The Soul Rain

The Soul Rain

I’m an odd duck. I like–no, I love –rain. Light rain, hard rain, soft rain, drenching rain. Sometimes I think I should have been a duck instead of a human, because in spite of my rheumatoid disease, when it’s raining I’d love nothing more than to be out playing in it, flapping my wings and wagging my tail with abandon and delight, spraying water everywhere.

But sometimes the rain isn’t physical. It isn’t wet, or deliciously cool, and it doesn’t tickle my cheeks or make playfully wide, stompable puddles. It’s more like a dreary downpour that just won’t stop, one that won’t allow the clouds to break up or the sun to peek through. The puddles this rain forms are chin-deep. It’s a soaking, cold greyness of the mind that can affect anyone, at any time, for any reason, and those of us with rheumatoid disease are very familiar with it.

It’s the soul rain. It’s hopelessness.

Yes, this is me, your faithful eternal optimist, writing this post. Because guess what? Even I get caught out in the soul rain without an umbrella once in awhile. Even I can feel hopeless.

There are plenty of reasons. Maybe I’m having a flare that I just can’t seem to shake, or maybe I’ve just had to stop doing something I really enjoy because it’s making my joints hurt, and that makes me sad and mad. Maybe I’ve had to ask friends–again–for a rain-check (appropriate, huh?) on that fun evening out we’d planned. Maybe no matter how many pairs or types of shoes I tried on today, not a single pair didn’t hurt my stupid RD feet; or maybe I woke up this morning feeling–again–like angry baboons had been pummeling my feet with rocks all night long.

Or maybe the miracle drugs I’ve been taking faithfully for my RD just aren’t working, and I’m tired of waiting for them to work because I’m tired of flares, tired of hurting, and just plain tired of being tired of having this crap disease in the first place.

The soul rain leaves my spirits drenched and shivering, crouching beneath its onslaught. The sky is dark and low and, from my point of view down here in the dank storm drain of my soul, the black, rain-heavy clouds seem endless. In spite of all my best efforts to jolly myself out of it, I feel sad and hopeless. There’s no cure for RD, the soul rain whispers darkly in my ear. No drug they can ever come up with is ever going to work. You’re going to be in uncontrollable pain, fatigued, stiff-as-a-board and sick for the rest of your life. Why fight it? Why keep getting up in the morning?

Because, if I’m honest, I know that the soul rain isn’t going to last forever, even if my RD is. And I know that even though I’m feeling fairly hopeless about the way my RD is making me feel right now, I will feel better, with or without drugs.

Besides, the drugs I’m taking just now may be failing me, but there are others I haven’t tried yet. Not only that, but there are scientists all over the world working right now to develop and test new drugs that just might turn out to be a real miracle cure one day–or at least, they may keep the disease so quiet that it might as well be considered “cured.”

I know all of this because I’ve had RD for a long time, and it tends to progress in peaks and valleys. Yes, it can be depressing. I need to allow myself to mourn that part of my health that took a powder all those years ago. I have a right to mourn, to grieve; a right to be low and grumbly and blue when the disease lets me down or forces me to let others down. The soul rain, when it comes, is relentless and it must be experienced.

But then, it must be faced.

Because the soul rain does actually let up, eventually. I know that many people need help from others–mental health professionals, friends, clergy, or doctors–to deal with it while they’re waiting for the clouds to dissipate. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, when the rain is so relentless that you’re drowning, the smartest thing you can do is holler for a lifeguard.

But for me, the trick has always been to open my eyes and notice something sweet and whimsical and unexpected, like my little cat sticking her arm under the bathroom door in an attempt to get my attention in the morning, when I’m still mostly asleep, stiff as a clothes-rod, and growly with pain and discomfort. The grudging smile the sight of those little black toe-beans conjures on my face breaks up the cold, dark clouds a little. Later on, that first delicious taste of freshly brewed coffee pushes them further off, so that the sun can break through. Things start looking better–less glum and hopeless–after that.

We all have to deal with the soul rain no matter who we are. But it’s good to know that, like any other weather, it will change eventually.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (10)
  • Steppiemum
    3 years ago

    Oh Wren, I read this post at just the right time. And I love the descriptive term, “soul rain”. It’s pouring now! I can’t figure out how I (being a happy and positive person) can just lie here in bed enjoying a TV show and feel “weepy”. It must be that my subconscious thoughts are screaming down there reminding me that I have a disease. In the grand scheme of things, there are many worse diseases and conditions. I know this! Just tell my tear ducts please. It is nice to not feel alone. Thanks.

  • Jillian S moderator
    3 years ago

    steppiemum,
    We are glad you read this article at just the time you needed it!
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us and reassuring others just like you and Wren that you are not alone.
    I thought you might enjoy another article we have on the therapeutic effects of crying: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/cry-a-river/
    It is normal and natural and everyone does it. Sometimes it can actually feel good and cathartic.
    Warmly,
    Jillian (Rheumatoidarthritis.net Team)

  • Linda
    3 years ago

    Thanks so much for your article, Wren. I really appreciate reading about the times you feel hopeless. Sometimes I feel alone in my hopelessness. Sometimes I feel like I underperform when it comes to coping with this awful disease because I don’t feel positive and hopeful about my future health functioning. Maybe it’s because it’s just been a little under 3 years since I was diagnosed (even though I complained of the symptoms for many more years) so maybe I’m still adjusting to life with RD. Maybe it’s because I have “severe” RD or because I don’t quite understand what is classified as a “flare” because I’ve had unrelenting pain & fatigue with very little relief despite multiple biologics. In any case, I found comfort in knowing that other people with RD sometimes feel the same way. I’m so sorry that you’re struggling right now. I’m sending healing thoughts, less painful joints, and a little sunshine your way. Warmly, Linda

  • Blackbird
    3 years ago

    Thank Wren for your post, it was a relief to know that other people, even usually positive people, have these moments of ‘soul rain’ as you so aptly named it. It is exactly how I’m feeling at the moment, tired, very tired of it all. But today the sun is shining, so hopefully I can put my umbrella away for a while!

  • Karen
    3 years ago

    As I get closer to the barn in the morning, I can hear the animals inside. mostly the chickens and goats. When I open the chain link gate of the chicken “fortress” it makes a clank sound. Then the ducks really go off inside. They are very loud and rambunctious. I open the door and there may be chickens at the top of the ramp but if there is snow on the ground, the chickens do not want to go out. The ducks will bully on past them, knocking them out of the way. If it is fresh snow, the will make “snow angels”. Waddling and rubbing in the snow. Sticking their beaks in the snow. Quacking the whole time.
    If it is warm enough, and I can fill the kiddie pool, they will stand off watching me. Quacking. No sooner do I pull the hose out and get out of the way then they are falling over the edge of the pool into the water. They stick their heads under the water. They flap their wings. Six ducks try to get into the kiddie pool at the same time. They roll, quack, splash and just have a good time.
    The chickens that have climbed the tree are looking at them. Jealous that they cannot join in the splash party.

    Wren, I hope this can bring a smile. At least for a little bit.

  • Kay
    3 years ago

    Karen I love the duck story, how waking up and reading it raised my spirits and made me smile after such a horrible painful night from a bad flare. Thank you so much!

  • Linda
    3 years ago

    I love your duck story, Karen. It brought a smile and giggle to more than one RD’er.

  • Wren moderator author
    3 years ago

    Oh, Karen, you did make me smile! And giggle! Thank you for the delightful images and scenes. It’s these things I mean when I write about looking for the gifts the world offers.

    I hope you’re well, and that you’ll visit again. 😀

  • Carla Kienast
    3 years ago

    You can use my umbrella whenever you need it. 🙂

  • Wren moderator author
    3 years ago

    Thank you so much, m’friend. 🙂

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