I wanted to get some thoughts/feeling out while I'm somewhat able to think a bit clearer because sometimes it's difficult to sit and focus on writing happy things for this blog. It used to come naturally for me as I believe I used to be a happy person. The reason I started this blog was to share happiness with others because I felt I had a lot of it in my heart to give. In fact, I started this blog during a difficult time in my life (5 months after my Dad passed away) which is kind of strange now that I think about it. Let's start a happy blog after the death of a parent, what fun! But I've realized a couple of differences between coping with the death of my father and moving here to Seattle.
First the death of my father is permanent. Unless we opted to freeze him cyrogenically he's not coming back. And even though losing him was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with, I was able to process the feelings and emotions associated with death and accept them and continue to move ahead. That doesn't mean I don't miss him every single day, but I don't dwell in the sadness of the loss because there is nothing in my control to change it. I have no other choice but to accept it. Now with moving to Seattle, I keep thinking, it's not permanent, we (or maybe just me) could be on a plane tomorrow and go somewhere else. I have not come to accept this place as home because I still have options out there. I can telecommute and live somewhere else but I know that is not going to best for my marriage. But yet my marriage is not always at its best when I'm living in this constant state of fighting this place so hard. And why do I fight it? Well the plain, simple fact is the weather has severely depressed me. I know sometimes I make light of it and laugh about 13 of the last 14 days straight rain, 40+ degree temps while I'm walking the dog in my mittens and trying to stay dry at the same time...at the end of May. But after living here over a year and a half I have a good enough grasp to know that this is really taking its toll on my mental health.
When we moved out of the midwest to California so many people would say, "Oh you're going to miss those seasons!" Well I thought I would but I didn't. The only time I felt a pang for another season was on Christmas Day, but other than that I never looked back. When we moved here I remember my mom saying, "Oh at least you'll have the seasons again!" And now after living here I don't really see distinctions between the seasons aside from summer. Although the winter of 2008 did get a TON of snow and that was pretty cool, but it was out of the ordinary. I feel like October through March (this year though it's been through May) is pretty much the same season. 40's and 50's (which is great because it's never that cold in the winter, maybe 20's for the absolute low) but just so dark and wet. Now we do get flowers that bloom in what should be spring time and the trees are sooo green and lush but the sky is consistently draped in what feels like a giant gray tarp for many, many months. It is rare to get more than 3 straight days of clear skies during the months of October to March and to me a season is more than just a few days peppered into a month's time. There's that darkness that just hangs in the sky and each day it feels like it's closing in, closer and closer until you can no longer breathe. Could it be scientific and maybe related to barometric pressure in the air that causes one to struggle with breath or is it the fact that the clouds are so visibly low in the sky you feel like you could touch them? Either way it puts my head in such a fog to where I can't think straight and the flood gates of depression have opened and it affects my marriage, my work, and my interactions with others. And that is something new that I'm having a hard time coping with. Maybe I've been prone to this all my life and living here just brought it all out but I never remember feeling this way, even when we lived in Minnesota for those 11 months. And there is nothing like the cold in Minnesota to make one crazy but this is a different crazy, just a heaviness that weighs you down. Just this year alone, it has averaged 21 days a month of rain. And there are times when it will stop and there will be an afternoon beam of sun and believe me I do my best to get out there and soak it in if I can but it's just not enough to sustain my mind and quell those dark thoughts/fears. It got so bad this last Saturday that I had a panic attack and strongly believed that the world was coming to an end because human beings can't live like this and we are all going to die. Now as I type that out here I can sort of see the irrationality in it but I need some way to clear my head from the darkness because I know it will happen again, however irrational it may seem. I strongly feel that if my Dad had passed away while we were living here, I would have never started a blog about Living Happy. I don't think I could have handled his death when I'm overcome with this darkness inside and probably could have done something completely irreversible because when I'm in that funk there seems absolutely no other way out. Everything else you have to deal with seems magnified 100 times and you just want to say F this, it's not worth it. I'm not alone in feeling this way and that should make me feel a little better (not as foreign) but it actually makes me more sad knowing others are struggling so much as well. I tried to prepare myself for living here but anticipating it and living it day in and day out after a year and a half are two completely different things. And if you are not prone to depression this can be difficult to understand but this is a very challenging place to be especially when you have a panic attack just by looking out the window. Wow I didn't expect to write so much on that but as you can tell it's been bubbling up.
So, this weekend after my melt down, we started thinking of ways to deal with this because what I've done thus far is barely keeping me sane. On Sunday, the rain finally stopped early afternoon and then slowly, out came the sun. Tom and I rushed home to get Wrigs and walk him outside and one by one everyone starting opening their doors just standing in their driveways/yards staring up at the sky. It was like something out of children of the corn. I thought how comical the whole scene was, especially for those who LOVE the benefits of the sun but yet have to endure months of darkness to enjoy it. Seattle is a gorgeous landscape when the sun is out, I just feel the many months of depression to get those fleeting moments of feeling good again aren't enough to sustain me. My bones have been aching (another sign of severely lacking in Vitamin D, lucky for Tom, he is too) and I thought it was because I got some of those tone up shoes. Well when the sun came out yesterday my aches and pains started to go away. I felt my body relax, I had ZERO stomach issues and I could again, process and think things through and find solutions/perspective to situations in my life. And that felt soooo good.
There are a couple coffee shops in town I frequent on weekend mornings and have become acquaintances with a few of the regulars. I met this woman back in Feb or March and we started talking about life and she was so down, on the verge of tears. She is going through a messy divorce, has 3 unruly teenagers and is also taking care of an aging parent (or parents, I'm not sure if it was plural). She was so visibly depressed, I really thought she was going to go off the deep end and drive her car off a bridge. I gave her one of my bracelets made with healing beads and told her that I would be praying for her strength through all of the things she is dealing with. I saw her just a few weeks ago and she was a completely different person. I said things must be so much better you are beaming! She told me that no, nothing has changed in her life, things are still the same but she just got back from visiting her sister in Arizona and she feels like a new person. She said as soon as her youngest is through with high school she is going to move there. Just ONE solid week of sun worked wonders for her mind and cleared the negativity in her head and she felt like a new person with a new start. She said her problems are always going to be there but she can cope with them better when she's not so depressed. I know the issues I'm dealing with in my little life are not as drastic as hers but I 100% know where she's coming from. And now that she has a plan in motion she is much more upbeat, light hearted and when I looked at her this time I even thought, she is happy.
Amazing how that works. People benefit tremendously from the vitamins and warmth from the sun. Why else do people retire to warm, sunny places?
So that's where I'm at. I need to come to a place of acceptance but it's still very much a work in progress.