Last week and this week bring with them:
- The Spring Equinox
- The clocks going forward.
What do all these things have in common? They all contain within them the shift of season. Out of winter and into Spring. With this shift comes a sense of “the new” . . . of winter, darkness and hibernation ending and spring, light and new life beginning.
As Dawn French writes:
the engine is Spring; the fuel is beauty. All of those resolutions promised in the sleepy grip of New Year’s wintery fog can now be realised, because we have a new gear to throttle into . . .”
This year the promise of a new season, and with it the sense of a new gear, has felt to be a long time coming. We’ve been befuddled by snow at a time when we were expecting snowdrops not snowflakes . . . Winter has lingered and felt to outstay its welcome, with the cold stubbornly returning when we thought it was on the out. We may have thought about dry cleaning our winter coats, only to be relieved we didn’t after all a mere week or even few days later.
It has felt hard to wait.
Linked to this, it may be that despite the increasing light and sunshine, this time for whatever reason (s) personal to you, still feels like the darkness of winter. Your dark mood may be lingering in the same way that winter has at the beginning of 2018.
Yes, a shift in season can bring about a shift in mood – but this is not always the case. In fact, it can have the effect sometimes of making you feel worse – spring feeling like its mocking and highlighting the contradiction of your dark depression, powerful anxiety, painful anger, etc.
I also feel that Spring contains the sense that time marches on . . . in comparison to winter feeling like the ‘ending’, Spring feels like the continuation. . . Back around we go . . . The continuation of cycles and “relentlessness of time” as someone said to me recently. Time can feel relentless, particularly if you are struggling now. It can bring about an underlying sense of panic that can heighten anxiety / depression . . . Thoughts such as “Here I am, still in the same place, still STUCK” or “here is all this newness and happiness but look at the state of my relationship, I feel so alone” or “It’s beginning to turn beautiful and I still feel awful”. Even though Spring can symbolise the “shaking off the old way of being” for some it symbolises the fact that this hasn’t happened for them.
If this is the case for you, try to stop. Right now. Close your eyes. Inhale slowly. Exhale even slower. Again. Inhale, exhale . . .
Try to slow yourself into the present. You’ll hear those “thoughts” whatever they are, those loud, demanding, angry, depressed, scary thoughts. Normally, you’re with them, holding their hand. Try to let go. Realise that those thoughts are “away” in a scary place, they’re not the reality of what is happening right now. Focus on this moment. Not those thoughts. This moment. Close your eyes. Inhale, exhale, be here grounded in yourself and not off there with the thoughts.
What you also have is the FACT of Spring. If 2018 has taught us anything, it’s that Spring always comes . . . No matter how unlikely, absurd and slow it seems . . . Here it is.
This can be something we can hold on to. Depression and anxiety’s GREATEST trick that they have up their sleeve is that they will tell you – louder than any other horrible thought they’ll also be telling you – “YOU WILL NEVER FEEL DIFFERENTLY TO HOW YOU FEEL NOW. YOU WLL ALWAYS FEEL LIKE THIS.”
This is their greatest asset, but also their greatest lie. It’s false. No matter how hard it is to believe, no matter how exhausting and unbelievable, somewhere deep, deep down, understand and know that this is a trick. A powerful trick, but a trick none the less. You will feel differently. Your spring will come. Against the odds, even the odds of snow in March, there will be a change. You can rely on Spring. That’s a fact.