I am an author who focuses on faith and mental health issues, particularly depression/anxiety, and fluctuating moods. My blog, goodthoughtsgoodlives.com, also focuses on these issues with a little DIY thrown in now and then for some relief.
It’s almost November. For some of you that doesn’t mean much. Here in Michigan, it means less and less daylight. Season Affective Disorder is very real here. November first means it will be dark by about 6:00 PM. Yikes!
It’s hard to maintain a positive attitude when dark clouds seemed stalled over our heads and there’s a lot of stuff going on.While there is a break in the clouds on occasion, mostly it’s overcast. God seems to have spread a gray sheet between Him and us.
Would you agree we all have days like that? Sometimes a number of them in a row. We’re not clinically depressed. We don’t need medication. We don’t need therapy. We just need a break from the unrelenting cloud-covered days.
I find when I’m under grey clouds it helps to remember their transient nature. Even today as I write the sky overhead can’t seem to make up its mind. Will the clouds be given permission to part so the sun can shine through or will they remain huddled together in a solid mass?
I find I respond two ways to the dark clouds. If I’m already having a contemplative day, I might actually prefer clouds. I think you know what I mean. There’s something that appeals to us when the sky matches our mood.
It’s like friends. When we’re in the dumps we usually seek friends whom we know will try to match our moods in their manner of speech, and choice of words. They don’t need to be feel down themselves, they just need to not be too cheerful. No pep talks, just listening ears.
Sometimes a pep talk is needed but not in a” rah, rah, cheerleader mode. I try to make sure I act appropriately as well when I’m the one listening. Something I experienced a few years ago brought that home to me very vividly.
I was facilitating a meeting at church of a committee I chaired. It was a group of volunteers who counseled those in our who church who were going through difficult times. I mentioned how blessed I felt. I later learned that one person in the group took offense, feeling I was insinuating I was somehow “better” because I was saying I felt blessed.
At first I couldn’t understand how anyone could so misconstrue my remarks. But later I learned that this person was feeling anything but blessed. He was going through some rough times. To someone who wasn’t feeling very blessed himself, my remarks must have felt like cold water splashed in his face.
I’ve since learned to be careful how I share the good things. I try to remember that while my clouds have moved for the time being, someone else’s clouds may have just shown up. I wished I had been able to talk to this person and tell him that, like him, I had certainly been under some dark clouds in my own life.
If I’ve planned a day to stay inside and pursue a creative project, I kind of like gray days. But if I’m feeling really down, I don’t want the gray clouds; I want the sun. I want something to interrupt my mood and cheer me up.
When the grayness isn’t welcome, I remind myself that clouds, because they are clouds, eventually move. (Of course, if you live in Michigan as I do, you might have to wait weeks, not days.) But if I keep putting one foot in front of the other the sun eventually does break through. My mood gets better. I see things more clearly. It’s just the unrelenting nature of life. All we have to do is look above us and wait for the sky to change.