Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter’s Day Reflections

I often wonder if the overcast gloom of a wintry day is the mental trigger for reflections centered on personal failures, mistakes in relationships, and speculations about doing better in the future.

Scientists call extended periods of this mental depressive condition SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and link it to a person’s mental response to the quality of sunlight present within the season pertinent to the individual.

This condition came to my attention back in the eighties when studies in Sweden indicated that higher winter suicide rates were linked to the reduction in overall sunlight. At that time specific light therapies were developed to deal with the thousands of cases of this condition. Later, deficiencies in Vitamin D were suspected to exacerbate the depression.

You may be wondering why this comes up now. It’s because of the blogging challenge that I’m doing over on my Wordpress site. Diving into continual thoughts of family members, happenings, situations, etc. brings plenty of baggage with it. Reliving emotionally charged memories isn’t easy at the best of times.

Memoir writers probably suffer this roller-coaster ride every hour of the day while organizing, drafting, and writing a complete manuscript. When a writer opens that door to the past, she might as well brace herself for the tsunami of all those things tagged with highly conflicted emotions.

Psych therapists call this process “cathartic.” So far, I haven’t found it to be particularly therapeutic.

Certain images continue to bring tears, rage, sadness, or what-have-you. There’s no sense of closure about the event. There’s no feeling of resolution or healing surrounding this mulling over of people in one’s personal history.

Perhaps my problem stems from a fear that if any of that emotion is released to float away on the breeze, nothing will be left behind and all memory of those people, places, experiences will be lost forever, leaving behind only a gaping hole needing to be refilled with something else. Could that be it?

Or, could it be that I’m just too stubborn to give up those bits of myself that taught me, soothed me, made me into who I am today. Do you think that might be it?

Let me ask you. When it’s bright and sunny outside, regardless of season, do you feel more cheerful, perkier, more alive? Do gloomy skies put you in “reflection mode” and if so, would you let go of all those memories irrevocably so that you didn’t have to relive them periodically?

Leave your reply, comment, perspective here. Tell me how you deal with winter blues. Until later,


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