? Well, it ended up being a gorgeous afternoon. The storm did not last the entire day. A few hours later, my commute consisted of the sun shining, pillow-like clouds in the sky and Beyoncé reminding me to get in Formation : )