Monday, April 28, 2014

Is It Really Spring?

Spring! Spring! Spring! (Part One) 

Spring has finally sprung around here! I feel so elated, I hardly know what to do with myself! The sun is suddenly so warm on my skin…my BARE skin! Yes! I can actually wear less than many layers of clothing and I’m still warm!
My skin feels glorious as it soaks up the rays. I can practically feel the processing of vitamin D!
And boy, am I happy!
Happy! Happy! Happy!
I feel like a whole new person. Well, not new, but perhaps a me that I thought was gone long ago.
Through this long, cold, dark winter, I wondered how most people were so active. How they went through their every day lives accomplishing everything they need to.
I didn’t.
I couldn’t.
I could barely get out of bed.
How did everyone else do it?
Why couldn’t I?
After the last couple of weeks of feeling sunshine on my skin, I am reminded I suffer from seasonal depression.
For those of you who live south, and in sunny locations, let me explain. Seasonal depression is a form of depression that happens to people who don’t get enough sun. It happens to a lot of people around where I live.
We live in a place that sometimes goes weeks (one winter I counted months) where we don’t get sun, but only overcast clouds. Add in the whole darkness of winter on top of that, where the sun seems to set 5 minutes after it comes up.
Imagine it.
There are less than 12 hours of daylight, and most, if not all of them are cloudy.
Day in and day out.
No sun.
No bright, warm, yellow/golden light.
Just overcast, grey, and you are covered from neck to foot (and sometimes head, depending on the day) just to stay warm enough.
Sorry, did I scare you?
Because that’s what we live every winter.
Now, in order to get through without being depressed, we have great things to do in the winter, don’t get me wrong.
There’s skiing, sledding, ice skating, snowman building, and more.
Let’s not forget the holiday season…created to distract us all.
These things are good, great even, and they help a lot. But of course, you need snow for almost all of them.
That doesn’t always happen.
A lot of winters are just grey, dark, and cold.
This winter, thank goodness, we had lots and lots of snow.
I love snow. It allows you to get out in that cold, face it, embrace it, and enjoy it!
I did that this past winter.
I got out there with the kids and slid down the hill in our yard on sleds.
I took pictures of the beauty of the snow when it made everything look magical, sparkling, and white.
I made it to the end of February feeling good about the cold and snow. While everyone else complained, I was happy with the snow, the white wintery landscape it created all around us.
Somewhere between the end of February and the beginning of March, it hit me like a brick wall. I don’t remember if there was a particular lack of sunshine those weeks, or what it was, but I was done with winter.
I craved sunshine and warm sand between my toes. I yearned for it. I imagined it.
I had to. I had to get out of bed every morning.
I complained frequently about the cold and snow. Suddenly the beautiful, white magic turned into blistery, cold death.
I hated it.
For the first time in my life, I hated snow.
I never minded the cold before, as long as there was snow. Snow made it tolerable. Snow made the winter beautiful.
Until now.
Now it was ugly, evil snow. I wanted it gone.
It kept coming. We had two large storms which brought over 6 inches each during March and April. In between, it would melt, teasing and taunting me to hold on for Spring. When the last storm came, I thought I would lose it. I really thought I would go crazy. Stir crazy, winter crazy, mind crazy.
I felt tired all the time. It felt hard just to get up and do the things I did every day.
Really hard.
Through March and April, I came to accept this new found tiredness. I blamed it on age, on being out of shape, on everything but the weather. I thought I was fighting the winter well, and didn’t realize, it already got me.
I was depressed. Depressed but fighting. Waiting and hoping for spring. Telling myself that it was just around the corner. Thinking maybe it would come a little early this year.
Nope. That was way off.
So I lived with this feeling of tiredness and lethargy. I came to think it was just where I was in life now, and that’s the way it was going to be.

Convinced (Part Two)

Then Spring sprung.
Thank God!
Like a miracle it warmed up. Gradually, teasing with days into the 60’s, then back down into the 20’s, then back up again to 50’s. But more and more, the days were warming, and the sun was shining, and the snow melted!
All of it! It was gone!
I’d actually forgotten what the landscape looked like without it! It looked different!
The colors outside were now like mud. Everything looked dead. I wondered how it all would ever green up, but I knew it did every year, and this one wouldn’t be an exception. But I was going to pay attention to it, because I was curious.
Now, the days are longer, the sun shines more frequently, and I don’t wear layers of clothing anymore. I can feel the heat of the sun on my face and arms when I walk my son to the end of the driveway every morning for the bus.
It feels so good!
In fact, everything feels good! I can wake up and get dressed and ready to walk after my son gets on the bus!
Where did I get this new energy?
When did it get easier to get up in the morning?
Why do I feel so chipper?
It feels good to be back to myself again!
Hello self! I’ve missed you terribly!
Time to catch up on the slacking off of winter, and get to work!
Ok, let’s do it!
There. Just like that, a few days of sunshine on my skin, and I feel whole again.
Seasonal depression, how could I have forgotten you?
I bought my mom a sunlamp (I believe it was called a “happy light”) for her seasonal depression. Next winter I plan on buying myself one as well. This winter cinched it for me, and I will not go through that again.
I can see why people say they get too old for winters. It’s tough. So is dealing with depression. Those two things together…not everyone is equipped to handle that. You need help to get through it sometimes.
I get it, for sure.

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