The First Day of Spring

“My friend…

Don’t just sit there and ruminate…

With your navel to contemplate…

It’s a beautiful day outside…

Time’s passing you by…

Come on out…

Don’t just sit there catatonic…

I’m feeling supersonic…

A warm wind is sweeping by…

The sun’s full in the sky…

And there’s no way of knowing,

No way to know,

Know how long it’ll last”

The Ghandarvas – The First Day of Spring (1994)

I must confess. I’ve been waiting to write this post. It is, in fact, the first day of spring. And while it’s 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), hope springs eternal (no pun intended). Here in Western New York State, the temperatures can deviate greatly from day to day.

But there is still something to be said for the prospect of warmer weather, especially the sunshine that it can bring. Research has shown that we produce Vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D has been linked to helping with depression and low mood. Warning: too much sun can cause skin cancer. But Vitamin D aside, the warmth of the sun is good for our soul.

There is a challenge, however, for those who may be depressed. No matter how nice the weather, individuals who are experiencing some type of depressive disorder may not feel like being outside.

I recall one particular summer in 1983 when I was in the throes of a depressive episode. I could barely get out of bed at times. I’d lay in bed with it being so hot. We didn’t have air conditioning in my house, so it was particularly uncomfortable. But that made no difference to me. I was unable to appreciate the beautiful weather outside. 

There are many people who have this experience and suffer, despite their desire to feel better. It can become a draining cycle that takes one deeper and deeper into a state of despair. It can even get to the point where suicidal ideation can take place. This is typically when some kind of intervention is necessary, whether it be professional, or self-help. Regardless of the approach, taking this step can literally be a lifesaver.

Since that difficult summer nearly three decades ago, I’ve had other long, depressive periods, the most recent in 1995. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Fortunately, I’ve acquired the tools to manage my mental health, such as medication, exercise, meditation, listening to music, getting proper rest, and having a good support system of friends, family and professionals. I also know that things can change in a heartbeat and that is all the more reason to take care of myself. 

Here’s to hoping for bright days ahead. Lord knows we could use them.

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