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Archive for February, 2015

I went to high school and earned my undergraduate degree in Northern Ontario, Sudbury, to be specific.  My first full-time career involved a move to Timmins.  I lived there for five years…and decided that once and for all, I’m not a fan of winter.  I don’t have anything against the season…it’s the bitter cold with which I struggled.  So I moved back to Southwestern Ontario where winter doesn’t seem to last as long as in the north and the temperatures are more moderate.

Or at least, they used to be.

This winter has been one of the coldest I can remember.  It feels like it’s been weeks since I could walk outside without my nostrils freezing.  And that’s not a pretty image, I don’t care who you are.  Whenever I take my hat off my hair stands up like some kind of deranged science experiment.  At night when the dogs come to tuck me in, there’s little blue flashes of light as they shock each other and me.

In short, I’m sick of my lovely red car being coated in icky white grossness that is a combination of slush, ice, salt and crud. I am ready for the days to get longer and the sun to be warmer.  I’m tired of snow blindness giving me a headache when I’m driving into the city.

I was in Florida the first week in December and it was lovely, albeit very humid.  It’s less humid in Southwestern Ontario, but when the thermometer gets to -20 or colder, let’s just call it “unbearable” and call it a cold day.  There were times when schools were closed in Timmins because school buses couldn’t start.  When exposed skin would freeze in seconds.  When your pets would not play outside, only relieve themselves.  It wasn’t fun then, and it isn’t fun now.

So please, Mother Nature, if you’re listening, could you please work your magic and bring us spring?

Thanks!

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For me, depression is a blanket.  Not a freshly-washed, clean and cozy blanket, but a threadbare, smelly, can’t bear to part with it long enough to wash it blanket.  A large security blanket.  It can wrap around me, keep me warm and once I’m snuggled under I don’t really want to take it off.

I’m embarrassed to show anyone the blanket because it looks disgusting, but it is my sanctuary, so I keep it all to myself.  My blanket is never too far away.  Sometimes I sit with it on my lap, or stroke it while being near it.  Sometimes I wrap it around my shoulders, and then take it off when I get too warm.  Other times I cocoon myself inside of it, and don’t come out for days, despite the smell.

I love my blanket, it’s been with me for years.  I know I should, at the very least, wash it, but I’m afraid to.  Eventually I work up the courage to wash it and while it smells much better, and feels softer, there’s something missing from it.  As though when I washed it, some of the agony washed away and I’m left with a kind of hollow feeling.

Depression is many things, and for someone suffering, it can be comforting.  The place is familiar.  The feelings hurt, but are recognisable.  It’s dark in my cocoon, but I know where I am and that’s worth something, right?  Well-meaning friends try to “snap me out” of it.  If only it were that easy.  If only it were a matter of saying “alright, enough of this”.  But it’s not.  There are days when I have to talk myself into having a shower, of getting dressed, of cutting my toenails.  Some days I am successful in those things, and other days, not so much.  So I cancel appointments, push off what’s on my already overflowing plate and hide.

Sleep can help.  And usually does.  But when the body hits that point where it doesn’t need sleep anymore and I wake up feeling exhausted but not rested, that’s when panic sets in.  What if I never sleep again?  What if I never feel better? What will get me out of this horrible, scary place?  Are you there God?  How about a sign?

And so I get up, get dressed, come downstairs, make some tea.  I feel unsteady and frightened, but I make it through.  In moments of depression time moves very slowly.  Sleeping through it can make it more bearable, but eventually you have to get up.  People are depending on me, I have a homily to write.

And then the sun rises inside and its going to be alright.  Folks comment on how good you look, how flattering that dress fits, and you feel good.  The blanket is still there, but it’s tucked out of sight.  It’s not going anywhere and that gives comfort.

The blanket may be threadbare and faded.  But it holds years full of secrets.  It holds the place securely where the darkness comes and to where the darkness can return.  We carry those blankets with us and sometimes we set them down and leave them be.  Never far from thoughts, never far from touch.  Standing, as a sentry, ready to cover and comfort us when the world feels too much.

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