The Gray

Today I took a walk with Dylan, and I am so glad I did.

We squeezed it in, forced it into the tiny space of time between the end of cleaning up from lunch and the moment when D self-destructs without warning, in need of a nap.

I am glad I forced it.

Why?

Because I can feel the Northwestern winter creeping up on us all too soon and it’s freaking me out.

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We had a few days of gray and rain and coolness already, and I hoped that we hadn’t said goodbye to summer already.  At this time last year, I remember it still being quite hot, or is that just me seeing through the foggy, thick pea soup of having a newborn and carrying around the extra heat-producing baby weight and wanting sleep so badly I’d do something illegal to get it…?

I can handle the depressive gray for a few days here and there.  And when I know it’s only temporary, then I actually like a change of pace where the weather’s concerned (of course, then my therapist self reminds me that everything is temporary if you give it enough time….so there).  Last Sunday I actually started to feel that twinge of excitement and coziness that I get around Halloweentime.  It makes me want to throw on a sweater, watch movies, and consume warm, sugary beverages (as opposed to the warm months, which make me want to consume cool, sugary beverages).

This will be my third winter but only my second fall in the Northwest.  This year, approaching Fall and Winter feels different.  Last year, I had a snuggly newborn and I was overwhelmed and tired and had a great excuse not to go anywhere or see anyone.  I didn’t get dressed, and I breastfed and cuddled and snoozed and rocked and bounced and sang and ate and watched TV.  Yeah, the weather sucked, but I was too wrapped up in my own personal ball of crazy – each gray day blending into the next – that I didn’t notice.  Or maybe it was that the gray backdrop matched my gray days and so everything seemed to fit.

But now – now I have a kid on the verge of walking.  He wants to MOVE.  And go outside and see things and explore.  And as for me, I want a life, too.  Seeing the world through his eyes also makes me want to go outside and see things and explore.  But the weather.  The gray.  That makes it hard.  It’s like The Nothing from The Never Ending Story.  Sounds a bit dramatic, but I assure you, Seasonal Affective Disorder is real and it sucks.  I have to push through it and I am not looking forward to pushing.

Which reminds me why I pushed to get outside and walk today.  Because it was SO NICE outside.  It was beautiful, and for that I am very thankful.  School was just letting out, and I enjoyed getting to see all the littles getting picked up by their parents who love them.  Dylan and I watched and I told him that’ll be us in 4 short years.

Four very short gray winters from now.

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10 responses

  1. Pingback: We Get To Keep The Sky | Psychobabble

  2. I missed almost all of this PNW summer and that is both a bummer, and because of wonderful things… so, sigh. But, I do love fall and enjoy an occasional rainy day. I’m going to try to squeeze as much good out of these last golden days, and then hope that gray means more productivity inside… cause man, I need it! But yes, take as many walks as you can… I sure will be!

  3. I understand how tough winters can be for those who aren’t used to them, or who are affected by SAD. The last two winters I lived in Seattle caused me to be the most miserable I’ve ever been.

    If the winter really does wear on you, try getting a light therapy lamp. There are also things called dawn simulators which mimic the sun’s natural rising (something I sorely miss in the winter). Also, you can always call me! Even if it’s overcast and cold, sometimes just getting out helps.

  4. I hate winter, and start dreading it right after 4th of July is over…. one day, I’m going to move away from gray, and I won’t look back. Until then, I’m definitely enjoying the fact that we are sweltering in September, because I had to turn my heat on once in August already :( I’ve heard tanning beds help with SAD, I’ve never done it. I can tell you a trip to sunny Las Vegas is pretty amazing when you haven’t seen the sun, or a blue sky for weeks at a time…I’m already planning our winter get-away :)

    • I’d definitely try one of those natural light lamps. And on the winter days when it is sunny, I’ll roll up my sleeves and go stand in the sun, even if I feel cold, just to get some vitamin D synthesizing.

  5. SAD is real, and I suffer from it. When i spent a winter in Vienna Austria, pregnant with my first, I had a hard time. Of course it was hard to say which was worse, bring pregnant, being homesick, all the damn vinegar in their food or the weather.

    • Absolutely. We moved out of state (from CA to OR) in the winter when I was 8 weeks pregnant and didn’t have health insurance. Same for me – it was rough and a bunch of things were causing my distress.

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