The first winter we were in Melbourne I was diagnosed with anxiety in August. I was cold. It felt like I hadn’t seen the sun in months and the persistent grey had seeped into my brain, making everything seem a little harder. The lingering anxiousness that had always been a part of my thinking rose to a crescendo. The councillor I went to told me that, come September, everything would seem ok again. She told me that I needed sunshine, to be outside, to look at trees. She had a point. Unfortunately September turned out to be hard and complicated that year. My anxiety was undaunted by the changing season, careering wildly until it collided with Christmas and a NSW summer. 
The second winter wasn’t so bad; the grey did not effect me so much. The catharsis that came at the end of that long hard year carried me through.  

This winter was hard. Not as hard as the first one but I still felt my brain weighed down by the low hanging clouds. If I overlaid a graph of my mood with one of Melbourne’s minimum temperature, the peaks and troughs would very closely align. Sunshine felt like a drug and I craved it almost obsessively.
I grew up in northern NSW where there are only two seasons. In winter, you wear jeans instead of shorts. Sometimes a cold wind blows down from the mountains and you light a fire in the evening. Come September, the heat takes hold, often with startling suddenness and the afternoon thunderstorms begin in earnest. There is summer and there is winter. There is very little in between.
My first year in Melbourne, I was struck by autumn, which seems so unfamiliar. This year – our third winter in Melbourne –  is the first that I have really appreciated the spring.
The last few weeks, I have watched hungrily as trees burst into bloom and flowers pushed out of the dirt. There are two trees outside our townhouse that are blanketed in white blossoms and another which has the most incredible little jet black flowers. There is so much hope in those flowers. And so much optimism in leaving the house without stockings on, just because it looks sunny enough that you might get away with it. There is a very real sense that the world is starting again and maybe, you can too.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year