Monday, November 3, 2008

Clouds on my shoulders

I sometimes wonder if the first few bouts of winter rain have a direct connections to my brain, like an invisible but study fishing line dangling from the sky. I've mistaken this in the past as less my mood being puppeted by the weather, and more of the clouds being able to read my mind a little, as a way to explain the heavyness I feel when the clouds are so low they almost graze my shoulders.

I know I am not depressed, as in the Depression-with-a-capital-D whose symptoms I can list off like counting to ten, as the first set of criteria any budding clinician will memorize. It is more that the sudden shift from red leaves against a blue sky to a permeating damp grey that shocks my system. I will adapt within a matter of weeks, with my umbrella in hand, hopping around puddles. But in the first few days, the fog just emphasizes my natural pessimisms and less desirable quirks. I think too much to begin with, but put me in a chilly bus, my eyes peering out through a hole in the condensation to the world outside, and I start reflecting on the past, present, future, small-scale, large-scale, whatever. I become downright broody. Lyrics that normally fly by on a sunny day are suddenly absorbed and personalized. I'm sensitive on the best of days, but the first week of heavy rain, I find myself wondering about unreturned phone calls and emails, about my ability to pull off the hat I am wearing, about the essay I just handed in, about whether I've lost my ability to connect with people through writing.

If I do have a skill, though, it is to keep my feet moving at the same pace as my brain. I've learned that pausing is the quickest way to start sinking, drowning in these little whirlpools. When I do step in a puddle, I don't stop to contemplate the misery of the wet socks between my toes, but rather keep the rhythm of the next step. I've actually found there to be a lot of truth to that 12-step adage of "Fake it 'til you make it", that by pretending that this gloomy day is just another day, I can slip under the radar of others, and eventually convince myself.

Another aphorism that holds more truth than cliche in moments like this is "This too shall pass." Even if the rain keeps plummeting through to March, the rain in my head will dry up quickly enough.

19 comments:

ToughGirl101 said...

hmm, I think you just described how I feel. Either that, or I have seasonal depression. But I don't think I do, because this depression should pass sometime in December... or does moving to a state with seasons have an affect on seasonal depression??

I'm a psych major, and a really bad one at that.

Crushed said...

Leaving home by dark, coming home by dark. It's depressing, isn't it? Or is it. i don't know. I think the lengthened nights have more excitement to them in some ways. Or maybe I'm just used to the idea that light time is their trime, dark time is your own.

Daisy said...

You've described this feeling really well. My mood is so directly related to the weather it's uncanny. And I don't even spend that much time outside, but if my to-and-from work trip is miserable, my day is darker. And don't even go there with rainy weekends! Very well chosen adages too- great post.

the frog princess said...

This is how I feel when the Spring rains hit NYC. I should take a page out of your book, as I genuinely suck at pulling myself out of the rain-induced funk once I've fallen in.

Surfergrrl said...

I never knew how much the rain in seattle affected me until i moved someplace sunny. i would have a very hard time living anywhere that wasn't sunny now. it really does seem to have an affect on how people feel. but, to counter act that statement, you do live in a beautiful city, and have great Indian food very close to you. mmm, i had a sudden craving for it!

verybadcat said...

I love gray days. I'm weird, I know.

Ant said...

I wholeheartedly believe those two sayings as well.

SAD is a pisser though. Without my annual jaunt down under this year I'm bracing myself for it fully.

wee-h said...

Living in Scotland I should be used to the winter, but it always seems to hit me like a ton of bricks and my motivation disappears. But then I love living in a cold country, Id miss seasons (even though we never seem to have a summer) and the chance of a white Christmas!

t.k.foster said...

It sounds like the seasonal blues that aren't quite like the clinical d-list, but just flow from time to time. Hope things look up soon through the cold winter weather.

Alexa said...

i'm weird, i don't know why i sometimes like when it gets dark earlier. i think that i get more accomplished or something.

yes, i'm weird.

but i hope you get out of your mini funk. yes, mini.

Z said...

I know this feeling as well... :(

benjibopper said...

tomorrow's another day is another good aphorism.

i do feel for west coasters in winter. the snow and the sun off of such make a nice counter-balance to the rain in the east. but then, you don't have those bone cold days. and skiing is never that far into the interior is it?

Sassy said...

"the heavyness I feel when the clouds are so low they almost graze my shoulders."

This is why I no longer live in Seattle, even though I love the place.
:-)

Yoda said...

Gray days make me want to curl up in bed, have soup and snore loudly while sleeping :-)

Crashdummie said...

this is freaky, cuz that was the lunchtopic of the day. How we all feel dull as the days get darker.

The solution: wear bright colors! we need it the most now. But instead we were grey & black...

so looking forward to spring already.

Mrs4444 said...

No connection lost here, my friend :) You are brilliant, even on rainy days.

I've always been grateful that Mr.4444 chose the perfect lot for our home in the wooded neighborhood; when winter comes, there is still a lot of color outside; the green furs, the warm orange ash trees that hold their leaves til spring. Snow is just around the corner, but I'm much less affected by the change of seasons when I have such a beautiful view year-round.

Daisy said...

That happens to me every year - but I'm hoping that this year because I'm actually EXCITED to come back to the northern hemisphere and a dreary winter that I should be able to jump past it. Fingers crossed!!

Feel better soon!

captain corky said...

I like this time of the year most, but right around the end of January I'm ready for Spring. It won't be to long now. ;)

longredcape said...

I just used "This too shall pass" in a post, but I hadn't read yours yet!