I'm able to hold light in one hand and dark in the other. Hope and hopelessness. Happiness and despair. Freedom and weight. Bright and dull. The contradictions don't contradict. They live together. They are the closest to whole. Give permission to feel it back and forth and simultaneously. I do not have to choose.


5 things I hope to remember next November

It's spring.

my tulips have grown, (I counted 156 at their peak!), and already withered. It's stormy today after a week of scorching sun (and a sunburn to prove it). I'm getting up early in the mornings without an alarm. I'm breathing easier now.

*I'm writing this for future Claire. Scheduling this to post sometime next year when I think I'll need it most.

the easiest time to talk about dark days is when you aren't having them. Which is why I'm talking about this now.

I have seasonal affective disorder. S.A.D. I've maybe had it always just a little bit but only in the last 3 years has it been obviously so. You can google it. or maybe you've heard of it. But basically my body/mind have a direct and negative response to the colder/darker winter months. Depressed is a strong word. Sad is a trite one. The best way to describe my experience with it would be total unabashed bummed-out-ness. At least that's what I liked to call it when it was happening. But then a few weeks ago I woke up so happy and it was such a true contrast to the feelings I'd had for months that it scared me. There were some really dark days there. Those first two words might be more fitting.

It's hard to be on the inside of SAD. It's also hard to be on the outside, watching people you love and not knowing how to help them. So I write this for me, for anyone going through seasonal affective disorder, or for anyone witnessing this in someone's life. Here's some things that I've found to help and hope to remember when next November rolls around:

1. THIS TO SHALL PASS. You hate hearing it in the moment because what you are feeling is soooo real and so heavy it feels like it's a constant. It is real. It is heavy. But it's likely not forever. The sun and warmth will return. Maybe someday they'll get rid of stupid daylight savings. Christmas AND your birthday are coming up! This will pass. Time always does.

2. Follow the LIGHT. Literally. get yourself out of bed and face the sun ASAP. Close your eyes and look through your eyelids and let that un-namable color soak through. The one that's pink and purple and black and burning at the same time. The light is your friend.

Also, happy lamps/lights are a real thing. Pull yours out from storage. Wipe of the dust. Put it at your desk and USE IT. It won't make you "happy" but it will energize you to some degree.
Energy = motivation = productivity = satisfaction = happiness.
It's a process.

3. BABY STEPS. give yourself an attainable checklist and pride yourself in any little thing you can cross off.

wake up. check
get out of bed. check
eat something. preferable a food that energizes you (grapefruit). check.
go on a walk. check
smile. check

clap for yourself when you do anything productive (which when you have SAD can be "getting out of bed"). I'm serious. Take you hands and slap them together. And if that feels too silly, youtube clapping sounds. you deserve affirmation.

4. TALK. It's hard to talk about "it". So don't make that your immediate goal. Just make communication the goal. touch base with someone. Text someone. Have a communication line out in the world SOMEWHERE. Isolation feeds SAD in the worst ways possible. It's easier to be alone. Reach out in some way to someone, and if you can, try and talk about the hard stuff. Maybe talking for you needs to be more serious, more in depth. Look into therapy. Look into groups. Most communities have some type of program that is accessible/affordable (many free). Talk talk talk. I've gone to therapy off and on since I was 7. I'm hopeful I'll still be going when this is posted in November marking over 2 years of nearly weekly therapy. Yup. talk.

5. Lastly, this experience does not define you. Your feelings, chemical make-up, pre-disposition, whatever. These things are not YOU. They don't define you, they don't determine you. They are things. You are not things. You are something more and greater than this. Talk to God. Or whatever your high-power belief is. Know that you are your potential and your potential is unlimited.

*There are many different forms and levels of SAD and depression. I'm of course, no doctor. Professional guidance is always a good idea. These are just things I've found to help me in my situation. I'm not anti-medication either. I just haven't taken that path, yet. I'm open to it. I have found taking vitamins (B12, Vitamin C, etc) to be helpful. Also eating clean when all I want is fries (my form of "comfort food"). I'm also not 100% hippie but I do like my Grapefruit essential oil. Calm down. I'm not claiming it healed me. Grapefruit is my happy spirit fruit. The colors, smell, and taste truly brighten my mood. So maybe it's the placebo effect but damnit, If the placebo works for me then great! All in all its about finding what works for YOU. Take the time to figure it out because you are worth it. Joy is worth it.



I didn't even notice. I got so used to looking away I didn't see it. It wasn't there. But it was. And even when I ignored it the best I could, it affected me. I'd say
"it's not that bad"
"no one else can see it"
"you are the only one looking that closely. Look away".

it's not important.

But what started small, disguised even as something good, slowly started to creep up, out of it's space and into everything beautiful. everything I'd worked so hard to perfect.

I finally saw it. damage done. escaped. wild. completely out of my control.

I cried. I stared. I prayed.

Light headed, dizzy, discouraged yet determined. A mix of canceling thoughts as I pulled and tugged.
First gently, deliberately and focused. Down to the root. Now is the time.

then all at once. Everything in reach. thrashing
some of the bad left behind in the hurry.

Sometimes the good came up with it.
Sometimes the good had already died, strangled.

My favorite of all: choked, shaded, and consumed.

I do as much as I can but I'm tired. so tired. Why did it take so long to see it? How did I let it get so bad?

gathered and trashed.
I step back and look at it all.
I don't recognize it.

It's so bare.
empty spots. dirt visible. it's out in the open.

there's so much more to do.

This isn't what I wanted,
I can breath now.



here has been a lot of different places for me. Here was an early attempt at identity, an imitation of another life. Here was the hidden place where I left my twitter-pated secrets, hoping they'd be found. Here is where I tried on a lot of different faces. And here was where I took them all off. And then I haven't been here for a while. I've been elsewhere. I've been consumed. I've been distracted. And I wasn't here because in my blind distraction, I blamed here to be the biggest distraction of all. How silly. How I've needed here.

I'm here now.



I'd like to think that even if I hadn't taken a million photos, these images would be forever in my mind.

*this was written over a year ago. Never published. No photos added. Hoping those images are somewhere in my mind....though I just can't remember what of...