I am a Category 2 Hurricane
By: Peggy Willms
Posted in BizCatalyst360 on 11/28/2022
(6 min read)
I am a Cat 2 Hurricane. Interesting, right?!
First, what is the scientific description of a hurricane? As I paraphrase gobs of information from the NY Times, Woods Hole Oceanographic, and Wikipedia, a hurricane is a tropical storm with winds reaching a sustained speed of 74 miles per hour or more for at least one minute. With dangerous torrential rains, winds, and storm surges, they cause death and destruction. They can extend over a 400-mile radius. The hurricane’s center is cloud-free and called the Eye of the Storm and is usually 20-30 miles wide.
When Mother Nature is swirling around her pent-up energy offshore, she’s likely to become a hurricane looking for a place to land. Her bandwidth can either be a gentle waltz or a rambunctious jive spinning her forces every which way, often causing colossal disaster. She is a whirling hunk of vibration. A natural phenomenon just like the crazy jive where you don’t know what is coming next, but you keep watching it ramp up with excitement. Sure sounds like a solid description of me.
After living through Hurricane Ian two months ago, I’ve changed dramatically; physically, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially. Ian forced me to live in the moment. When you have no power or running water for days, playing Yahtzee becomes the highlight. The experience has affected my physical surroundings and made me pause to assess a few things internally. Relearning the cause and effect of Mother Nature’s abilities and behavior metaphorically made me think of my own causes and effects.
Human Hurricanes: What behaviors build up leading to our personal self-destruction? What is happening during the craziness? What do we do with the aftermath? For me, I began thinking of my pre, mid, and post-energetic force as it relates to my health and well-being.
The energy that stirs within me, within all of us, is similar to that of a tropical storm brewing in the mid-Atlantic. Our thoughts and behaviors as they rev up can feel like they are way “out there,” as if we are outside of the experience, just observing. Just as we watch the news measuring data and warning us of what’s to come, we, too, often have warnings. The increased speed and barometric pressure of life can lead to destruction.
Maybe there is a short-term project due. “Get prepared; she’s ramping up to a Cat 1.”
“Ooh, she has been working long hours. She might take “landfall” as a Cat 2.
Or “She’s worked every day for months, isn’t sleeping, ignores half my phone calls, and hasn’t been exercising. She’s crashing in at a Cat 5 this time.”
Based on my health and wellness history, I hover at a Cat 2. Up and down and up and down – though, for the record, over the past eight years, I am pretty damn good at staying healthier. You ask why then and I a level two? Though I have the data, know what to expect, I am human and breaking my programming is still a work in progress.
I am very aware of my energy levels. It is no secret that I enjoy my highs. The ones where you wish you didn’t have to sleep, eat, or use the bathroom because you are getting so much done that you feel justified to keep going. During those times, the red flags of the “impending hurricane” are likely ignored because the energy is so infectious.
When I am involved in a passion project, energy rushes throughout my body, pinging as if I were the ball at Wimbledon. I am pumped internally and externally. In the beginning, a shallow breeze (excitement) brews creating momentum. The adrenaline builds as a result, so does confidence, support, motivation, creativity, and more. With blinders on, there is no sight of “roof, shingle, gutter, or landscape” damage. If the project is short-lived, the intensity may only last weeks. No “large branches are snapping, and no paranoia” has set in. I am still eating, working out, sleeping, and interacting.
Let’s go through the phases.
As I slide into a Cat 1 (74-95 mph), I’ve likely ignored a few dangerous winds kicking up. There might be minor destruction to my vessel or my mind, but my support system is intact, and there are only a few “power outages.” This phase might last a few weeks, and I am able to balance multiple spinning plates simultaneously including nutrition, exercise, and my mindset.
If I am really focused on a goal or project, I begin to slide into obsessive, compulsive behaviors, and it is not uncommon for me to play around in the Cat 2 range (96-110 mph) for extended periods of time – months, even years. This phase seems to happen gradually, and imminent danger is almost undetectable. Hmm. I mean, what’s the difference between 95 mph and 110?
Regardless of how embedded my “healthy habits” are, this well-constructed frame can only sustain this level of beating for so long. I eventually lose balance, like the shallow roots of a banyan tree being yanked from the ground. In the physical world, the sustained force of a Cat 2 can cause extensive damage, such as power outages for several days to weeks. Me, too. If I have maintained Cat 2 behavior for an extended period of time, I am likely to be slammed into bed with an infection or migraine. However, my mental health is intact, and I circle back to production in just a few days. Yes, it would be wise to use those as “have fun” versus in bed days. I get it.
Yup, I am a sustained Cat 2 Hurricane. Let’s check out some of my other sustained winds though they do not represent the majority of my life.
I have experienced multiple Category 3 phases in my life (111-129 mph). The scientific definition of a Cat 3 is that there will be devastating damage to well-built framed homes, and many trees will snap, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
My personal Cat 3 storms are no joke. Things get ugly and fast as I take on too many responsibilities, set crappy boundaries, postpone all self-care, and ignore all physical and emotional warning signs. The scientific measurement of hurricane destruction is based on deaths and the cost of damaged physical destruction. Just as the intensity of my category storms increases, the more destruction it leaves in its path and the longer it takes to recover and rebuild. In some cases, you cannot rebuild. These phases for me, take a few weeks to recover. I am aware I am sliding down as they occur, and I try desperately to get it together. Sometimes I succeed and other times, it takes a team to pull be back. But I am soooo much better at this. PS: let me remind you, I have been in health and wellness for over thirty years, so this is full transparency here. It is simply hard to coach yourself.
What about Cat 4 (130-156 mph)? In the “non-metaphoric” world, we evacuated during Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 hurricane in 2018, with a landfall of 130 mph. The storm swiped up the entire state of Florida. We drove to Georgia to avoid its path. With Hurricane Ian, also a Cat 4, but only one mile per hour shy of a Cat 5, we sat hunkered down in our living room and survived the Eye of the Storm at 155 mph. Nine and a half hours of beating. (See my four-part hurricane blogs at www.allthingswellness.com/all-things-wellness-blogs/)
During my Cat 4 times, of which there have been three in my adulthood, there were medical leaves caused by illnesses and injuries, missed holidays and events, compromised friendships and collaborations, ultimately resulting in devastating personal or professional damage. It takes much inner and outer work to build after a Cat 4.
And, yes, you guessed it…I have lived through a few Peggy Cat 5’s where, literally and figuratively, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. These are the mental health breaks where things get really, really dark, and you just want it all to end; for the pain to go away. These storms were the source of all three of my mental-health tattoos: 1) “in the moment,” 2) a semi-colon, and 3) a three-word phrase that is offensive to most, so I shall let you find it on my TikTok Channel. In these few instances, I was brave enough to seek medical and personal support. One Cat 5 lasted 18 months. Cat 5’s suck.
When I first thought about my life compared to a hurricane, I was astounded at the similarities. The root causes can be determined by the energy level flowing beautifully in an ocean of harmonic, healthy bliss or energy being pent up, bursting wildly, ultimately leaving destruction in its path.
Avoiding any hurricane in life would be ideal. Likely, you will experience a few Cat 1’s or 2’s in your life, and just as you would for a “real” hurricane, use Three P’s: Plan, Prepare and Pray.
Just for fun, here are a few facts…according to the NY Times, based on the fastest hurricanes in U.S. History
- The Great Labor Day Hurricane 1935, Florida, 185 mph (12,000 deaths)
- Camille (Mississippi) 1969, 173 mph (256 deaths)
- Andrew, 1969, (Florida), 165 mph (65 deaths)
- Michael, 2018, (Florida), 161 mph (61 deaths)
- Ian, (Florida), 2022 155 mph (125+ deaths)
All Things Wellness, LLC
The information provided is the opinion of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice: diagnosis or treatment. The author, the business, All Things Wellness, LLC, and its owner Peggy Willms, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this article or website. We assume no responsibility for tangible and intangible damages such as physical harm caused by using a product, loss of profits or loss of data, and defamatory comments. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.