Where I live (the boonies at the Dutch-German border) this April has been exceptionally somber and cold so far, throwing in some frostbitten nights and even a hailstorm yesterday. Yes, the landscape is now getting green, beginning to show fresh leaves and even some first blossoms. Hesitantly. Real spring, that appeared to be on its way in March, stubbornly fails to arrive. When occasionally there is sun, it’s a kind of watery, weak, wintery sun.
I can tell you I’ve taken to something I normally never do: visiting weather websites almost every day. I keep looking at next week’s forecast with the same hopeful expectancy that will get lottery subscribers to check the lottery’s website time and again. It doesn’t look good yet. No prize coming any time soon.
Does this bad weather make me more depressed? Yes, to be honest it does. I can only hope that when the weather will finally get better – maybe not until May – I will begin to feel better myself again, too.
The interaction between this kind of weather and one’s own mood is a typical example of how depression can reinforce itself. Often, there’s a kind of downward spiral at work here. Depression can make you overly sensitive to your surroundings: when there’s somberness around you, you somehow suck it in and that gloominess becomes almost like a part of yourself. This can make you more depressed; and in turn that will make you even more sensitive to your somber environment, and that will… yes, produce an ongoing downward spiral.
Is there a way to stop such a spiral?
If there is, I must say I’ve not really found it. One way would of course be to shield yourself from your environment. But this is often not wise, because this can reinforce your depression in other ways.
In my case, I could for example try to ignore the bad weather by concentrating on other things – such as staring at my computer screen still more than I already do (instead of going out, or looking out of the window). But this means intensifying some kind of isolation: and that’s really not a good thing to do when you feel depressed.
Any alternative solutions?
Some of my friends keep telling me I should concentrate on those blossoms that have already appeared, looking out-of-place in this bad weather but still bravely defying all the wind, cold and rain. Well, this is easily said but frankly, I don’t feel this really helps. In my depressed mood, those blossoms make the weather feel only worse, more cruel.
Maybe the best option is resignation, strengthened by the certainty that, even if it’ll take many more weeks, eventually spring is bound to arrive. Reminding oneself that this stretch of bad weather is only a temporary setback that, endless as it may seem, will not last forever. If this is a kind of lottery, then it is a lottery that we’re sure to win at some point in time, right?
In the meantime, there’s also a different kind of blossom: the first lone fly has already arrived in my living room again. I guess it’s happy to have found shelter from the biting cold outside. Maybe I should also see it as a buzzing, stray messenger of better times ahead…
– For the moment, here is a great guitarist to help us get through: Little Toby Walker with a song from his 2002 album Back in the Groove. For more about him and his music, go to his Toby Walker website.
Click the “Play” button to hear him with his Bad Weather Blues:
(if the player does not work, install Flash)
• tip: I’m not sure if there’s a general lesson here. Decide for yourself.
• note: I’d like to remind you that the sidebar has an option to subscribe:
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Shall we agree I’ll alert you when spring has arrived?