April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”
― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
Dear Mr. Eliot I think you are brilliant. I love Murder in a Cathedral and Four Quartets and Lovesong For J Alfred and all that. I think you are so brilliant that I don’t understand you half the time. But one thing I can relate to fully is your dread of the long winter and the hope you have for Spring. I too long for Spring and think about your Cruel month when I see the first crocus pop through the earth. My guess is you often feared utter annihilation while you spoke of cruel winters, but a cruel winter can at times feel like an annihilation of sorts for me.
This winter in the United Stats has been cruel to say the least. However, it is not even the middle of March so I do hope your brilliant prediction of of a Cruel April was off by a month.
Winter for someone who has Seasonal Affective is a Slog through a personal wasteland. I often feel like two different people. I am my summer self and my winter self. I dont usually like my winter self and I wait expectantly for spring. The wait can sometimes be very cruel indeed.
“And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
Anyway, I am not one to lie down and take it! I have been learning how to fight my FRIEND depression for about ten years now. Some of my weapons, which are certainly less globally destructive than what Mr. Eliot was afraid of, but suit my purpose are: Exercise, Using a Light Box, Good healthy food, Good Sleep, Being around positive people, Practicing gratitude, patience, love, acceptance, forgiveness, and grace. Being a giving person, and Im not going to rule out my Fish Oil either.
You will notice I did not mention antidepressants. I know that they work for some people. Sadly they did not work for me. I tried about three or four different ones until I decided that they are not working for me. Is it possible I did not try them long enough? Sure. But I needed relief now, not a year from now, and so did my family so I started trying a bunch of other things.
Self help, and therapy helped too! I will say that I have learned some cues and some triggers as well. When I am feeling ignored (comes from being the baby in the family), and when I am aware that I am being self critical that I am in a danger area for me and old Mr Saggy Pants himself, also known as Seasonal Depression, can strike up a foothold.
Anyone with depression needs to learn from their ” friend” depression to see what he or she is trying to tell you about how and why he or she is there. Im sure I have more to learn but I think I have a decent start.
So I will leave you with more of winter from Mr. Eliot and here is to an Inspiring Spring when we can muse about Walt Whitman and think of some Leaves of Grass instead 🙂
“Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow”