I can’t believe how much the last week has made a difference in my mood. Portland was literally making me sick because of the lack of sunlight. If I were a child, they would have diagnosed me with Rickets, but for adults, it leads to osteomalacia (which is “Doctorspeak” for softening bones or “Adult Rickets”). No matter what I did, I couldn’t shake the ever-present cloud of carpet-sucking depression that followed me wherever I went. At one point, my stepmom (a rheumatologist) drew my blood and ran some tests. I got a phone call the next day. “Congratulations! You have the lowest Vitamin D level of anyone in my 30 year old practice!” It was six. Translation? That’s not good. Normal Vitamin D level is somewhere between 30 and 50. The Mayo Clinic web site says this: “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with various diseases, such as bone loss, osteoarthritis, cognitive issues, kidney disease, respiratory concerns, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, cardiovascular disease, etc.” By “cognitive issues,” I am pretty sure this means that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to all kinds of mental illness.
Moving back to Houston has made me realize that I was willing to stick it out in Portland only because I didn’t realize the lack of sun was such a big problem. In response, I’ve been sitting on my back porch for hours at a time (with sunscreen, of course), just meditating on all the ways that the sun is healing me.
I have no doubt that staying in Portland could have been fatal, because I was so down so far that I couldn’t see past the fact that I felt sick in my head. The reality was that I ended up attributing a lot of behavior to my depression, when it wasn’t my depression at all. The lack of sun, for lack of a better term, was canceling my medication out altogether.
Being here has basically just calmed my little ass down. I am emotionally much stronger, because everything I’ve learned in Al-anon that didn’t stick the first time is now coming into my present consciousness. It is important, this recognition, because I’ve been learning how to use good emotional tools. I just wasn’t strong enough to stick to them and let them help me. Emotional tools only go so far if you’re willing to throw them out at the first sign of conflict. If you’re anything like me, throwing out good emotional tools leaves me with a thin, thin layer of cushion between what I say and what I mean. As Mark Twain once said, “the difference between the right word and the wrong one is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
It’s also the difference between gaining friends and losing them, because if you are determined enough to be depressed and alone, no one will stop you. I believe that this is partly because of the “Genovese syndrome,” and partly because no one can stop you from doing anything if you’re determined enough.
In order to break the willpower to become depressed and stay that way, I escaped from Portland back to my hometown. However, I didn’t know that the sun would heal me. That was just an added bonus.
Love and light to all y’all.