Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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10/12/2005: "Wake me up when it's November"

Well, I haven't been writing much lately because the start of fall semester at a university is always the busiest, and just at the time when I need to be at the top of my game is the start of the rainy season here AND it starts getting darker earlier and earlier so my energy level plummets.

Last night I had to let my class out early because my hands were shaking so much I was having a hard time typing and quite frankly I was worried I might start crying in front of everybody. Plus I've been so negative, people probably hate being around me; I'm normally not that kind of person.

Then Monday night I met a former student in the library. She'd been in a serious car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury and was trying to go back to school. This girl is so sweet and it broke my heart to talk to her. She has very little short term memory, she's gone through a personality change, she's lost most of her "friends" and she's very depressed because she can't do the majority of things that used to come naturally to her but you would never know that just by looking at her because she looks fine.

When I think of the challenges other people have to face, it makes me feel weak that I can't seem to handle normal life issues when I have all my faculties. I was thinking about what it would be like to go from being an intelligent, educated person, to having to relearn to speak or walk and not have the ability to retain new information. It must be such a nightmare.

Replies: 13 Comments

on Wednesday, October 12th, Jackie said

E: Yeah - I think it's only human to be terrified of the possiblity of having to overcome some seemingly-insurrmountable obstacle: such as great physical pain & suffering, tragedy or loss of loved ones, or mental illness. I guess unless it happens to us, we can never know how we could get through such a thing. It's typical to not know how to react around someone who's suffered such a loss. I think just talking with them, and letting them know you still care about them is the best someone can do.

Have you ever tried a light box to help with SAD? Just the full-spectrum light bulbs help too (they are even available for fluorescent tube-style lights). GE has a new bulb out that is full spectrum - It's called Natural Light or Daylight or something like that.
Hope you get over your slump soon! I miss it when you stop making frequent blog entries. :(

on Wednesday, October 12th, mick said

If its any consolation I really do know what its like to get depressed by the change in the seasons - and lets face it - its not as dark down here in the South west of the UK as you get up there.
I also know what its like to wake up one day with the vocabulary of a six year old - and yet still comprehend that I could never go back to my well paid executive job.
Sometimes Nature takes over and makes decisions for you - and I am probably far happier now than I would have been if my life had not been dramatically changed.

on Wednesday, October 12th, ann said

Elise, I don't think you are weak. I think we are remarkably adaptive, but that, even with our adaptability, each and every one of us has our own shit to deal with... our own demons to slay. Some people's demons are simply more visible. But that doesn't mean we don't all have times when when need to fight against them.

And I think a strong person admits it when they feel weak.

Take care,

on Wednesday, October 12th, Elise said

Thanks for the advice and information about the lights Jackie, I'll look into those natural light bulbs as a start.

And Mick, I'm really sorry to hear you had to go through that but it sounds like you've come out better for having gone through it. Who wants to work in a crummy well paid executive job anyway? Money isn't the key to happiness after all.

Ann, I know that pain is all relative but sometimes I still can't help feeling like a real whimp. I wish I could be more stoic...I told my co-worker Beatrice that I'd give her a quarter everytime I complain or say something negative. It's amazing how since I told her that I stop myself getting ready to say something negative and it has really opened my eyes to how negative I've become in general.

But you know what they say, admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery.

on Thursday, October 13th, mick said

Natural light falling on the retina is supposed to increase seratonin levels in the brain - a shortage of which can cause depression. Exercise is also very beneficial - so a brisk walk in daylight is a good way to work off the stress and get some light. One thing I noticed on moving to Cornwall is that the Sky is so much bigger especially if you clamber up one of the hills lol. So next time u get artists block - why not give up trying and go for a walk instead.

on Thursday, October 13th, Ty said

As humans we are so fragile and yet so resilient.
I also have been "down". I can't put my finger on it, but maybe it's some sort of collective concience.

on Thursday, October 13th, Elise said

Maybe it has something to do with what's going on in the world right now too. Everytime you turn on the news it seems there is some new human or natural disaster...erruptions, mud slides, hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, war...I think anyone who doesn't feel a little down isn't in touch with reality...(or has some really kick-ass drugs...oh, or an extra strength light box).

on Thursday, October 13th, mythical records said

Totally understand school absorbing too much ttime :)

on Thursday, October 13th, ann said

They replaced the florescent lights in my office with full spectrum lights.... and I feel goooood. Light makes a big difference in my life.

on Thursday, October 13th, Elise said

Wow, how'd you swing that ann? And where do I sign up???

on Thursday, October 13th, Elise said

Oh, and hey mythical records, do you have any sound files of your experimental music posted anywhere?

It sounds interesting.

on Saturday, October 15th,">Jackie said

Full-spectrum lights are really a few pennies more than regular bulbs. The fluorescent variety were actually cheaper when my office bought a case of them -cuz once I ordered them, everyone else wanted 'em too! The bulb type for other fixtures might be a bit more - but no more than some premium bulbs, like 3-way or soft pink. Don't delay - get some today! :P

on Saturday, October 15th, Elise said

I work for a university so even though Ann (who also works there) got some new bulbs, all things are not created equal, I don't know if they'll let me, as there are TONS of florencents in my cubical area. But I'll try, I know if must help. The last two days have been sunny and what do you know? I have been feeling so great the past 2 days!

It can't be a coincidence. I have to check and see if they make them for the light fixtures in my house. they are all recessed lighting, and I haven't changed a single bulb since I moved into this house, around 4 years ago! How is that possible?