For those who don’t live in a dark and dreary place most of the year, you won’t be able to relate to this article. If you do, I’ll expect an “Amen” when you’re done reading.
I reside in the middle of nowhere, in the upper left corner of the lower 48. I truly love where I live, most of the year. We’re located in a breathtakingly beautiful land, where you can be in the mountains and 30 minutes later be at the beach. Opportunities to get outside and just enjoy creation are endless. There are great places to hike with amazing views that are ever changing, as well as, lakes, rivers, and the Pacific Ocean to enjoy, bike paths and parks and numerous recreational sports leagues.
What we are lacking is sunshine. I don’t know about you, but I need sunshine. We have runs of time where we are without the sun for three weeks. Just gray, dreary rain for days on end. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good storm, but the endless gray is just downright depressing. It’s like a heavy blanket you just can’t seem to get out from under.
For someone who battles with depression daily, the dark days that turn into weeks tend to make the dense, gray blanket feel even more weighted. Those days seem to make the battle that much harder. You find yourself clinging to the edge of the black hole; fingernails dug into the earth like spikes, feet dangling in the darkness, as you try precariously not to be consumed by the black hole.
Looking for something to cling to, weary from battle, you check weather reports looking for some glimpse of sunshine, just a break in the clouds, a sliver of daylight. You find yourself yearning desperately for light, so you slather on the sunscreen and find a tanning bed. For a few minutes, you will feel the warmth of light. It doesn’t quite quench the need you have for the sun, but it will stave off the depression, giving you the strength to hold on a little while longer.
One day, you notice that it is no longer pitch black on your drive to work, the sky is looking a little deep cyan blue, or maybe it’s your mind playing tricks on you. Several weeks later, the sky seems a bit more midnight blue, and you feel a little more upbeat. Funny thing how just the knowledge that the sun is coming back gives you a little boost in spirit. During the day, you look longingly out the window of your office at the sunshine streaming down from the heavens. You pray that it will still be out there when you finish work. Honestly, though, it’s a crapshoot. That’s just how the weather works here during the mid-fall, winter, and spring months.
Then, on one miraculous day, the sun does stay out until you make it outside. You walk out the door and feel the warmth on your face, and you feel utterly euphoric. The light, the heat, it penetrates through your skin, sinking into your bones and saturating your soul with the glorious rays. I have never done drugs but would imagine this is what “high” feels like. Some days I long for the sun’s warmth the way I hear addicts long for their “fix.”
Oh summer, please come quickly. My skin, my bones, and my soul are weary and require the replenishment and uplifting only the sun can provide. Until then, I’ll continue to slather on the sunscreen and go to the tanning bed, where for five minutes I’ll pretend I’m on a tropical beach and hope that will suffice until I get to experience the glorious rays of the authentic sun.
Check out this episode of our podcast, This Grit and Grace Life: Don’t Start the New Year Stuck in a Rut – 021
You’ll also like To the Mom Who Has Postpartum Depression, Overcoming the Waves of Anxiety and Panic Attacks, 3 Places to Visit in the Winter and Why, 6 Practical Tips That Have Helped Me Conquer Depression, and Battling the Mind Monster: A Letter to My Mom.