Leah posted a blog called ‘Plunging into the cold’ in October last year asking what is it about sea swimming that some of us are drawn to. Is it true that cold water can trigger the happy hormones? The replies were wonderful, honest and humorous.
I had a tough week recently. One of those ‘everything that could go wrong, did go wrong’ weeks. You know the ones. The sort of week you look up to the sky and cry: ‘Oh come on universe….’ I felt low, sad and uninspired. Even though I knew I would feel better afterwards, I had to persuade my sad, tired body to de-robe, pull on my swimsuit and walk towards the shore. I decided when I got out, no matter how I felt, I would write my thoughts down straight away. No cheating. I had a notebook and pen in my changing bag. I would emerge from the sea, scribble my feelings and share them with my Moodscope comrades.
Here is what I wrote after my swim that sad Saturday…
"I feel hopeful. Optimistic. Lots of ideas and plans swirling and whirling in my head. The slow moving clouds in the sky, the touch of the water around my body, the smell, that fresh almost fruit-salady smell of the sea. The cold. Oh yes, yes, the stinging but it feels like a joyful, hopeful stinging, in fact it’s more zinging than stinging. Anything is possible, anything. It’s been a dark, upsetting week and I’ve been struggling but right now, right in this moment, I can feel, I can sense possibility, freshness, hope. My face is frozen in a smile, it’s a frozen-cold-smile yes but also it’s a smile of hope, a smile of knowing that I am strong, that I am alive, that there is a future with brighter, lighter weeks ahead, a tangible hope of more to come… more delights to come. I am strong, I am alive… I am hopeful.”
At that point, I started to shiver with the cold so I got dressed quickly! The high had hit and I was buzzing. Did it last long? I wish I could say it did but it only lasted for a few hours before reality started to nibble, snap and bite again. But the sadness wasn’t as severe. That sea-swim spark of hope had reminded me that the darkness will pass and I will feel brighter again. My skin will zing again. And I will smile. Even if the smile is a cold-water-frozen-face sort of a smile, it is a smile.
Every time I get into the sea, I repeat my mantra: ‘I am strong, I am alive… ’ In one way, it doesn’t sound much. But in another way, it is everything. It is, for me, the very essence of hope.
The cold Irish Sea may not help everyone. For some, it might be the opposite - a warm bath perhaps?! But, whatever it is, I hope and wish that all my fellow Moodscopers will find, or have found, something that works for you, something that gives even the teeniest little glimmer of hope just when you need it…
Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.