Flatter Than a Toad Frog…

 

…on a four-lane highway.

It’s mid-November and I’m cold…freezing in my fleece sweats.  I feel the cold deep in my bones and today was quite mild.  The cold days are long, but the nights are even longer.  The darkness fogs my brain and waterlogs my soul….even in the brightest sunlight.

It’s months before the days begin to lengthen…well, a month before the Winter Solstice.  I can’t be wishing my life away; I don’t have enough life left.  This is the winter before my seventieth year.  What is it?  Four scores and seven…and we are certainly not guaranteed that.

Mid-November and I’m flatter than a toad frog on a four-lane.  December, January, and February could be a test of my waning resolve.  My cornbread already ain’t done in the middle and maybe a gooey mess before I feel the winds of March.

There is absolutely no reason for me to be flat…well, I’ve been seeing Christmas decorations in stores since mid-August it seems.  It’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  I’m waiting on April Fool’s Day.  For some reason holidays are tough.

It’s five forty-three in the evening.  We have a small mountain range to our west. The sun disappeared a half-hour ago.  It is five-fifty now and darker than the inside of a cow.  I think I know why people went to bed and rose with the chickens…boredom.  I also know why old-timey farm families were huge.

I try to stay busy during the in-between time when it is too dark to do anything constructive and too early to go to bed.  I fill the time as best I can.  Obviously, I write badly, I read, I watch TV, I play online Scrabble, I click on Facebook…sometimes I do all at the same time, slowly flipping from one to the other and then back again.  Sometimes I catch myself simply staring off into space.  Everything in a dim, soft focus, wondering how long I’ve sat with my mind in neutral.

It’s part of my affliction.  I can’t seem to stay focused on any one thing.  I’m fragmented. If I didn’t know I was clinically depressed I’d swear I was suffering from ADD on steroids.  Anxiety?  I’m driving my wife to distraction.  When I’m not bouncing from thought to thought I have a desire to sleep but even my dreams are fragmented.  At night, when I do sleep, dreams are wild and in 3D.  Luckily that is all I remember.

“Are you listening to me?” she asked.  “I told you that five minutes ago.”  “How many times are you going to ask me that?”  “You sure are sleeping a lot.”  “I’m beginning to worry about you.”  Like you don’t have worries of your own.  I have no answers to her questions or her observations.

Clinical depression with a good dose of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I just searched Amazon for a Happy Light…I do spend too much time in the dark.  I should have been a vampire…or a mushroom.

What I hate most?  The depression strips you of the desire to be productive but not the guilt of failing productivity.  Like a vampire, it saps your energy upon rising from bed.  It is a thief stealing my joy and happiness.

The very idea of going for my morning walk triggers an argument with the voices screaming in my head.  Faceless voices screaming “Gooooo!  It will do you good!”  Other’s yelling, “Stayyyyy!  Keep your rear end in that recliner!”  That might be a wee embellishment or I’m actually crazier than even I thought.

Like many, I am high functioning.  I hide my sadness and anxiety from those around me.  I am the subject of Smokey Robinson’s opening lyrics from “Tracks of My Tears”, “People say I’m the life of the party ‘cause I tell a joke or two.  Although I might be laughing loud and hard, deep inside I’m blue.”  It is easier to share this with people I don’t know on a blog than to confess to those closest to me.

Time drags, sleep is fitful and dream-filled.  it is the next morning, exactly twelve hours since I began this pity party, and it is even darker than it was last night.  It seems an unexpected rain shower decided to make its way north and camp over my head.  I must have been playing Scrabble during last night’s weather report.

Over an hour before the official sunrise…add another fifteen minutes for Old Sol to climb above the ridge and its trees to the east.  I guess I will add gloomy to the darkness.  Hopefully, the front will get out soon enough to trigger my morning voices spatting over to walk or not to walk.  That is always the question.

The good news?  I haven’t given in yet.  The bad?  I so want to.  My resolve is eroding.  I want to take to my bed and suck on my thumb.  Instead, I will put on my shoes and begin the day putting one foot in front of the other.  I’ll put on my rain gear and be confident no one will see the “tracks of my tears.” I will battle with myself.  I will climb the hills and try to use music to drown out my voices.  Hopefully, the walk back will be easier, hopefully, the malaise will pass…as it does.

Don Miller’s author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

The image was from https://werunandride.com/2017/07/11/frogs-on-the-highway/ July 11, 2017

 

 

Winter…Sucks

 

It is still over a month away from the winter solstice… the darkness is oppressive.  Last night was thirteen hours, thirty-nine minutes and thirty seconds of rainy, cold darkness.  It seemed longer… I was awake for much of it.  I feel the darkness in my bones…in my soul.  Tonight, darkness will be a minute and a half longer than last.  I am already dreading it.

It’s not just the darkness, it is the angle of the sun, rising low in the southeastern sky and staying low, lower, lowest for the next…forever.  I never saw the sun yesterday and won’t see it today.  Wet, winter doldrums and it’s only the mid-way point in November.

The acronym SAD just doesn’t seem strong enough.  Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I don’t guess miserable fits…as an acronym.  “I have MISERABLE!”  Or WRETCHED…or DISMAL.  On top of my spurts of just plain depression.

I have inherited much from my Grandmother.  Love for growing tomatoes, reading, bird watching, and wildlife in general.  I also inherited her depression.  Gray days sitting, wishing, gazing out at the winter contemplating when the sun will return.  I remember her “blue.”  Wilting and turning brown like plants touched with a frost.  I also remember her blooming in the Spring.  Hope “springs” eternal.

I see people gaily dressed in ugly sweaters and hoodies.  Embracing pumpkin spice and reveling in falling leaves and bonfires.  Elves in red who can’t wait to get through Thanksgiving.

Give me the sun.  Give me the hot and humid weather with mosquitoes and thunderstorms, lightning bugs and hoot owls to chase the darkness away.  Give me the sun, long and high in the sky.

Daylight is finally upon me…its still raining so I can’t see the sun.  A gloomy day that I feel cutting deep.  I can’t seem to concentrate or sleep.  My wife may be in for a rough day.  I write, check social media, pick up a book and stare at pages without reading, walk around the fireplace and then do it all over again.  I have a book ending to complete…maybe in the spring…or the summer, when my mind is not so fragmented by the dark.

Don Miller’s author’s page can be accessed at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

Don Miller writing as Lena Christenson can be found at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B6BDD1

The image is from https://harrisrichard.com/tag/winter-sucks/