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Eyes that Shine Burning Red

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the Solstice, the darkest, longest night of the year. After this, the days will get longer. But it will be harder to see as it will be stormy. We've had the first major snowstorm of the Winter and two days ago it wasn't even Winter. But it's still a foot of snow on the ground.

Why the song? It seems a tad incongruous, except when you realize that Winston Churchill referred to depression as The Black Dog.

And so I am trying to shut my door to the beast.

It is not some cuddly Poodle or Lab. It's a beast. And I don't want it this year.

My main effort has been in trying to get outside. While I have a small all-spectrum light, I'd rather be outside. This has meant walking/jogging when the streets have been all right, and yesterday it was an hour and a half (this was accomplished in two shifts) of snow shoveling. I'll go to the gym today and then tomorrow there will be more shoveling. Even though it's cold, even though it's a chore, I'd just rather be outside and exerting myself.

There's a topic here on Spark, and it's one of those major ones, and it asks how people can get up and out there in the bad weather. Well, the answer is, you just do it. If you had to go to a doctor's appointment, or catch a train, you'd get up and you'd go. You'd put on a sweater or grab an umbrella or boots or whatever. It would be less than perfectly pleasant but you would still perform the task. So why is it so difficult for so many to just get up and do it if the skies are less than perfectly sunny? And, in particular, for people who are going to a gym anyway, what is it about the weather that leads to such a -- let's face it -- LAME excuse for not moving the squishy parts and making them less, well, squishy?

It is depression, and I suspect that depression and obesity are bastard step-twins. You eat because you feel unworthy and unlovable. You lay in bed with the covers over your head and mourn the fact that you can't exercise, all while, miraculously, surprise surprise, NOT exercising. You look at yourself in the mirror, or on a scale, and think you're a failure. So you're unlovable and unworthy and so you grab the ice cream and get into bed and think about how no one understands you and how awful it is and oh poor you and look the weather stinks and those grey skies are an omen, they are telling you that you'll never get there, you'll never get it right, and it's all for naught and we're all going to that great vale of tears anyway so why not have another piece of pie?

Or you can smack the black dog with a newspaper on its nasty snout. Get up anyway. Put away the ice cream (and not by cramming it into your mouth). Go out and walk, or shovel, or get in your car and go to a gym or a mall and get yourself moving that way. And drink water instead of an ice cream soda and look at yourself in the mirror or on the scale and say, hey, I may not be perfect but that doesn't mean I'm not worthy. It doesn't mean that no one can or will ever love me. People have before, and they will again, and they might even -- they probably even -- do right now. And I'm not going to let them down. I'm going to get out and do it, and make better choices and treat myself the way I want to be treated by others.

And maybe those red-shining eyes will be beacons in the darkness for someone else, and you can lead them out of that cave as well. And one day you'll look up, and that grey stuff will be gone. Because, you see, the paradox of Winter is that it starts off dark and dreary but even under the dark and drear it is getting better. There are tiny shoots under there, just waiting for a combination of sun and rain and temperature. There is light up there, too, above the clouds. And when the clouds part and the ground begins to thaw, you'll see it, too, and the beast will be tamed. And you, yes, YOU, will have done the taming.
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  • no profile photo CD5454268
    I wandered here from another post and found your words at just the right time...

    This is an excellent blog. As one who also fights "The Black Dog", I loved the idea of smacking it on the snout with a rolled up newspaper! Fortunately for me, my corner of the world is much further south and outside is doable most of the time.

    Good wishes on your continued successful journey and for as much sunshine as possible!

    4032 days ago
    Thanks for the motivation. I don't have to deal with even close to what you northerners have to go through with winter...yet I still whine. I'll shut up now and just DO it!
    4039 days ago
  • JOHAL52
    Loved your blog! One thing that helps me to get my exercise in is reminding myself that exercise is a natural anti-depressant. I have several of those bouncy Leslie Sansone DVDs and I plug one in and say "well, I'll do ten minutes and that will be something" and I, depending on my mood, alternately grouch to Leslie and her "chat" or laugh. Somehow ten minutes becomes twenty, thirty and then forty five. And afterward I feel a whole lot better. I still take anti-depressants and probably will for the rest of my life but Leslie has helped me for the past 7 years lose the weight and firm the flesh.

    This is not an ad for Leslie Sansone--I know there are lots of good exercise DVDs out there. If you're interested, check out your local library. Borrowing is a lot cheaper if you don't know if you'll like it.

    4044 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3248497
    hmmm for me I don't like the cold. lol I rather be toasty instead of OK. I HATE being cold, that is why I avoid outside as much as I can.
    4045 days ago
    I know your unemployment doesn't help with depression. I've been dealing with some nasty mood/depression issues myself in the past few months. And recently I've been feeling better. It's hard to isolate why, but I think it's possible it's because I've added a couple of supplements to my diet--iron (I'm anemic) and fish oil/Omega 3s (DHA specifically). I'm inclined to think they've made a difference for me, and thought you might look into whether there's any chance they could work for you. And no, I'm not trying to sell you anything as part of a pyramid scheme!!! emoticon emoticon
    4045 days ago
    Was feeling kind of oogey and down last week, but today I'm 0.5 lbs away from a "healthy" BMI, so that poor beastie with the red eyes seems to have crept away to hide in a corner for a while.

    And I'm not complaining! LOL

    I don't think depression and obesity are step twins, but full-on monozygotic conjoined twins who have ESP, telepathy, and can fly. With bat wings.

    Just sayin'

    4045 days ago
    Great blog emoticon
    4045 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4749243
    OK OK OK already. Were you speaking to me????? I'm outta here to get my sunshine!

    Thanks for the pep talk--just in the nick of time!

    emoticon emoticon
    4046 days ago
    Great post! I had that fight yesterday with myself about getting out of bed.. but we had no power for a short time.. and I couldn't resist the warm down quilt.. they say november is the darkest most depressing month.. it sure felt like it...

    I am so glad we made it over the Hump.. longer sunny days are ahead.. life is good...
    4046 days ago
  • JLITT62
    What a wonderful blog! Thank you.

    I look forward to this day simply because I know that the days will now get longer. Even tho I know that it will take a while to feel those effects, just the simple knowledge that they're getting longer warms my heart.
    4046 days ago
    Very well said! Enjoy the outdoors today. emoticon
    4046 days ago
    I'm putting your "bastard step twins" line on my fridge and on my Spark collage on my desk top.
    You nailed it.

    While tonight is the longest night of the year, tomorrow the sun will start to wait around a little longer and it will be better every day. We made it.
    4046 days ago
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