Thursday, January 14, 2010

Paddling The Blue Canoe In Winter

Yesterday there were three strange men in my car. They weren't strange in the sense that I didn't know them, as I knew all three of them very well. In fact, I knew one of them, the driver, as well as I've ever known anyone. One man sat in the passenger seat, one in the back seat behind the passenger, and the other one was the

During our drive I heard the backseat passenger mention the word 'depression' and I pounced on it like a pet tiger. I'm always on the hunt for new blog topics, and depression seems to be rampant these days, so why not ask a few questions.

One of my passengers claimed that he typically became depressed around the end of February when he had become sick and tired of winter. He said that this year it was coming on early. His 'cure' for seasonal depression was to keep busy and/or travel somewhere warm.

My other passenger claimed to get depressed every December when the daylight was at its lowest. He has yet to discover a remedy, so he just suffers through December until the days supposedly get longer on the twenty-first. It's more of a symbolic victory on the equinox as it's still miserably dark out, even before the afternoon soaps are done. It isn't until mid January that we notice that it's light outside at 5 p.m.. It's a small victory, but a victory nevertheless.

Typically I'm bummed out in November and December. Most of my beloved summer pursuits come to a screeching halt in November. The autumn leaves lay brown beneath my feet. The bare branches above echo the feeling in my heart...stripped. The cold and the dark come early and last far too long. This year I escaped the blues/blahs by making a concerted effort to keep busy, travel, be productive, and creative. It also didn't hurt that November's weather was unusually glorious. Weather, it would seem, is the root of many of our feelings of discontent.

This autumn/winter I made a conscious effort to keep busy with challenging projects that cover new ground, and it seems to have worked. This late autumn was the best I've had in recent memory. My memory sucks, but who cares? I feel happy.

I asked another friend about his feelings on depression. He said that he keeps too busy to get depressed. I wouldn't suggest that keeping busy is the cure for depression or the blues, but it worked for him and it works for me, at least in my limited non-clinical study.

Do you ever feel depressed? I think most people get a taste for it at some point in their lives. I don't know much about depression as I'm more of an armchair philosopher than a chaise lounge psychologist (though, come to think of it, I do own a chaise). I think for some people it would be good to be busier than they might normally choose. By that I mean busy in a creative or physical way...I'm not talking about bringing files home from work. That doesn't sound like therapy.

I'm learning how to play the guitar. It fills a void that needs filling. I've also invested my time and energies in some home projects that are creative. Do I know what I'm doing? Hmmm....just barely, and that's what makes life exciting. If I knew how to do all this stuff then I'd likely be bored and depressed.

Funnily enough, even the blog is therapeutic. I start every morning with a blank page, and sometimes a blank stare, then I begin to craft something that's never been done before. It's cheaper than coffee and it doesn't stain my teeth. Like Martha says, it's a good thing.

What might you do to paddle your blue canoe to a more interesting place? Give it some thought.

1 comment:

  1. 24 hours in a day ... 24 beers in a case ... coincidence?

    Don't worry about it, depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.