Now here is a subject I can sink my teeth into.
I have, for many years suffered from the winter blues, also known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Some winters are much harder than others. The sun has a clear and decisive effect on my feelings of well-being. I usually begin the downward spiral in early or mid-October when the days begin to shorten and the fall rains make the sun a rare visitor. On the sunny days, temperature is not a factor though I love the heat, I manage relatively well to function and maintain a cheery attitude. When the sun stays away for more than one day, I will feel the weight. A physical feeling of weight on my entire body. It is hard to smile, hard to laugh and hard to be productive. I sometimes fight it and push myself to DO something, anything. I sometimes make myself do something which I would normally find fun or entertaining. I don't find it fun or entertaining. If I manage to DO something, chances are it will be a minimal effort and a moderate result. My heart won't be in it and it will be obvious. The up side of that, however, is that I didn't just sit and wallow. Wallowing is a dangerous thing for me. I can slide from a bad day into a bad week into a bad month with very little effort on my part. If I can keep myself moving, even if it's half-assed, I will rebound with the next sunshiny day. So moving and doing is vital and this I have learned over the last 15 to 20 years. I understand how it works for me, this SAD condition and I understand it is my choice to wallow or fight. I usually choose to fight. Mind over matter has some power and I draw on that even though technically my problem is my mind. My mind doesn't function well without sun. I truly am solar powered.
I must say that contrary to popular belief, I seldom feel sad. I feel next to nothing. I feel empty. It isn't sadness. I just want to sit or sleep or exist without being anything. I feel as if someone has unplugged my energy source and I am in need of rest. I am not in need of rest. I have not been sleep deprived nor have I exhausted myself physically or mentally so as to bring about that feeling of having been zapped of all abilities. I just wake up with it. I then have to determine with my first cup of coffee whether I will give in or take it on. I admit that once in a while, I give in. I take it on more often though because my history tells me it won't go away if the sun doesn't come out tomorrow, if I just sit and wait for it. I have to resist the urge and get off my butt and DO something. Laundry, clean, straighten something out, write or edit, go out for lunch, shop or anything that will occupy my mind or use up my time. The feeling or lack of it will pass. I just never know when. So I choose not to lay around and hope tomorrow will be better. Today will be better. Not happy-sunshiny-bright-kind of better, but better than sleeping or sitting in a mental fog all day.
Most people who don't have this condition think it is just kind of crazy and a little self-indulgent. I wish it were. I am a bit of a control freak in my normal life so having something take control over me to any degree at all, is unacceptable. Unacceptable and real. I hate that I can't just "get over it" because that is exactly what I want. I gain strength from looking forward to sun. Silly? Maybe, but it works. If we can get away to a sunny place for a couple of weeks, I can not only refuel from the trip, I can actually keep myself somewhat leveled out by looking forward to the day we are sitting in the sun. Not having such plans makes it a bit more of a challenge, but I still look forward to the sunny days.
This has been an unusually sunny winter for Michigan and for that I am very grateful. I have only had a few days of doom and gloom to fight and that is an amazing statement from my mind for the end of January. I think I'm gonna make it after all! Of course I'm gonna make it, I am surrounded by so much love and unfaltering faith, I can't lose. I can stumble, but I can't fall.
The sun will come out tomorrow...or maybe the next day...but it will shine again.