The Sunshine After The Storm

Six months ago, I was lost in the storms of depression. My happiness had upped and left, my enthusiasm was missing, and I couldn’t find joy in usual loves. With rain pummeling the windows and my heart, with coronavirus restrictions still creating uncertainty and loneliness, and with the rampant virus still causing fear; summer seemed a long way away. I just couldn’t imagine my favourite season. Literally couldn’t. I was stuck in the present, stuck in the rain, stuck in the darkness. It was “Always Winter, but never Christmas”. I couldn’t design my summer vegetable patch, couldn’t plan any holidays, couldn’t commit to meet ups. I couldn’t spark any joy from summer’s approach.

But then I sought out help. Anti-depression pills, CBT training for low mood, moral support from friends and family. And brilliantly, and at the same time, Covid restrictions were slowly lifted, I received my second Coronavirus vaccine, and the sun started to shine. So I could leave my house again, see people again, garden again. Within weeks the sunshine was breaking through my dark clouds, and joy was filling my heart. The old me started to reappear. And by the time the season of ice creams and BBQs was upon us… I was back. Old me had returned. πŸ™‚ Just in time to enjoy it all. And I certainly did! πŸ™‚

Summer 2021 has been wonderful. Now able to meet up with folks, I’ve had some great reunions with family and friends. And with my solar panels charged by the rays, my body has been able to do more activity than ever before. As well as everything I’ve already blogged about, there’s been cuppas in gardens, picnics in parks and ice lollies in woods. There’s been pub gardens and beekeeper training and a yummy 12th wedding anniversary celebration. We’ve been on millions of dog walks, explored all of the countryside around our home, and played so many games of tug with Kepler! We’ve tried out even more recipes, BBQ’ed so many home grown vegetables, and gazed at the stars. I’ve cheered on the Olympics, watched hours and hours of exciting cycle races (yes I’m obsessed again!), and read books in the sunshine. And on one very sunny Saturday, we ran the game ‘Smite’ at our village fete. For a few hours, I felt just like the old teacher me! πŸ™‚

My garden has been my haven once again this summer. With Covid halting some of our plans, I’ve been able to use more of my energy coins pottering about my vegetable patch. A lovely silver lining to the virus. Every day, I’ve weeded and planted and sowed and harvested. I love it. The marvel of emerging seedlings, the excitement of the first crops growing, the pride of eating an entirely home-grown meal. It’s meditative and peaceful, and now it is newly fenced -to stop Kepler from ‘helping’ with the digging!- it has become my quiet sanctuary. Me time, away from the energetic pup (though he does sometimes poke balls through for me to throw! πŸ˜› ). And after a successful harvest, my larder is now full of jam and marmalade and chutney. Seven different types this year! The family Christmas presents are sorted! πŸ˜‰

One beautifully sunny weekend, we went away with my bestest friends and their families. Over the past six years, our camping trip has become one of my favourite summer traditions. Living many miles apart, it is the one time, when girlies and husbands and children are all together. Each year the tribe gets bigger and noisier, with the addition of new babies and dogs. And each year, the weekend gets more manic and fun, as toddlers start running around, and bikes and kites and card games take centre stage. We feasted on an amazing seafood bbq, got thrashed at ‘Uno’, and listened to the eldest suddenly reading! Kepler practiced his tricks with the little ones, we ate yummy fish and chips, and even saw a shooting star! And for the first girlie camping trip ever, I had enough energy coins for an off-site adventure! Beach day! πŸ™‚ Lottie spent the hours snoozing in her tent, Kepler reluctantly discovered he could swim doggy crawl, and Phil and Ally sailed a catamaran boat! I had my first go on a massive beach wheelchair, Kepler dug holes and sprayed sand over everyone, and the children had a wonderful time building sandcastles and catching seaweed. But best of all… I swam in the sea! My first time in eight years! πŸ™‚ With my confidence high after my inaugural PH swim (read the blog), and with Phil by my side, and carrying my oxygen… I swam breaststroke along the seashore. And I loved it. Really loved it. It was meditative and peaceful and liberating. And I felt healthy and light and free free free. Kinda like a small warm-hole back to my life before PH. πŸ™‚

We also spent a brilliant long weekend, camping in the Malvern Hills with my family. Three years since we were last all together, and with a new baby and dog in the family; it was a fabulous reunion. We exhausted young Libby with the love and cuddles, collected water from a local spring, and stayed up telling ‘ghost’ stories! πŸ˜› We played cards and Smite and catch and had a really fun family rounders match (Kepler is fantastic at fielding- as long as you don’t want the ball back! πŸ˜‰ ). And my new scooter made easy work of the local hills. However, on one very steep downhill section, I probably pushed it a little far! Too sheer to get a grip on the stones, my scooter starting sliding downhill… out of control, swinging side to side, fast! And next to a lovely big drop! My Mum ran behind me screaming, whilst I battled to stop it flipping. Thankfully, someone was watching over me -and Lottie (who was on my knee!)- and we miraculously got to the bottom upright. Poor shocked Lottie decided to walk the rest of the way home! πŸ˜‰

Back in March, I was being battered by the storm of depression. I’d been worn down by months of shielding and Covid restrictions and loneliness and frustration and bad weather. Yet a mere six months later, I’m reflecting on the wonderful and joyful summer I’ve had. More than ever before, I’m so thankful for my good fortune and thankful for my lovely life. Everything came together at the right time, and helped me find a way out of the mist, and into the warm rays. The sun shone after the storm. πŸ™‚

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