Black Rain

by Bill Brenner on November 17, 2010

Rain is pelting my living room window as I write this. As a child, the sound was comforting. Today, it’s the opposite.

Mood music:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=663L-GWQdws&fs=1&hl=en_US]

As a kid, I found comfort in a cloudy sky and rain. I suppose it made me appreciate the inside of my house and gave me a cozy feeling. The overcast sky was like a blanket. I wanted to hide from a lot of things back then: the Crohn’s Disease raging inside me, the unhappy chatter coming from my parents as their marriage fell apart, the sound of my brother gasping for air during one of his asthma attacks. The sound of my mother yelling at my sister and slapping her around.

For some reason, the clouds felt like a blanket I could pull over my head to blot those things out.

Somewhere along the way, something changed.

Now the sound of rain hitting the window makes me feel uneasy and a gray sky fills me with gloom.

This time of year it’s worse because it gets dark so early.

Part of it is age. As I get older, I prefer hot, dry weather and maximum sunlight. Deprive me of that and my mood tanks.

The rest of it is about the twists and turns my mental health has taken with time. 

Does weather impact one’s mental health? You bet your ass it does. My moods almost always hit the depths when there’s too much rain, snow, cold and darkness.

In the book Lincoln’s Melancholyby Joshua Wolf Shenk, we see how long periods of gloomy weather drove Lincoln to suicidal thoughts in the 1840s, two decades before he was president.

I’m doing what I can to combat the weather problem. My medication helps. My program of recovery from compulsive overeating helps a ton. Occasional visits to the therapist help. Writing helps. And yes, the happy lamps Erin bought help.

I feel much better overall than I have in past Novembers.

But in the end, you can only do so much. So despite all the work I’ve done on myself, this morning’s weather has me in a rut.

It’ll be a brief rut. I don’t fall over from depression for days and weeks at a time like I used to. Now it’s more like minutes and hours. That’s progress.

The best medicine is to move along and get to work.

And if I can get a nap in somewhere, all the better.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Trish Austin November 17, 2010 at 5:20 am

It’s weird. I’d never thought about it until your post. But, as a child, I felt the rain as a source of comfort. Not for the reasons you did…but still reasons that were not positive. Now, gloomy overcast weather is enough to put me in a major funk. If it’s raining for days, I’m toast.

But, you’ve come a long way! I’m hoping to do the same. Lithium has helped me, therapy etc.. So, glad that you fought all your demons and won. It’s an inspiration to those of us who are in the process.

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