Who, at one point in their life, hasn’t been afraid of the dark? I still am depending on where I happen to be when lights go out. I don’t know if that’s the reason I dread winter. The nights drag on and on, and I find myself missing the daylight.
I’ve never been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, but for several years now, I’ve noticed a darker mood come over me when the fall begins. It’s a profound melancholy feeling. Like losing something you deeply love. For me it’s sunshine and everything that thrives under it. I understand why the seasons are necessary, but it still makes me sad.
My therapist wanted me to do some digging with regards to my overall dislike of winter (besides the freezing temperatures!). Was I dreading it because I associated it with a bad experience? At first I resisted exploring that area. I avoided it … much like I do the dark.
I don’t remember growing up feeling safe at night. When my parents were together night time represented arguments, and my dad drinking. I’m not saying this happened every night, but these are memories that stand out. When they separated we went to live with my grandma who had young children of her own. So all together there were eight of us kids and a teenage uncle or two who were in and out of the picture.
Nights during this time, were chaotic to say the least. Part of our culture involves scaring kids so they go to bed. And although we would eventually go to bed, we did so full of fear. When the adults were gone for the night it was sure chaos among us. The young adult male(s) left in charge of us would watch inappropriate movies, and sometimes invited friends who smelled of marijuana. One relative in particular, exposed us to pornography. We were being conditioned for his own selfish desires (but that’s another story).
As a child, this was difficult to process. I was reassured it was fine to see such things, but the secrecy it involved disturbed me. People can lie to children, but when they are asked to keep secrets, it does something to their spirit. These type of secrets isolate and bring with them a sense of shame and humiliation. I was always on high alert. As if remaining awake would protect me somehow! So night time didn’t represent rest for me.
Many other memories from this time period come up during the winter months. I haven’t shared the majority of them or how they make me feel with anyone. Just thinking of them makes me feel dirty. They can’t be washed off or covered over, but talking about it is bringing me some relief.
I’ve had different versions of this draft for a couple of weeks now, and the anxiety it’s brought up is sometimes through the roof. It’s a mess of emotions, but I’m getting through it. I look forward to my next appointment with my therapist. She’ll be happy to hear that I’m getting to the bottom of my dread of winter. I don’t think my dislike of freezing weather is ever gonna go away though!
That part of my life is over. I no longer need to keep on the watch as if to prevent something bad from happening to me. I need to let my body rest along with my mind. That’s what night time should represent. Rest. It’s a gift. Night is to us, what winter is to the earth. It’s a time to gather strength, whether it’s for the next day, or the next season.
Love you guys ; )