my sesonal depression

16 Apr

Seasonal Depression. It’s April in Minnesota, and I’m feelin’ it. Snow over the weekend, snow again tomorrow. It’s been 7 months since my last good soak in the sun.

I’m slowly learning more and more about myself, and I pay attention better than I used to. I notice when I’m feeling frail sooner. Anxious. Sad. Slow. Unbalanced. Shakey. This is how it feels for me. Being honest with myself helps. And kind. When we’ve all been deprived of the sun’s good rays for this long, we can’t be too kind. With others and with ourselves.

So I take deep breaths. I remind myself that I have good reasons for feeling this way, and that it does make sense. I tell myself that I’m not the only one.

Then I breathe again, make myself a cup of tea, tell God a few of the things I’m thankful for. (This flannel Clayton found me, the red-winged black birds that just made their way back, cut flowers in a vase.) If my body feels like Hell (it did this morning) I have a little yoga sequence I go through that’s easy to remember and feels good. I can do it for a minute or ten minutes. It doesn’t matter.

Mountain pose. Breathe. Forward bend. Breathe. Cat pose. Brethe. Cow pose. Brethe. Downward dog. Breathe. Plank. Breathe. Cobra. Breathe. Child’s pose. Breathe.

By now I’m usually feeling a little better. Still frail, yes. I may still burst into tears or (who knows?) an anxiety attack, but I don’t feel unreasonable any more. Hope trickles in, and I remember Clayton’s words to me one day when I was stressing out about all the bad there was in the world, sure that my kids and Clayton and I would all be the victim’s of a terrorist, or a disease, or a world calamity (The result of exposure to too much news). He said, “Dustin, you’re talking like a person without any hope.”

I have hope. I have a lot of hope. I just have to dig for it some days.

Another deep breath. I start doing the things I need to get done for the day, but I let myself go a little slower. I’m intentional with all of my thoughts. If it’s mean, I throw it out. I have to be on my own team. I have to be nice to myself. No judging my thighs, no looking in the mirror unless I’m smiling, no pressuring myself into conquering something huge or making some fancy meal. Not today.

After I’ve gotten some things done, I go outside. Move. Take a walk, a run. At some point I strip off my shoes and socks and “get grounded” as the earthy-people like to say. Mud feels good between my toes, and the cold wakes me up. Plus, I think the earthy-people might be on to something.

I avoid sugar, and processed foods, and the computer, and tv because all of that makes me feel like crap, like my head is swimming in non-sense, and right now I need things to make sense. I avoid big decisions, and I avoid fights with the kids. They haven’t seen the sun for awhile either. I try to say ‘yes’ to them more. When they want to crack the eggs, when the want to pull out the dominos, when they want to make a mess cutting paper. Yes. The house can be messy today. We’ll clean up – slowly.

I find more to thank God for. (Tattoos on the kids foreheads just like I used to do, whistling from a six-year-old, honey in the tea.)

That’s all. I might still end up in tears, but that’s okay. I’ll look on the bright side and call it detoxing. And I’ll smile, and I’ll feel like shit, but it will all be fine because this is me in April when there’s snow on the ground, and it makes sense.

Soon enough I’ll be feeling great. The Hope I have tells me so.



3 Responses to “my sesonal depression”

  1. dianne April 16, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    Powerful. Thanks for sharing. I need the same advice – be kind to myself, practice gratitude, dig for the hope – and I don’t have snow on the ground here, ever! Your words are true in far more circumstances than just seasonal depression, so I hope and pray they can be an ebenezer for all bad days and rough seasons.

  2. Tom Demma April 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    Dustin, this is mom on Dad’s site. I love this piece! I can totally relate except for the snow in April. You have much insight to teach the world! And yes, I am one of those earthy people who feel much better after a good grounding. Isn’t it great! ❤

  3. clayanddust April 17, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Thank you both! xx

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