The lovely British weather has been reminding us why we love it so much this past week… At least we still have a sense of humour (maybe). Weather can always be a great starting point to a conversation as we all know there’s something to joke about… just think about those ace humans in Leeds who had a pint at the pub even though the pub was flooded…
Ten points to us British.
All jokes aside, I do find stormy weather pretty unnerving. The weather hasn’t been the best of late, however, I’ve noticed that I no longer get as anxious or frightened by stormy weather – which is a really big, but not that big step for me. As confusing as that sounds what I mean is… after a pretty scary flood when I was younger I wasn’t really left too shaken by storms. However, last year I really began to negatively respond to any sign of bad weather.
Stormy weather-even dark clouds – would leave me feeling incredibly anxious and panicky. And, when heavy rain or thunder decided to join the party I’d find it really really difficult to stay calm. Naturally I put this down to the natural disaster I experienced when I was younger, but as you can imagine I’d get incredibly frustrated by how anxious bad weather made me feel; I was very aware of how it never used to bother me. I guess this is down to certain triggers… looking back on the flood and other traumatic experiences (where bad weather was involved) evidently triggered certain reactions for me- both physically and mentally.
The recent storm ‘Barney’ left me slightly anxious – high winds really freak me out. During the final year of my undergraduate degree I created an audio piece (documentary) concerning the tenth anniversary of Boscastle flood – the flood I was in when I was younger. Working on the project was – as you can imagine – particularly triggering for me (though I wasn’t aware of how cathartic the project would be before I began – which was the start of a long, difficult journey trying to come to terms with things).
Anyway… while gathering some audio for the project my mother and I went down to Cornwall – unfortunately for us (unlucky as usual) we’d timed the trip at a time when the UK (Cornwall in particular) was on a severe weather warning… basically wind and rain like no other. It was incredibly ironic that while returning to the place where my mother and I experienced some pretty devastating stuff we were again faced with a similar, if not more scary situation.
The first night we were down in Cornwall (October 2013) was undoubtedly one of the most terrifying nights of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced weather like that – the wind was unbearable and I honestly spent the whole night praying that we’d make it through. We’re well accustomed to camping, it’s something which we – as a family – really love, but as it was October we’d decided to stay in a rented caravan – I say that really colloquially but it was really an incredible location – near a little glen, with incredible views… but being at the top of a valley, with no protection from either side, with big trees and the reminder that in the valley below you did, a few years back, experience a life-threatening situation… is, as you can imagine… terrifying. Each gust of wind felt like it was going to lift the caravan and take us away (like in Wizard of Oz when the house is flying through the sky…) it was terrifying. The rain was horrible, it was bloody freezing and I don’t think I actually knew how to breath, how to function, all night… we couldn’t just up and go because the weather was so bad that we didn’t really have any choice but to stay.
Honestly, I don’t think I could ever name a time where I’ve been more scared than that evening. It’s strange, I’ve experienced some pretty rubbish stuff, but recovering from those events was more a matter of trying to make sense of it all, or just subconsciously knowing that I was terrified and devastated; not feeling as though my heart was about the jump out of my throat or burst it’s way through my chest… it was horrid because we was back in North Cornwall (Boscastle), we was back in a place where I didn’t feel safe, the situation was all too familiar, and driving around Cornwall those few days was horrific… several times we had to stop because the rain was just too intense… I cannot express how terrifying it is to be in a car with my mum when it’s raining (sorry mum, love you…) But, after that week I don’t think I ever wanted to go back to Cornwall… which is silly because anyone who knows me knows that I live and breath Cornwall… Cornwall is my life, I love Cornwall. (Though, giving you a little bit of my back story here… on my 19th birthday we was travelling down to Cornwall when the weather was very bad, and long story short… we had a horrifying crash – so yay to bad weather). You’d think we’d learn just to not go to Cornwall…
ANYWAY… that was another thing that me and my mum managed to plod through (we are unintentionally the dream team of dealing with rubbish weather). So, in an attempt to sum things up, as I’m unintentionally turning this post into a dramatic tale of all the times I’ve decided I hate rubbish weather… I just wanted to express how positive it feels to notice slight changes during recovery. Post-traumatic stress, anxiety or whatever it is that you may be at the mercy of… remember that positive changes are possible.
Recovery is a journey, as cheesy as that sounds… and the recent weather has reminded me of how possible it is to overcome things, no matter how horrible things get… it’s human nature to grow, to try our hardest to move forward and we should certainly celebrate every success (no matter how small- aka: celebrating not feeling anxious when the weather is bad). Especially when we are often reminded of just how terrifying things can be… we need to try and remind ourselves and others that it is possible to move forward.