Posted by: Jack Hope | Monday June 18, 2012

Storms on the Horizon

Dear Terry,

There is a palpable sense in the air now. It’s been slowly gathering for a while and the strange stasis that this depressive episode drew me into seems to be breaking again.

Change seems to be gathering like clouds on the horizon, a warning that things will not be carrying on the way they have been.

Storms get a bad rap sometimes. They’re often used as a metaphor for emotional trouble and turbulence. But storms bring us much needed rain and with that, vitality to our land. These recents storms we’ve been having have made the city much greener than usual, although still not enough to my liking.

A storm of change is definitely brewing out there. Will it come my way? What will it bring me if it does? Where am I going now?

I have been getting dramatically re-acquainted with prairie storms during my time here.

I never thought that wind storms on the Prairies could be matched by anything else but that was certainly not the case to the storms that came in off the Georgia Strait. But thus far, nothing I have seen elsewhere displays the raw power of the electrical storms that roll through Calgary.

Those huge bolts of lightening, lighting up the whole sky accompanied by massive rolling thunder. A lot of power in these storms.

This recent depressive episode has been instructive in a couple of ways.

I have realized that I can still be highly functional during an episode. I have learned that I have to watch myself even more closely than I thought and that a depressive episode can actually feel comfortable in an odd way, like an old worn out pair of shoes. I can be drawn into an odd almost frozen state where I carry on much as if I wasn’t depressed and simply become withdrawn from the world.

I have learned that a depressive episode does not need to include feelings of sadness, despair or suicide.

I’m still asking myself how I could have missed it, but the answer is obvious: my kitchen was still getting clean, my writing was still happening, and I was still doing things that I enjoyed. Compared to where I had been before, it was massively better so it was easy to ignore the warning signs: that I was becoming more withdrawn, that I was avoiding my Doctors, that I was just coasting on along.

The good news: the habits that I have been working so hard to establish, habits that I had struggled with even when I wasn’t in an episode before I started treatment seem to be holding. This is a double edged sword though: because I was more less or carrying on, I missed the warnings.

Or perhaps, it was just easier for me to pretend that they weren’t happening. Such is life with depression, an ongoing voyage of discovery of my own avoidance mechanisms.

Still, this odd stand still life I’ve been living is getting tiresome. I want to move onto whatever is next now.

Coming out of the last episode was a strange and wonderful time for me. An explosion of energy and creativity and what seemed like an ever expanding circle of good things happening.

We were actually worried that I might be bipolar for a while, since it seemed at first to be borderline mania.

However, considering that my ambitions seemed to involve potentially returning to college or actually having a decent career again, my Doctors have concluded that these are not unreasonable delusions of grandeur and that I am not afflicted with Bipolar disorder. I am most relieved, as I didn’t seem to become overly irresponsible or outlandish or otherwise manic. It just seemed a little overwhelming at first because there had been so little that was good for such a long time.

Of course, I may be getting ahead of myself here. The storm clouds of change I see may not be coming this way. It may be a false signal.

Things may be percolating but the brew may not be ready.

Still, I just want to get on with the rest of my life. Close this chapter and move on to the next phase of my life and of my recovery.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see which way the weather changes.

I miss you very much and I hope that you are well, wherever you are.

All my love,




  1. You write beautifully Jack. I am touched be this one. Thank you.

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