Shadow Days


I haven’t planned this out, as if, so I’ll write it as I feel it.

Some days are shadow days. For no immediately obvious reason, they just are. And this is one of them for me. As a fairly regular writer of blog posts I obviously and mostly write about things that interest me and therefore might interest you. This is no different. None of us, I suspect, are happy all the time.

It’s not that I’ve been unhappy in a dramatic way today. No trauma, no accidents, no bad news, not much at all has happened. In a not much at all kind of way. At other times and in other moods I’d call today ‘ordinary’ and rejoice quietly in its ordinariness. But today ordinary has lurked around the edges of depression, a place I’ve often been familiar with in what’s now a fairly long life.

I am so tired and I so need the quiet rest that is this day.

And I know well now that these shadow days are not a disaster. I know well now that there is, in fact, no light without shade such as this. No bright sunny days without these shadow days.

Music often helps. So I’ve been listening to some old friends. ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Surf’s Up’ by the Beach Boys.

“The Sunday morning gospel goes good with the soul,
There’s blues, folk and country and rock like a Rolling Stone”


Which have helped. Helped remind me it’s just a shadow day. No big deal. They happen sometimes. Always have and no doubt always will. Maybe it’s that way for you too?

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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  1. So true Ronny. One of my favourite Beach Boys albums for a “black dog day” is “Friends” I bought it as soon as it came it (from Freemans dept store, Wavertree Road in 1968)
    Always does it for me! Do you have it?

  2. Yes, Ronnie. I’m with you, as I’m having one of those days too, but due to a problem. Usually I’m a “glass half full” person, but hey, as you say, life can’t be all sunshine all the time. We wouldn’t appreciate the good times otherwise would we? Hang on in there. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

  3. These days are part of what life is about. There is a part of Hermann Hesse’s _Wandering_ on these kind of days that has always impressed me: “Always, over and over, I will have to pay for my loved and lovely life with days like these.” The whole of his essay is here: – I think it is very beautiful and true, as is what you have written here. And I think it’s important to remember that it’s part of life, and not a pathology or sickness to have such “shadow days”.

    1. I remember Hermann Hesse, so thanks, I’ll read that.

      And yes, I entirely accept and value these days. Sometimes I’ll find there was something I needed to think about and these days, and the walking I will instinctively do, give me the time and peace I needed for the thinking. Other times and more often there is no reason for the shadow at all, any more than there’s a reason for the days when all is right for me in my world. It’s life, all of it.

    1. Yes, The Kinks would be good. Always are.

      In fact I’ve spent the day in the park reading most of a Ruth Rendell book. Exquisite writing and social observation helps too.

  4. Ah, sorry to hear but glad to hear that you’ve only skirted round the edges of deeper greys. Like you, I acknowledge the ups balance downs and usually exceed them on the scales. My dad always used to tell me that the price of being on top of the world was occasionally being under heavy black clouds (in my case). I’m afraid the last few weeks have been a bit more than just shadow days here but a time off Twitter and out of politics has at last been paying dividends – that and going out into hils and fields and feeling the ghosts of the Brontes at work … the real natural world really helps. i’m interested you play music, I can’t stand music when I’m feeling at all down. Maybe I should try it. I hope you’re now travelling upwards, anyway. Brave of you to share it and thank you – I for one felt better for you doing so.
    PS: Agree with Helen – I like the older Reginald Hill books tho – the later ones get a bit self-conscious IMO, but do you read Ian Rankin? Superb. I always read crime fiction when I am too scared to let myself think!

    1. Thanks Mary and sorry to hear you’ve been suffering yourself. I don’t know that I have ‘skirted round the edge’ of it really? More likely I wrote that as part of trying to convince myself it wasn’t too bad. But it was bad enough.

      A quiet weekend of walking on my own, that’s continued through Monday with Sarah has, as it’s turned out, revealed a particular reason for this depression. Which is good as I can now go and do something about it? Whereas without the depression I might have carried on convincing myself something was all right really, which would only have led to much more self-anger later on.

      I’m glad it helps you for me to write about depression. Though the blog’s certainly not a diary it is a fairly full picture of the things that most interest me and that happen to me. So I thought it would be reasonable for this full picture to show that my life contains shadow days too, that I am not always happy, and that that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The quiet weekend I’ve had will probably have a much deeper impact on my life than if I’d filled the days up with all the social things available to me in Liverpool the last few days. I needed time to think, and I took it.

      The music that helps me in these times must be old music, music that’s been there with me before. Most days I love listening to music I haven’t heard before, particularly the good wide tastes of Cerys Matthews and Lauren Laverne on 6 Music. But for these days its The Beach Boys or Joni Mitchell. Gentle, reflective and good tunes.

      And I love Ian Rankin’s writing. I’m always eager for his next one as I’ve always read everything else by then.

      If a walk would ever help then let me know?

  5. Thanks to everyone who took part in discussing these ‘shadow days’ and the general subject of depression with me. And for all the support on here, Twitter and face to face. The listening helps so much, as does the not telling me what to do, but helping me gently along the way to working out what I’m most comfortable with myself. Things have been done now, next things are being discussed, and for me, for now, these particular shadow days are over. Thank you x

  6. Lovely post. I’ve been feeling this for the past few weeks, off and on. There was a catalyst to it originally, but now it’s just something that’s coming and going. It happens. As I said on twitter, I personally think it’s better to let these things pass, if there’s no reason for them. To make sure we’re safe, comfy and maybe with something nice to keep us company. As in your case, The Beach Boys, for me it might be an episode of a show or looking at old photos.
    Actually, thinking about it like that, ‘Shadow Days’ really aren’t so bad.
    :) x

    1. Thank you Cally. I suspect there’s usually a catalyst. And don’t understand how usually we can just deal with whatever that is. Then some days we just can’t. Which is when we need our friends, our photos and, of course, The Beach Boys. x

    1. Thanks Sally, there’s far too much of a tendency now to socially broadcast how perfect your life is. And for it to be somehow unacceptable to say ‘I’m unhappy and I don’t know what to do.” Well I don’t think that’s any good for any of us.

  7. Excellent observations by a host of eloquent philosophers on this blog. I concur with all that was said. The Beach Boys do it for me, too, when, not if, I start to feel down. My spirits lift slowly but surely out of the pit because of the familiar, comforting tunes. x

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