Day 473: Depressed/Happy

Today’s title refers to another human dichotomy/continuum we all encounter. Examples of these:

Bad/Good.

Connected/Isolated.

Trusting/Not Trusting.

Difficult/Easy.

To battle our human tendency for all-or-nothing (or black-and-white) thinking, I find it helpful to identify dialectical experiences like these, recognizing they are much more than opposites —  they are also ranges of experiences. We are rarely just one OR the other. Instead, we are on a scale,  shifting up and down, as circumstances and our internal experiences change.

Yesterday’s dichotomy/range of experience (although it wasn’t in the title of the post, “M” words)  was Messy/Neat. Today’s is Depressed/Happy.

Since I often second-guess my writing (among other things), I’ve considered replacing the first word in today’s title with “Sad.”  I think the title is good enough, though.

So what did I want to tell you about “Depressed/Happy” today?

Well, we are in the middle of April, a month I SHOULD be happy, joyful, and ecstatic to encounter. Don’t you think so … considering how much I complain about winter?

However, I am not alone in encountering complicated reactions to April. As I’ve mentioned before, April has been called the “cruellest month  (by the poet T. S. Eliot in The Wasteland).

Image

(I found this image here)

What makes April — the rebirth of nature after the extended “death” of winter in these here parts* — so friggin’ cruel?

Well, when we are dealing with painful situations AND bad weather, at least we can hope that the advent of spring will bring some measure of relief, making things more bearable. However, once spring begins and beautiful days start to occur, what if we DON’T feel better?  Then, we no longer have the weather to blame;  and that can feel much, much worse.

Sure enough, statistics on suicide indicate that most suicides take place in spring.

springtime is usually referred to as “suicide season” because psychologists believe that spring “signifies rebirth or a change in circumstance for the better and when they find that nothing is getting better in their own lives.”[3]

— Wikipedia entry on “Seasonal effects on suicide.”

My beloved springtime: the cruellest season.

I’ve been dealing with my own depressed/happy range of feelings, since the advent of April.  Granted, many of my visits to the lower part of that continuum have to do with my personal encounters with illness and some losses/uncertainties at work.

Indeed, I have been experiencing something quite unusual for me: some actual moments of dread of the warmer weather.

Arrrghh!   Not THAT, Ann!  Not after this AWFUL winter.

I repeat, Arrghhh!!

I think I know what the remedies for my malady are, right now:

  • Getting outside, once I recover more from pneumonia.
  • Getting some required and appropriate springtime personal protective equipment. In other words, I need a few important pieces of seasonally appropriate clothes.   While I won’t need all the paraphernalia of winter protection, I still have to FIND ONE PAIR OF JEANS THAT FRIGGIN’ FIT ME (and a few other necessary items**).
  • Accepting what I am feeling, rather than focusing on what I SHOULD be feeling.

Here’s something I want to say about the other side of today’s continuum: Happy.

You may know that “Happy” is the title of a song that is EVERYWHERE right now, by Pharrell Williams.

Image

(I found this image here)

The song is a phenomenon.  It seems to be striking some sort of primal chord.  I have great respect for such explosions in popular culture — I think they’re important. I think they have something to show us, to teach us.

Perhaps you assume that I may now speculate a bit about the social relevance, importance, and learning opportunities inherent in Pharrell Williams’s mega-hit.

Nah.

However, I will tell you this: Earlier today, I discovered the site for his 24-hour video of this song, where you can find  a continual display of people singing and dancing “Happy”  throughout L.A. (as far as I can tell), synched to the time where you’re watching.

Since I’m not explaining this very well, you can check this out for yourself at 24hoursofhappy.com. I mean, why should I be alone in my visits there, people?

Just so you know, the song at that site has been playing the entire time I’ve been writing this post.

It makes me happy, to

  • hear that song and
  • see lots of people singing and dancing in public, since that has been (more and more, as I have travelled up the continuum of self-consciousness/confidence) my exercise of choice (before I got ill).

Now,***I can authentically write  that I am looking forward to getting out there, in the warming April weather, no matter how I’m feeling (or how capable I am of singing or dancing).

I just have one question:  What DOES it mean to feel like a room without a roof?

Well, I know this: It’s SOMEWHERE on the continuum of Depressed/Happy, that’s for sure.

Thanks to T. S. Eliot, to Pharrell Williams, to people who feel like a room without a roof, to those who feel like happiness is the truth, to my readers who know what happiness is to you, to everyone clapping along because that’s what they want to do, and to you — of course! — for dancing by here today.


* These here parts = The Northern Hemisphere

** Most importantly, I need things I can wear on my legs that are (1) professional and (2) comfortable. WHY IS THIS ALWAYS SO DIFFICULT? Granted, I have found the solution for the fall and winter months: all-cotton tights. What IS the solution for springtime?

*** Friday, 4/18/14, 4:13 AM Eastern

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

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41 thoughts on “Day 473: Depressed/Happy

  1. Have a happy weekend! I have never heard the Pharrell, so off to find it now. And I too am a bit disappointed to have the beautiful spring (and April in particular) be know to be such a depressing month. I would have guessed February. Cheers!

    • Hey, Randall! I wonder how long it took to extricate yourself from hanging out with all those happy, dancing, and singing people (including Pharrell himself around the top of every hour). Thank you for your cheery visit.

      • Ha, ha…I’m still dancing away 🙂

      • Cool! Me, too!

      • This is now my favorite song…I wish I could be in the video, because it is such a great, great song. Thank you for the introduction!

      • You are most welcome! Your reaction is a gift to me, Randall.

      • Hey, Randall! Here’s Pharrell performing your new favorite song at the Oscars last month — my first time hearing it and such fun!

      • That is a great video. I don’t know much about Pharrell, but I did catch him on the Beatles Tribute a couple months ago and he immediately got my respect for that 🙂 Cheers!

  2. I didn’t know that info about suicides in the Spring. Not surprised, I guess. And I’m almost ashamed to admit that I don’t know about the song “Happy.” Last winter turned me into a hermit, out of touch with everything. That being said, I’m off to listen to it.

    • There is no shame in not knowing, believe me, Ally. Like with Dalo, above, I’m wondering how long you hung around at that site. I am finding it very infectious and healing, seeing all those people dancing and singing like that. Perhaps that’s because I’m somewhat of a shut-in, right now. So it’s especially freeing to remember dancing and singing around my local streets, simply not caring what other people are thinking. Soon, I hope to be out there, again. Thanks for the visit and the comment, Ally!

  3. Ann, I love this post — because I agree with it! 🙂 There is always the dichotomy of the continuum — we are not all good, all bad, all happy, all sad. We are all and all is present — and I too did not know about Spring. Oh my!

    Thanks for the insight, the not so good news (I also think it’s because April in some parts right now are winter and spring all messed up into lingering snow!) the uplift and the hope.

    Hugs

    • Thanks, Louise! You know, I’m realizing that I’m also feeling some guilt right now, that I’m not available to my patients during what can be a particularly challenging time. Here in Boston, we’re also dealing with the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, which can bring up some difficult feelings for people. Well, there’s nothing I can do about my being unavailable right now. The best I can do is to heal as quickly as possible, return, and be as present as I can be. Thanks for your comment, which helped me get in touch with that insight!

  4. Okay, I have this song running in my head now…
    “Here is a little song I wrote
    You might want to sing it note for note
    Don’t worry be happy
    In every life we have some trouble
    When you worry you make it double
    Don’t worry, be happy……” (“Don’t Worry Be Happy” sung by Bobby McFerrin)

    Ann, may this silly song keep you swung to the brighter side of this dichotomous April funk. You are loved. 🙂
    Blessings,
    Mel

    • I wouldn’t call that song “silly”, Mel! Before I heard “Happy” for the first time during the Academy Awards show last month, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” was my default, cheer-yourself-up song that would start playing in my head when I needed it. Thank you so much for this loving, lovely comment.

      • Well, then it’s an appropriate song for the occasion. Have a wonderfully refreshing day. You deserve it after what you’ve been through lately. 🙂

  5. It kinda depresses me how easily this post makes me happy.

  6. I’ve always found March and April difficult – I thought it was just me being a miserable b*****!! Spending time outside does help.

    • Annabelle! Please don’t label yourself that way! (Unless it gives you pleasure and a sense of power.) March and April are difficult for a LOT of people, believe me. I hope you get to spend time outside soon. Thanks for the visit!

  7. I loved this post, Ann! And I’d never heard that song before, so now I am enjoying the guy with the knee scooter doing the sidewalk dance.

    I have been feeling happy/depressed too, and now I’m more happy than depressed because it turns out there’s a treatable cause for the depressed feeling and even though if I wasn’t feeling depressed I’d feel totally depressed about the medical problem, since I’m already depressed I feel kind of happy.

    Now that I’ve proven how insightful and articulate I am (not), I can answer your question (What DOES it mean to feel like a room without a roof?) with another question: “What DOES it mean when the bread of affliction has a chocolatey coating?”)

    • (I am sure that the answer to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” is in there somewhere. In edible form anyway.)

      Thank you for lifting my springtime depression with that great, bouncy song

      • Oh! My pleasure. Thank you for lifting my spirits with TWO COMMENTS!! I may start referring to days as one-sofa, two-sofa or (very rare and therefore even more cherished) three-sofa days! (Sort of like a three-dog night, but different.)

        When I saw you were heading toward the matzoh-chocolate continuum, I had to take this picture:
        chocolate matzoh

        I agree with you about the meaning of life.

  8. I think in Pharrell’s world, to feel like a room without a roof means that there’s nothing up there to stop his spirits from soaring. Maybe. If I had a hat like he does, I’d have an extra bounce in my step, too, Ann. I hope you move more toward that end of the continuum as your recovery escalates. Happy weekend.

    • Hey, Mark. I’m watching Pharrell right now (he shows up on the hour, each time) (he’s extremely consistent … like you!) and he’s just wearing a baseball cap, turned backwards. He’s soaring just fine with that. Thanks for the helpful explanation and for the rest of this great comment.

  9. Oh, that is the best, most delicious-looking chocolate dessert of affliction ever. For true gourmands.

    • When Passover was approaching, my son specifically asked for the chocolate and caramel covered matzoh at Whole Foods. It’s a new recipe this year and not as good, but definitely good enough (it’s all gone now).

  10. So… suffering from pneumonia and The Cruelest Month-itis, you still managed to find your son’s favourite chocolate-caramel matzoh and pick some up before it ran out? You are the best mom.

    I would send you ten pounds of chocolate-covered sunflower seeds but I’m afraid that they wouldn’t get past your cats. One of them looks like he’s very fond of chocolate.

  11. Thanks for sharing the link I will go check it out. Wishing you lots of happy in during the remainder of April. Hugs

    • Comments and hugs definitely make me happy! I hope you enjoyed the link. I keep going there, to see who is dancing.

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