March 2021: Time Warp
I fully intended to blog about something that I mentioned on social media; but this week’s life experience rose to the top of the queue. In an attitude of solidarity with fellow, mental-illness strugglers, I am choosing to rant about the absurdity of the semiannual time change.
Past experience has taught me to always schedule “recovery time” post time change—whether springing forward or falling backwards. If I operated like a corporation, this would be viewed as a significant financial loss as I am not earning an income during scheduled down time. Fortunately I don’t think in those terms. However, sometimes that is the only language the “powers-that-be” understand. Given the numerous statistics that indicate the time change is not a good idea (increased emergency visits, car accidents, and the like), it does beg the question why any country would agree to something that detracts rather than adds to a person’s quality of life.
However, the goal of this blog is not to petition the government to stop the insanity; but rather to normalize what I experienced this past week and what many of you likely also went through. This past weekend, I followed through with the usual protocols. Changing the clocks before going to bed Saturday night. Giving myself an unhurried Sunday morning. Only having one (unavoidable) scheduled item for the afternoon. Monday was more of the same. I allowed myself as much flexibility as I could as I am usually more tired than usual during these time adjustments.
So I was surprised by my drop in mood come Monday. I questioned whether I needed to ask my doctor to increase my anti-depressant (which I have been gradually reducing). That was a check point for me. I was frighteningly near the edge of the abyss; and I did not want to go there. It was akin to PTSD flashbacks imagining the effort of crawling out of the depression abyss; and I wanted to avoid that all costs. This had me worried. What was happening that my whole system appeared off kilter?
By Tuesday I was still sluggish but no longer near the edge of the abyss. I could tell my body was adjusting; but everything feels “off” given our circadian rhythm is so dependent upon the movement of the sun and takes its cues from the amount of daylight. The days feel “wrong” to me with this time warp. Made me question why we “need” an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day when we live above the 49th parallel and have plenty long enough days as it is. Who needs daylight at 10pm??? In summer I am very dependent on blocking out the evening light, not absorbing it.
To me, taking advantage of the summer sun would involve installing solar panels. Not trying to manufacture a longer day. Why do we try to play with the concept of time? The day still only has 24 hours. Our bodies can only do so much with our given time. I fail to see the logic in messing with the natural function of the planet, sun, and moon. There are so many better things to do with our resources—a key one being rethinking the structured 40-hour work week. Now there is something that might actually allow people to take advantage of daylight hours.
So I guess there is one thing I can extract from this week’s depression scare: I am grateful I am self-employed and can plan my days with wellness rather than profits in mind. The irony is that focusing on my wellness means taking advantage of the times of day when I am most productive which translates into efficiency (work smarter, not harder). But my definitions of productivity and efficiency differ from the corporate world which requires a servitude to a bottom line and profit shares.
It also made me frustrated that a nonsensical “tradition” was imposed upon me. Something I didn’t want or need, that didn’t contribute to the greater good or overall well-being of the planet. Something that actually caused harm in the form of a depressive episode. If I may add, unlike masks and vaccines which are intended to stop the advancement of a deadly virus. At the worst, masks are uncomfortable but don’t cause any harm. For those claiming duress, there are many accommodations like home deliveries to counter the need to leave your house which requires the wearing of a mask. There are no accommodations for mental-illness setbacks triggered by mandated time changes.
Hence, I am grateful I am not a slave to the 40-hour work week and someone else’s bottom line. The trade off is less personal income and no financial security; but I have come to terms with that. For me, messing with time has no benefits and only creates chaos. If it wouldn’t complicate my life, I wouldn’t bother with the time change. So if your week was as filled with emotional upheaval as mine was, take heart. You are not alone. And you are not crazy. Just live in a crazy world.