I was in that strange place in-between wakefulness and sleep when a memory surfaced in my mind. Let me give the reason for posting this article at this time as well as a little backstory.
The winter months, the less daylight time, has a way of exacerbating depression and mood disorders for a lot of people. It even has a psychiatric term and diagnosis: Seasonal Affective Disorder. Not ironically, the acronym is “SAD.” Even though it’s said to be more common in women, some men suffer from this as well.
My upbringing wasn’t a good one and I was depressed. Looking back, I should have been diagnosed or at least in counseling. I had a habit of walking with my head down, looking at the ground, not looking around at whatever was happening, not seeing the people around me. Even around family, I isolated myself under the guise of reading a book. Such a studious little kid I was, huh?
Anyway, the memory was of a day when my Grandmother was watching my body language. We were in a store and she was shopping. She looked over at me and said something like, “Don’t look down. Walk with your head up. See what’s in front of you. Your life isn’t on the ground. Your life, your future, is in front of you. Look up and look forward to it.” I actually stopped walking and looked at her. She went on with shopping and eventually my feet started moving again and I caught up to her. Periodically, that memory will come back to me. I even shared it once with a youth in a juvenile jail I was working in. It was really cool, after that, when he’d be walking and see me looking at him. He’d say, “Miss Dee, my head is up. I’m walking toward my future.” I’d smile at him and tell him, “Good job. Always remember that.”
I’m sharing this here because this memory is significant for me because I don’t have a lot of memories of my earlier years. I’ve long since acknowledged that I’ve subconsciously, or consciously, blocked them out to protect myself from reliving traumatic experiences. Ironically, I tend to remember obscure, impromptu, or outright blatant, and sometimes unusual things and situations. As an adult (now 50 years old) when I realize my head, or my gaze, is down I remember her words and say as if talking to her, “You’re right, Grandmom. I didn’t know it then, but you were, and still are, right. Thank you for saying that to me back then.”
I want you to know it’s okay to feel down. It’s okay to have a bad day, or several bad days. I want you to also know that today has come and it will go. Tomorrow is a new day. Your future is ahead of you. Each day brings a new opportunity and possibly a new outlook. Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Acknowledge and validate yourself. Then, look at the positive aspects of your life. Look ahead to what’s in front of you. Look upward and forward to your future.
I’d like to read your thoughts on how you deal with SAD or how you help someone you know who does. It’s important to both seek help when we need it, and also to be a help to others in our inner circle.
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