Sunday, September 3, 2017

Here Comes the Sun

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
~George Harrison (The Beatles)

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
~Anatole France

If you listen closely enough, you’ll begin to realize that your life has a soundtrack. Think about it. I’ll bet there are certain songs that have kind of followed you around throughout your life.

Here comes the sun is one of the songs on my soundtrack. I often hear this song following a period when life has knocked me down a little bit. And there’s a bit of a literal connotation as well. As a long time sufferer of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I love the message of hope that the song conveys.

Even the worst winters have to end sometime.

Most recently, I heard the song while sitting in a bar on the gorgeous Riverwalk in San Antonio. I was on a great vacation, spending time with my family, and seeing some amazing things.

And yet that particular night I was feeling down. I was thinking of my vacation coming to an end, and thinking how little time I had with my mother now that I lived overseas, and a little tired from a very active vacation.

And then I heard my song! Here comes the sun. It was exactly what I needed in that moment, and I sang along with every word and then gave the singer a big tip. It was the perfect song to return me to the present moment. The only place I needed or wanted to be.

But in working with clients for a decade now, and in battling with my own issues over the years, I’ve learned the hard way that some winters last longer than others. Some of the seasons of our lives can be very stubborn, and we begin to lose hope that anything can ever change. But go back to your hometown some time and take a look around. I’ll bet you everything has changed. That’s the way life is. We never see the changes in a day but are often astounded by the changes over the years.

But in these dark seasons, we can learn to alter our responses. One of the most effective treatments for depression is something called behavioral activation. It sounds like a fancy psychological idea. It’s not. It’s basically a term for “doing stuff.” Even when we don’t feel like it. Join a group. Take a guitar lesson. Get together with some friends once a week for coffee. It’s amazing how even one little circle on a calendar can restore a little hope. For me, I ALWAYS have a trip planned. Even if it’s a little one. It reminds me that better times are ahead and that I have something to look forward to.

Sometimes it’s hard to see things clearly though. You try meds, and therapy, and exercise, and gluten free brownies and just about anything else to try and beat the blues. But it doesn’t work. None of it works. And sometimes this is because the only thing that really alleviates depression is time. The passage of time regulates seasons in the mind much like it regulates the seasons of the earth. Dark moods don’t last forever. Neither do great ones. Such is the transitory nature of time, life, moods, and seasons.

When we can accept and understand this, we can deal with it.

Even in the darkest of seasons.

And meanwhile back in the Southern Hemisphere, the first day of spring has just arrived. It’s been a long, cold, lonely, winter.

But here comes the sun.

And I say.

It’s alright….

1 comment:

nroe said...

Joe, this is beautiful and just what I needed to read today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The picture is spectacular.
Nancy Roe