Finding Light in the Darkness: How Morning Clouds and Small Wonders Help Me Combat PTSD

Matthew Heneghan
3 min readJun 22, 2024


To combat the bad things, I try to find beauty in the little things. The things we might take for granted most days. This morning, for example, I got out of bed while the morning hours were still blue and subdued. After a restless night and fractured sleep, I finally stood up and went to the window. I peered through the thin slits of the blinds, watching with sullen gaze as night welcomed day.

The clouds; that’s what I noticed. That’s where I found the beauty I was so desperately looking for. Swabs of indolent cotton being carried by a gentle wind. They first appeared as a darkened ink blot against the steely blue sky. But, as the sun began to wake, it’s warm glow started to caress the billowing textures of the slow moving heavens.

In real time I watched as light overtook the dark, and flecks of marigold, amber, and honey fell into the creases of those languid giants looming high overhead.

I used this tranquil sight to push back against that which I had woken from, a post traumatic contort of the mind.

She was just 4 months old. When I entered into the house she was on her back and splayed out on a cushion on the couch. Her pink onzie bit into my eyes with an immediate staple to memory.

She was at home with her family when she suddenly stopped breathing. No warning, no precipitating event, just tragedy carried on the sinister hands of a passing second.

A team of us (paramedics) worked with tireless pace to thwart the Reaper’s ill-will — but it was to no avail. That 4 month old lay lifeless on our stretcher.

An ache in my knee mocked me upon waking. The same pain I felt while I was knelt beside that poor girl, poking her with needles, pumping on her chest, and putting tubes in her throat, all of it useless as no beat ever returned to her little heart.

These are the things that used to motivate my thirst for whiskey. Drink enough, and the world turns black. No sights, no sounds, just…black.

But now, I choose to look at the life around me; my Sheena, the two girls, my family and friends

. Day overtaking morning is a constant reminder that darkness never lasts. It can be the blackest night in the loneliest of places and morning will come. The sun, like a phoenix, brings warmth and promise.

There’s beauty in the clouds even when there is sadness in my heart

. It’s the little things that mean the most. And it’s the little things that can lead us to the bigger things — like a new day.



Matthew Heneghan

Canadian veteran, paramedic, and author. Host of 'A Medic's Mind' podcast. Advocate for mental health, sharing stories of resilience and personal growth.