Suffering the darkness

Today I’m wallowing in the general mood of the day and the weather. The early (or so it seems) onset of winter is severely affecting my mood. The weather in Vancouver is that of a Melbourne winter. Shitty. But it’s only November and the short days are only getting shorter and the dark days are only getting darker. By 5pm I’m ready to jump into bed, mentally and physically. I’m trying not to freak out so early on, but I began panicking in the middle of summer about how badly I was going to tolerate this winter. There are likely a million things you could say to make me feel better about this time of year, but my mood is such that I need to wallow, I want to wallow. My mood desires to match the weather, to wait out the storm until the sunshine’s back on the horizon.

It’s 7:30pm and I have a group of improvisers in my house playing improv games in the lounge room. I’m highly distracted by random voices and words and scenarios being called out and am too frightened to leave my room until this troop of my housemate’s theatre scene has left. I spend a lot of time cooped up in my bedroom when I’m at home, reading or writing or doing stuff on the Internet. I can lose hours at my laptop, days and weeks just sitting here tapping away. If I’m not working or exercising or socialising, I’m sitting at my desk or in my bed, where I eat and watch shows on Netflix and fall asleep inside my little dungeon that looks like I just moved in with bare walls, overflowing suitcases and a few empty boxes.

A shelf in the bookcase in our living room was recently vacated by our previous housemate and assigned to me. At first I didn’t know what to put there. I haven’t bought anything since I arrived with one suitcase in April except for a comfortable desk chair. I took a few books and propped them onto the lonesome shelf, looking pitiful and out of place. A day later I brought them back to my room, feeling as though my roots had spread too far, as though I was getting too comfortable committing to be here long term. I took the books back to the shelf and added a few more the next day, until the shelf looked half used and respectable. Then the day after I hauled them back to my room again, back to the security of my den and the comfortable host of my existence.

I’m not planning to move anytime soon, but the nomadic part of me won’t allow myself to get too comfortable. I’m already thinking about buying a van so I can be independent and mobile and start a fresh new life again next year. I know it’s not just me, because I had this conversation recently with a close friend who also craves that biyearly reinvention of ones self. The same feeling you get when you read the first page of a new book with endless possibilities, before you get too far in and decide the plot is boring or you’re tired of the characters already. It’s not a quality I’m proud of. Like the endless list of unfinished books I have to my name. There’s a lack of commitment embedded in there somewhere, but there’s also the drive for new experiences, the unknown, the unimaginable. That’s what we nomads crave. And be it an unhealthy addiction, we’re either born with it or picked it up somewhere along the way.

Don’t judge me  entirely on what I write this evening, it’s mainly the mood talking, and the endless deluge of water outside my window isn’t helping. On most other days the rain would sound rhythmic, meditative, calming. But right now each droplet is like a dull headache that won’t go away. The kind you slowly forget about until you move your head a fraction and realise it’s still there.

I’ve been reading some pretty depressing novels and watching probably the worst TV series for the human soul in my sombre state. I’m halfway through Viktor E. Frankl’s ‘Man’s search for meaning’ and also started reading Paula Hawkins ‘The girl on the train’. The latter is driving me into a dark tunnel, but I can’t help but discover what’s inside. I’m also watching ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix after my obsession with Kiefer Sutherland and the latest series of 24 recently ended. Kevin Spacey was the next best thing, but it’s darker than dark, dragging me down into its own sea of turmoil and deceit.

It’s 8:30pm now and I’m at a standstill. No desire to read, write emails or watch Netflix. In moments like these walking is the answer, but I feel like a caged rat in a dark cocoon with the rain outside, unable to escape the suffocation of my own bedroom. I actually did pilates in the lounge room this afternoon, before my housemates and the troop of amateur actors invaded my household. But that was short lived; as soon as the doorbell rang I slunk back into my bat cave and bolted the door shut.

Perhaps I just needed some keyboard therapy, because I’m actually feeling a lot better right now. In fact now that it’s out of my system, I’m feeling about ready to get back into my depressing novels again, and perhaps I will watch another episode of Netflix after all.


25 thoughts on “Suffering the darkness”

      1. All I can hear is my dehydrator, and smell the sweet apple cinnamon….it might be raining, but I don’t care. 🙂
        “I have also recently been reminded that positivity breeds positivity, and that positive thinking can create endless possibilities.”

      2. Haha! Wise words eh? I guess in some ways the steepest parts of a roller coaster are the most exhilarating. And once it’s at its low point, it always seems to pick up pretty quickly again!

  1. Ha, me too. I’m lucky to get out of work early enough to do my 3 mile walk in the woods. It keeps me integrated, so to speak. But that’s tough to do all the time and won’t get easier as the days get shorter. Trail maintenance season is over for the year. So my keyboard therapy is writing an app to track and plan trail maintenance for the PCT. We’ll see where that goes…. Enjoy your blog. Take care. Jack

    1. Hey Jack, that sounds really interesting!! You should get talking to Halfmile and see if there’s some data you can guys can share! I should get up a little earlier to enjoy the mornings, but unfortunately I’ve become a night owl so I sometimes miss the best part of the day. It’s great that you’re getting in 3 miles before the sun goes down each day. I think that’s all the therapy I would need! Let us know how the app progresses and good luck!

      1. Yep it’s based off the HalfMile data set. If you’ve ever loaded HalfMile into GoogleEarth that’s roughly my approach. But with features that you wouldn’t have in GoogleEarth. Yeah I’m a night owl too and seeing it’s 11:41 – hoot!

  2. Good lord girl. Get a grip on yourself! First rid yourself of dark stuff and TV and choose your authors more carefully. You know sunshine inevitability follows rain and occasionally there’s a rainbow so go easy on the gloom for your poor suffering followers – ha ha. Prefer to be the gal with the dragon tattoo or the one on the train??!!

    1. Ha! The point of writing it down is to rid it from my system. I know it sounds gloomy, it is. But there ain’t rainbows out everyday and if there were I’d be tired of writing about them by now! 🙂

  3. Rozanne….you have a way of saying your “nowness” so well…words cannot help much….”Oh, you’re going to be alright!” or “Snap out of girl!!”….I, for one, hate platitudes…so, I can only say to you that I get it….and that restlessness…I also get and understand somewhat you must be going through….I wonder if some to that restless and anxiousness could be because you are not doing what you love best….You are, after all, a Nomad….smiling…..

    You know what, I get a real awfulness from watching TV shows that are about ugliness that happens in lives in folks…like murder….I feel very low after watching those shows….and if I am reading about hard happenings that happen in the story, I can also get low and depressed from it…BUT, I can’t seem to NOT read on to see what happens…

    All this, to say is, you are a remarkable soul….love to you from your old friend, Barbie, who holds you in my head and heart every day….is that too much info…but it’s true….Thanks for sharing, Rozanne!!

    1. Thanks for your kind words Barbie and for understanding where I’m coming from. I think happiness comes from reaching your true potential. I’m still working towards it, I think most people are, and I guess it continues throughout your entire life because once you reach your perceived potential, there’s always further you can go. It’s that drive and curiosity that keeps us alive. I’m certainly one to soak up the mood of those around me, and this happens with books and TV like you also mentioned. Today is a brighter day however. Even without the sun, at least there’s no rain! 🙂

  4. If you really want to continue your funk, just start watching the Netflix series, “Hell On Wheels”. The only positive thing is that the main character is better looking than Kevin Spacey! It’s refreshing to hear your honesty! I don’t think that we’ve commented on your blogs since the PCT, but it sounds like another nomadic goal might be in order? AT or CDT? You are still young enough to become a triple crowner! We are still trying to get the guts to give up our corporate salaries, comfy home, health insurance, etc., and hike the PCT before we get too old. All our best!

    Bill and Cindy

    1. Great to hear from you guys and thanks for touching base again!! You can always go back to the corporate world and ‘regular life’ after the trail. 6 months goes by in a flash (doesn’t seem like it when you’re walking everyday but it does). There is often another adventure right around the corner, even if we don’t always know it’s there! Hopefully mine will come soon. Can’t wait to hear when you guys finally take the plunge! Have a great end to the year and I’ll check out your new Netflix suggestion if I’m feeling moody again!

  5. Hey Muk, always love hearing from you. I’m seriously affected by SAD and have learned I just can’t tolerate long periods of gray days. Your nomadic lifestyle will be beneficial in matching seasons to your home. One thing I found that helped some was lunch walks. Another was an evening meetup. I found a 1/2 mile hill we’d walk up and down. The headlamps and camaraderie did much for my winter blues. Cheers to the occasional wallowing!

    1. Great to hear from you too Jan and great suggestions!! Escaping my den in the evenings is a big must and walking throughout the day the same. I’m going to try and adapt my body clock so I sleep and wake up earlier too. At least the storm has passed for now, this really helped to get it out of my system!!

  6. Hi Rozanne
    Idea: (because I have a lot of them)
    There’s a place close to you that could use your help. The Vancouver Women’s Shelter down on Powell. I understand your desire to blog and write but let’s be honest…everyone is doing that now…it’s safe and a controlled environment…maybe challenge yourself to be a little more vulnerable in a more realistic setting…the impact you may have just might surprise you 🙂
    I also know you are the type to always have an ace in the back pocket so maybe you are just setting the stage for your adventure. 🙂
    If those don’t tickle your fancy maybe jump out of a plane for your bday coming up…I have no doubt that will shake the darkness right outta ya! 😉
    Orrrrrr….what I really meant to say is….
    with the holidays coming and many kids go without…how bout a “toy drive” with your blog followers…u have 235 as I can see…imagine if everyone rallied up…imagine…even get Judy on board down in San Diego with her school…and just like that…YOU, with the help of your followers, could change the holidays for hundreds if not thousands of children…
    Remember the glow stick night hike?! The idea was born and you put it into action…and that single act helped a woman battling cancer…
    you are a world changer Rose and have always thought that since the day I first met you…I think others will agree…
    Take care

    1. That is one inspiring pep talk and has given me a LOT to think about. Thanks for your positive kick up the arse! It’s got my head spinning in the right direction!

  7. Maybe I’m a bit of a weirdo but I quite like the long nights but being Scottish I guess it’s something I’ve grown up with and find natural. On the flip side the long summer days and the beautiful quality of the light more than make up for it.

    I used to live in St Kilda and didn’t find the Melbourne winter weather shitty but then I’ve never lived (or been) anywhere with more shitty weather than Scotland so it’s probably a comparative thing.

    I was home in Glasgow for a week earlier in the year in between walking the Israel National Trail and had torrential rain, little daylight and barely above freezing temperatures the whole time. It was a bit depressing but bad weather and moods are only ever temporary and make the warmth and the good moods all the more sweet… 🙂

    1. I think I’ve dodged too many winters and just need to get used to it again! I can understand that after growing up in Scotland you’re hardened to the weather, so conditions anywhere else for you must be bliss! The trail you hiked looks fascinating – never even knew it existed!! Would love to know more about your experience. Did you happen to keep a blog??

      1. I’ve lived in Sweden and Finland too so I guess I’d have no excuse not to be used to long dark winters. Which trail do mean the Bibbulmun or the Israel National Trail. I didn’t keep a blog although I did intend to, I just posted my progress on Facebook.

  8. Muk Muk–time to plan the next adventure. Have you looked into the Continental Divide Trail? Just starting to plan for it will raise your spirits.


    1. Haha thanks Herb! I hear you. I’ve been trying to integrate that blissful simplicity of trail life with ‘regular life’ but there’s a few major differences between the two. 1. Having one singular purpose and focus – walking. 2. Being outside all day long in nature. 3. Moving constantly and overcoming obstacles with every step – be it blisters, hunger, or nature itself. I’ve spent a lot of time this year in my own head and I agree, soon it’s time for action!

  9. Greetings from Alaska !

    Living in the far north…November can put me in the dulldrums too. With the cold and dark setting in, I wrote this song a few years ago.

    I hope you find the solice of your cacoon comforting. And when you’re ready…the colors of the rainbows brighter than ever !

    By LyndellaSings

    Aloft on the wind, I’ve seen it time and again,
    The butterfly flutter by.
    Spreading her wings, with her colors she sings,
    Painting a lullaby.

    We may not know the purpose,
    or the direction that must fly.
    But I believe it’s worth it,
    to dance with the butterflies.

    Rainbows and butterflies.
    Gods gift to paint our skys
    with promises of magic between the lines
    of rainbows and butterflies.

    Sometimes I feel blue, all I wanna do,

    is slip into my cacoon.
    Hide away for a while, on the way to a smile,
    Maybe find myself a tune.

    Sooner or later I come out of my shell,
    More often than not, with a story to tell.
    So forgive me please,
    As once again I dwell…
    On rainbows and buterflies.

    A rainbow is found, when the storm dies down.
    The sun comes shinning through.
    The colors you’ve seen, the blues and the greens,
    They take on a different hue.

    I may soar way ip to the sky,
    Or slide right to the ground.

    Rainbows and butterflies.
    Gods gift, to paint our skys
    With promises of magic between the lines
    Of rainbows and butterflies.

    May you find your smile….as you read between the lines !

    Till next time
    Your Arctic Friend,

    1. Lyndella it’s so great to hear from you again and thank you for sharing the lyrics to your beautiful song! You’re certainly no stranger to the shorter days up north and must be hardened to the effects of the early darkness. I’ll remember to ride the rainbow through the storms and get out of my cocoon to dance with the butterflies more often! 🙂

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