Week #3 of thankfulness blogs
This week, the purity of sound
A few summers ago I was camping with my family and one entire day was rained out. I had an infant that wasn’t entirely happy, and I was just beginning the recovery process after ECT.
Anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks just after lunch and I went to my tent to lie down and get away. And there is where I discovered something that has been an effective part of treating my anxiety ever since, the sound of a hard rain on that nylon/ polyester blended surface.
I just stayed on my back, closed my eyes, focused on the sound and steadied my breathing. Before long I was being woken up by my wife entering the tent. I went from edging on a panic attack to asleep without medication for the first time in months. All the sound of the rain was a major component of that.
I’ve always loved rain. I love to be out in it. I love to sit on my porch and play my guitar during a storm. I love hard cold rain on a hot day. I love to feel the air change and watch the leaves flip over and see the dark cloud roll in. I enjoy a hard storm, but what I really love is an all-day rain. The last couple weeks in Detroit have been all-day rains almost every day, and I have been in heaven.
I don’t know why, exactly, I love rain. I find it very calming, and awe-inspiring.
After that camping trip I found an application on my iPhone called “White Noise” which has several different pre-made sounds that are not just white noise, but also include environmental sounds. Several of them I enjoy, and I often turn it on rather loud when I am having a hard time sleeping. But pretty much the only sounds I listen to are the several iterations of “rain on a tent”.
If I cannot sleep, if my mind is racing, if I cannot focus, these are times I pop on this app and pretend I am back in that tent just enjoying the rain. It works so well, it is almost unbelievable.
This tiny component of treatment for me is so simple, so accessible, and so helpful that it verges on invaluable. And I never would’ve discovered it if we hadn’t gotten rained out during a camping trip.
Since then, I have been more aware of sounds that calm me and to be perfectly honest, I have found exactly none that have even a modest effect on me. And while I do enjoy other rain sounds, like rain on a metal roof, or rain on a car windshield, or rain in the forest, none of the calm me the way the rain hitting a tent does.
So the next time you are stuck in the rain, try closing your eyes and focusing on the soothing sound. You never know, maybe you’ll find something indispensable.