The Year is Complete!

Please feel free to look back through the 365 days of 2010 sunrises, but "a year of getting up to meet the day" is officially completed. There will be no more new posts.


Thank you so much for visiting.
A one year blog project in which I share a process of transitions: emptying of the nest, reacquainting with my rusty intellect, plowing onward with my first full length book, entering the second half of my first century, and generally reflecting on life.

(see Dec. 29th, 2009 entry for further explanation)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

depression - tropical and otherwise

sunrise:  4:52

"Once a group of thunderstorms has come together under the right atmospheric conditions for a long enough time, they may organize into a tropical depression."

So states a definition at a U of Illinois webpage.  The term has always sounded like mental illness to me.

The sky was a sickly, yellow-stained gray this morning.  Thunderstorms are predicted, and it almost seems as though I can feel them pressing heavily down on the lower atmosphere.  It brought the idea of a tropical depression into my mind.

My alarm this morning wrenched me out of a disturbing dream of captivity and heartbreak, all cloaked in uncertainty.  I couldn't shake my sense of weight and gloom for a long time after waking.  I have to believe that the state of the atmosphere influences people's dreams, and sometimes their whole state of mind.  It is one of the gathering conditions that, if coming together for a long enough time, may organize into a deep depression.

Yesterday there was a story in the Bangor Daily News about mental depression and suicide, including one woman's story of her husband's struggle with the disease that led to his death.  It is frightening, that dark place that sucks people down into themselves like an insidious whirlpool.  I have seen people battling the current, and I have teetered close enough to the edge to feel like I have some idea of where it leads. 

It is not easy to fight your way back out again.  Perceptions of the world, the same world that you saw through different eyes a short while back, all become sinister.

Instead of lifting you up, sunshine feels like an assault.  Rain is not cleansing, it is the world sobbing.  An overgrown grove transforms from cozy hideaway to claustrophobic prison. 

The gist of yesterday's article was a drive for more general awareness and open recognition of diseases like depression.  Even in today's more tolerant society, many hide mental illness in shame.  And many who are already deeply affected lack the ability to find a way out on their own.

We are all susceptible to the various conditions in the world and in the chemistry of our bodies that can lead us into that dark place.  Some of us have the good fortune to escape the worst of it.  The joyful energy of scampering dogs and a call to duty (Clara was sprayed by a skunk again) were enough to pull me from my funk this morning. 

But there are those who are burdened with the bad luck of seeing all of the wrong conditions organize together in the wrong way over a long period of time. 

It is an illness.  It can be treated.  You CAN get better.  Help is there; you just have to let it in.


  1. Deftly done! Reminds me of the classic British weather forecast when I was growing up there: "Cloudy with sunny intervals" which rather neatly describes a life with dysthymia occasionally lifted...

    I find that the older I get, the more affected I am by daily changes in the weather. It used to be that grey winter made me more gloomy, but these days I find that even one dark rainy day can reduce me to mush (unless something particularly busy or interesting distracts me). Is it a middle aged female thing? Or from being cooped up in a windowless cubicle deprived of natural light during work, so that my body overreacts to even slightly less light during the hours when I am free to rush outdoors...

  2. What a wonderful piece of work this is! Having a Doctor friend in Scotland who committed suicide from his depression and a daughter who struggled with post partum depression, I found your description and conclusion perfect. This piece needs to be published!