So said my neighbour to me the other day, after I hadn't emerged from the house for over a week, and with great emphasis on the better. Knowing it was a rhetorical question, I just smiled and got in the car. She obviously knows better than I do.
Despite my annoyance at the inferences of her statement, tt's actually something I have pondered a lot about. I sometimes think to myself that yes, it does make me feel better. Sometimes I wonder if I suffer from S.A.D. and I do feel a sense of "lightening and brightening" when the sunnier weather comes, like we are finally free from the bleakness and harshness of a long, cold winter. I also have a lack of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, so the arrival of sunnier days means I can top this up naturally. Perhaps most significantly, the arrival of spring and summer, means I don't spend all day every day feeling cold and trying to cover up the slightest gap in my clothing, or wondering how I would get outside in the icy wind and slippery roads.
Yes, the sun's arrival is cause for celebration. It makes me happy to see the world starting to bloom again, birds cheeping and new beginnings all around. I can stick shorts and a t-shirt on and I can sow a few seeds in pots, and spend time in the garden with my pets. If I so wanted to, I can sit in the fresh air with a magazine and a glass of elderflower, or I can just simply put a hat and shades on and close my eyes, while listening to the gentle breeze and gently buzzing insects. (Though usually round my way this is quickly replaced with the sound of shrieking kids, roaring boy-racer engines and electric drills).
But there are many downsides. Not least the fact that, yes my neighbour saw me leave the house in my linen trousers and floaty top, carrying food to take with me to the family gathering I was about to attend, but this was the first time I had left the house in over a week. And what we both didnt know, was that following the "exertion" of attending this family gathering I would go backwards and spend a week only going from bed to sofa to bed again, feeling rotten and in pain. I can look out the window and see the sun shining, a beautiful blue sky, kids laughing in the street, people lighting barbecues, and my seedlings desperately needing potting on. I think about all the lovely veggie summer meals I might cook if only I were well enough to.
And this is the heartache of M.E. My family saw the old "me" - talking, and laughing, and enjoying nice fresh food, and playing with the little ones. They don't see the me that is in bed much of the time, that doesn't do anything, that feels terribly ill and weak, that feels guilty, despairing, frustrated and sad. No, they don't see that.
So yes the sunny weather makes me feel better, but there is danger in feeling better too, and when the sunny weather makes you feel worse, then the world seems a very cruel and unfair place.