Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Calendar Series: 56th Month / Across the Water (1989)

I've been feeling depressed lately in the way that I did when I was at a loss as to what to do with my life, during the years I was living in a marriage that was never meant to be. Taking an antidepressant was not the solution. The solution was to make a decision to leave the marriage and then to leave. Facing my fears was the solution. Changing my life was the solution. I have never regretted my decision. The depression lifted. I was no longer living a lie. The joy I had once felt in living returned. I entered the most creative period of life up to that point.

Now it's not so clear what it is that is behind this recent feeling of depression. I believe that the solution is the same. I need to make a decision to face my fears and change the course of my life again. Am I again married to something that was never meant to be? What is it? I hope these are the right questions. I know what it is to feel joy, and I hope to feel that again.

Mid-February to mid-April is not the best time for me because of pollen and mold allergies. I no longer suffer from severe upper respiratory symptoms, but I do experience a feeling of malaise in late winter and early spring that is at odds with the beauty of this time of year. As the days grow lighter, I don't feel better. If anything, I have reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder and don't feel well again until after the summer solstice. I have chosen not to take antidepressant medication because my depression is situational. My experience is that it always lifts.

A book that I have found helpful with depression is The Zen Path Through Depression, by Philip Martin. I need to get that book out again.

Here is Oboe looking into the morning sun:


Loren said...

I always have mixed feelings about spring because it's the only time of year that my allergies can really cause me problems, including blinding sinus headaches.

It seems ironic that finally breaking out of the gray, wet winter can have such opposing effects.

I think exercise has always been my means of coping wth "depression" though I don't think I've ever suffered clinical depression, just the "natural" depression that followed a stint in Vietnam and the breakup of my first marriage after seventeen years.

Still, there were years when I was teaching when I had to hold on like dear like to make it through the end of the year, and those were usually years when I had to sacrifice exercise to get through all the work that needed to be done.

Hopefully, we'll get some extended sunshine soon and that will help you break out of your depression.

Lori Witzel said...

Wishing you breaks in your internal cloud-cover...

Ditto and echo for Loren's comments re: exercise -- very useful when I want a dark mood to shift and clear.

I look at those moods as weather, or the deeper tones on a palette, and that also helps.

am said...

loren -- Every day in the last few days since I posted this, I've gone out walking for around a hour in the rain in Whatcom Falls Park and am feeling distinctly better. I, too, think of my depression as "natural" rather than clinical. It is situational and part of how I process difficult experiences. Thank you for your thoughts on sinus headaches, allergies and natural depression.

lori -- Thank you for your kind words and perspective. Along with walking, my recent commitment to painting in watercolor and gouache on paper on a daily basis for 40 days and beyond has helped. Your photos, drawings and poems remind me on a daily basis of the healing power of creativity.

Unknown said...

your work is beautiful. I forget sometimes that doing what you love clears the mind and heals the heart.