THIS IS US

Weathering Emotional Storms

In the cyclones of sensation

David Milgrim
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readMar 2, 2022

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All images courtesy of the author

A powerful nor’easter blew through me this month. Gathering strength for well over two weeks, this complex system rendered travel impossible, resulting in four separate days of canceled plans and a long stretch of sensorily perilous conditions.

Last night, after a couple hours of torrential tears, the storm finally broke. I was still shaken this morning and woke up with a bad headache, but feeling deeply relieved to be past this most recent unstable emotional disturbance.

Sometimes, I am able to map my storms. But others come without any warning or explanation. This was one of those. Suddenly the house shook and windows shattered, leaving me no choice but to scramble for cover. Once the skies went black, it felt like that’s how they were going to stay forever. The passing of every past storm still could not convince me that this one would also be temporary.

Looking back, I’ve been able to better understand this debilitating system’s origin and destructive path. But what impressed me most, as the hail fell and the lightning struck, was how little there was inside me beyond grief and anxiety. It just felt bad. It was hard to attach any words to it as it happened. It was hard to have any clear or complete thoughts at all.

While the nature of this storm feels substantively different in my experience and understanding, the general description of it sounds exceedingly ordinary. Once again, the low-pressure depression that fed these Category 4 winds appears to be low self-esteem. Surprise, surprise.

I’ve felt like a waste of good air and doughnuts many times before. But this time, I was having a new, Clockwork Orange-type of revulsion at the very thought of trying so hard to get others to recognize and appreciate me. The idea of working, performing, or even socializing was intolerable. Be they theater directors, friends, or my anonymous followers on Medium, I was unable to tolerate my own clambering to win them over in order to feel better about myself. Efforting to be seen and liked had become…

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