Rainy days and Vitamin D: winter in Vancouver
Yesterday I felt like winter might almost be over. I saw my first crocus; a tiny pop of purple just around the corner from my apartment on English Bay. When I took Freddie out for his late-night walk I spotted daffodils, tightly wrapped in their buds, waiting for that warmer breath of spring air to tempt them to show off their nodding butter-yellow heads.
I went home with a smile on my face. I’d made it. Got through my first west coast winter, which had been so much harder than I’d imaged it could have been – and it was mostly all my own fault.
Everyone told me that the rain and grey skies would be hard. “Take Vitamin D” urged locals, but I smiled to myself and thought well, maybe they needed supplements, but me, with my well-balanced diet? Surely not. And then came the endless days of non-stop torrential rain, serious rain – we think we have it bad in the UK, but London has around half the annual rainfall of Vancouver. HALF! And then there’s the weeks of the sun never really making an appearance thanks to late rising around 830am and early setting around 430pm and the low lying cloud covering any rays.
I felt tired all the time. Grumpy. Peevish. And then came the day when I didn’t want to get out of bed at all. I just lay there, scowling at the gloom and feeling utterly hopeless. I didn’t want to get up. What was the point? What was the point in anything?
Something about this dismal state of affairs rang a bell, I could remember reading up something about the symptoms of D3 deficiency. The exhaustion, the depression, yes – maybe this was a chemical imbalance, not me losing faith in life. I dragged myself out of bed to the nearest London Drugs (not being sarcastic – that is the name of a chain of Canadian chemists!) and bought a pack of liquid D3 and a multi-vitamin. Took a shot of both and went back to bed.
Around six hours later something rather amazing happened. I felt like that scene in Pulp Fiction where Uma gets a shot of adrenaline to her heart. My eyes flew open, I felt flooded with energy, I felt happy and vital and alive again. And that is how it’s been ever since. I take my vits three times a week and even though Vancouver tricked me with it’s whole ‘oh look, it’s spring‘ thing yesterday (it’s beyond revolting again today), I feel fine. And more than that, I feel like I got through a rite of passage. Spring is on its way, the flowers are making their way through the cold hard earth and now, like all good Vancouverites, I know that I need regular shots of D3 to get my head back above ground too.