It's the Solstice, the darkest, longest night of the year. After this, the days will get longer. But it will be harder to see as it will be stormy. We've had the first major snowstorm of the Winter and two days ago it wasn't even Winter. But it's still a foot of snow on the ground.
Why the song? It seems a tad incongruous, except when you realize that Winston Churchill referred to depression as The Black Dog.
And so I am trying to shut my door to the beast.
It is not some cuddly Poodle or Lab. It's a beast. And I don't want it this year.
My main effort has been in trying to get outside. While I have a small all-spectrum light, I'd rather be outside. This has meant walking/jogging when the streets have been all right, and yesterday it was an hour and a half (this was accomplished in two shifts) of snow shoveling. I'll go to the gym today and then tomorrow there will be more shoveling. Even though it's cold, even though it's a chore, I'd just rather be outside and exerting myself.
There's a topic here on Spark, and it's one of those major ones, and it asks how people can get up and out there in the bad weather. Well, the answer is, you just do it. If you had to go to a doctor's appointment, or catch a train, you'd get up and you'd go. You'd put on a sweater or grab an umbrella or boots or whatever. It would be less than perfectly pleasant but you would still perform the task. So why is it so difficult for so many to just get up and do it if the skies are less than perfectly sunny? And, in particular, for people who are going to a gym anyway, what is it about the weather that leads to such a -- let's face it -- LAME excuse for not moving the squishy parts and making them less, well, squishy?
It is depression, and I suspect that depression and obesity are bastard step-twins. You eat because you feel unworthy and unlovable. You lay in bed with the covers over your head and mourn the fact that you can't exercise, all while, miraculously, surprise surprise, NOT exercising. You look at yourself in the mirror, or on a scale, and think you're a failure. So you're unlovable and unworthy and so you grab the ice cream and get into bed and think about how no one understands you and how awful it is and oh poor you and look the weather stinks and those grey skies are an omen, they are telling you that you'll never get there, you'll never get it right, and it's all for naught and we're all going to that great vale of tears anyway so why not have another piece of pie?
Or you can smack the black dog with a newspaper on its nasty snout. Get up anyway. Put away the ice cream (and not by cramming it into your mouth). Go out and walk, or shovel, or get in your car and go to a gym or a mall and get yourself moving that way. And drink water instead of an ice cream soda and look at yourself in the mirror or on the scale and say, hey, I may not be perfect but that doesn't mean I'm not worthy. It doesn't mean that no one can or will ever love me. People have before, and they will again, and they might even -- they probably even -- do right now. And I'm not going to let them down. I'm going to get out and do it, and make better choices and treat myself the way I want to be treated by others.
And maybe those red-shining eyes will be beacons in the darkness for someone else, and you can lead them out of that cave as well. And one day you'll look up, and that grey stuff will be gone. Because, you see, the paradox of Winter is that it starts off dark and dreary but even under the dark and drear it is getting better. There are tiny shoots under there, just waiting for a combination of sun and rain and temperature. There is light up there, too, above the clouds. And when the clouds part and the ground begins to thaw, you'll see it, too, and the beast will be tamed. And you, yes, YOU, will have done the taming.