dark and dreary days

I have been out sick with a terrible cold that I picked up over the holidays. I feel like, well, I feel like shit. So as I laid in bed at noon today I thought about being sick and being well, about good days and bad. See, here’s what I believe – if I never knew bad days, I wouldn’t appreciate the good ones as much as I do. If I’d never been inside a psych ward I wouldn’t treasure a long hot shower or a steaming mug of CAFFEINATED coffee with cream the way I do today. If I’d never been locked up on a floor in a hospital I wouldn’t know the value of fresh air and the breeze on my cheek.

I have dealt with depression for over a decade and mania for at least half that. Without each other, I wouldn’t know the extremes of bipolar disorder. How can you know how good something is if you have not seen the bad, the alternative?

One of my favorite poems is by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It is called Rainy Day and when I am having a bad day, a sick day, a day dictated by bipolar disorder, I remember, “Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.”

Rainy Day 
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
  And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
  And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
  Some days must be dark and dreary.