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