Blog 6: Gray Days

Sunshine, blue skies 

Don’t see it, no reason why 

My face is twisted like I got a lotta’ gas 

It’s a gray day, but it’ll pass. 

From “Gray Day” from the upcoming  

Bloom Collection by Sharman 

Ah, my gray days. Waking up with a dark, heavy feeling, like a raincloud hanging over my head. No real reason for it. Gray days invade my psyche, like poltergeist. They don’t stop me from getting up in the morning, or functioning at work, or superficially getting along with people albeit with a fake smile. 

It affects the way I see things. My eyes feel deeper than usual, almost like cones in the back of my head that have a more pronounced negative insight. Saps my self-esteem and courage leaving me slightly paranoid. Old habits and distorted perceptions come rolling in. I feel like everyone is looking down on me. Not just looking at me, looking down ON me. It could follow a fabulous, perfect day. No rhyme or reason for it. A gray day visits when it wants to. Just busts right in saying “Enough of this! I’m gonna’ mess you up.” 

Been like this since I was a kid 

Somedays I just wake up down 

Wanna’ stay in my pajamas 

shut my phone ‘n hide my head 

And lay like a glove in the lost and found 

Went for therapy, consultations, antidepressants. Felt a slight lift, almost immediately, but there were unacceptable side effects. For example, they interfered with my sexual life. Seemed like I was trading one kind of depression for another. Also, I’m a composer and often prefer to create from a dark place, not so much from a place of an ameliorated spirit. It wasn’t truthful or honest. I chose to deal with it head on and stopped the meds.  Sought spiritual counseling, herbs, teas, aroma and color therapy, meditation, chakra balancing, various diets including raw food, gluten free, keto, fasting, you name it.  I experimented with different types of exercise and found that swimming and cycles or treadmills with the right music lifted my spirit, if I could drag my ass there. I do better near water. 

Finally, I changed my approach, grabbed the bull by the horns and welcomed by ‘gray day buddy’, whom I named “Agnes”.  She is the voice in my left ear letting me know that I have no right to be happy, forget about having dreams. Heard it so many times, I could write the script. I made an avatar of Agnes. She looks like a cross between the Ruth Buzzi character on the 70s comedy series Laugh-In, Gladys Ormphby, and the whining, sad sack character on SNL, Debbie Downer. Agnes the asshole. She is a drippy, frowning, unattractive, lethargic, dumpy dud. Smelly, no purpose, no confidence, a wounded loser.  

My husband knows with one look “Having one of my days. Best to leave me be today. I’ll let you know when it’s safe.” He’s learned to roll with it, but he’s never dealt with anything like in his life. 

Sometimes I feel Agnes coming and I've learned to pay attention. Agnes, the scared rabbit, the ultimate procrastinator, the dream-squasher. I acknowledge her, make her larger than life. Instead of trying to quell or neutralize her presence, I welcome her. I no longer try to ignore her but rather work within, around her. Sometimes I just want to sleep, watch reruns and anesthetize myself with garbage food and sleep. 

Sometimes Agnes stays for one or two days, but I simply will no tallow three!  Seldom am I immobilized by her, just insecure and weighted down.  I roll with it.  Sometimes I can rise above and if I push myself to do something positive, show up for something meaningful, it will shorten her visit. At some point, I visualize her switching places with the real me, or the me that I want to be. Agnes gradually moves to the back and I kick her the hell out of my house.

It works most all of the time. She has been visiting less and less. 

As a kid, I didn’t have this wisdom or confidence to control Agnes. I had my piano and the score to West Side Story.  Bernstein was my therapist. Dramatic, sweeping melodies my Prozac. Maria was not exactly a happy soul but ‘Tonight’ and ‘One Hand, One Heart’ worked miracles. I’ve lost so much valuable time.  I’m not saying this method of coping with gray days would work for everyone and I know that many people also struggle with gray days - something more than just moodiness but not chronic depression.  Indeed, some would think I’m a borderline schizo. That’s fine. Maybe I am, but it works for me. As long as I can get on with Bloom, I'm OK. 

  Don’t need no healing 

  don’t say a special mass 

   It’s a Gray Day, but it’ll pass.

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