Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 2085 - The Winter Blues

Do you get the winter blues?



If you've been reading me for a few years then you'll know I get the winter blues.  Apparently (according to my doctors notes) I can suffer from depression like symptoms although I've never actually been given a "depression" diagnosis. I think the notes actually say "depressive tendencies".  Yeah, that sounds about right.



The thing about my "depressive tendencies" is that they've been around for a long time but I refuse to give into them.

I've been on anti-depressants before to treat both my migraines (stress related) and fibromyalgia (serotonin based) but never has a doctor prescribed me anti-depressants because of a depression diagnosis.  Interesting!

Yet there is still that little note in the margin of my file that says "depressive tendencies".

Funnily enough anti-depressants don't work for me.

Well, maybe they do, but I don't like who I am when I'm on them.

You see, they make me kind of hyper-manic I guess.  (That's not a diagnosis, that's just my observation.)  Life becomes too damn good and too damn easy and too damn exciting.  My feet are not planted on the ground and I become irresponsible to a degree.

So when it comes to my "depressive tendencies" I tend to work through them on my own.  Which of course means they must be just "tendencies" because if I actually did have depression it is my understanding that I wouldn't be able to pick myself up.  It would be all encompassing and overpowering.

My "depressive tendencies" mostly present themselves in winter.  Which is yet another reason I'll need to move north to a warmer climate at some point in the future (added to the fibromyalgia pain).  The winter blues have a way of grabbing hold of me and pinning me down which makes me heavy.  It takes a lot of extra effort to go about my day.

A quote from one of my previous blog posts on the issue:

If you are a client of mine, or if you see me speak in public, or even if I am your cheerleading coach, you may not realise it.  I can pull myself together for short bursts. But on the whole I am struggling.

The reason I try to hide it is not because I'm ashamed of it (or perhaps secretly I am) but because I don't like to give in to it.  I don't like to give it the energy it is demanding.  

The power of the mind is an incredible thing and to give into this winter monster is not in my nature.  

Instead I find ways to bring sunshine into my cloudy days.  It may be as simple as drinking from a Hawaiian tea cup, wearing a brightly coloured scarf, reading a travel brochure, watching family movies of our tropical get-aways, eating light and healthy summer foods, drinking a tropical cocktail, planning a big sunny winter junket or even a quick weekend trip to the coast to walk along a beach on a wintery blue sky day.   

I also do quite a bit of personal development in winter.  I read inspiring books, watch motivational videos, visualise my dreams and say my affirmations.

It all works to keep my head above water.

Writing this post is not something I would normally do.  Because by writing it I have given my "depressive tendencies" energy.  By admitting to it I am giving it space in my mind which can shift my mindset to that of cloudy despair.  

My day-to-day challenges feel so much greater in winter.  I am less resilient.  

I must confess, I struggle with the winter blues.

Do you get the winter blues?

Do you have "depressive tendencies"?

How do you keep your head above water?


Note:  This post is about me and my personal journey with the winter blues. it is not a post to suggest people can manage depression without drugs or that a Hawaiian tea cup can cure it. I am not trying to make light of depression or depressive tendencies nor gloss over it.  It really is just a diary entry about me and where I'm at today.   

32 comments :

  1. I remember reading about people feeling depression-like symptoms during winter and I have to say, I can see it. I work long shifts and often don't see much daylight at all in winter. It's cold, the weather is miserable and everyone gets the sniffles. It makes sense that some of us will be more affected than others. Good on you for recognising and managing your symptoms in the way that works for you!

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    1. Yeah. They say we shouldn't get SADS in Australia because apparently we have more than enough daylight hours (unlike for example the UK) but I beg to differ ...

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  2. Winter Blues is definitely a thing. It has to do with spending more time indoors because of the cold, so we get less sun. We're also more likely to get sick during winter. I'm glad that I live in a tropical climate, so exercise and getting outside becomes more likely in winter because I'm not going to get burnt to a crisp after 10 minutes. It's good that you're aware of how you feel during winter, because it does mean you can nip it in the bud before it gets to the point of full blown depression.

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    1. Yeah, that's right. I think the Canberra cold is so sudden these days. It's like we are fully in summer and then we get about 2 weeks of transition weather in Autumn then BOOM we suddenly get hit with freezing temps. We just don't seem to be eased into it anymore.

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  3. No - I have happy winter clothes (my fab handpainted stockings), the crazy cat shoes, groovy gumboots and I wear a scarf everyday - none of the things I can do in summer. I also plan chilly getaways where we sit by the fire and walk outside with beanies and coats...I also switch G&T's for Negroni's so there's enough wins with the season change to keep happy (however, I wish our endless washing would dry in the sunshine instead of taking 5 days to dry or have to go in the dryer!!)

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    1. I have to agree with the clothes Lydia. I really do love winter clothes. The boots, jackets and scarves. I do love that about the cold.

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  4. I don't really like the cold. My feet are permanently freezing in Winter but I cope best with my moods by exercising every day. I am finding it easier to exercise in cooler weather than when it's scorching hot and humid in Summer. I like some of your strategies. Might have to try them. Glad you've found what works for you. xo

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    1. Exercise is good. I haven't been for ages because my normal time is 6.00am and it's been below freezing for weeks now. But having said that my daughter talked me into a 5km walk around the lake at 5.45am today (we were lucky to have a very balmy 5 degrees instead of the -2 we'd had previously) and I feel great!! So yeah, I need more exercise...

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  5. I struggle with the Black Dog from time to time and yes, the weather definitely can influence that ...

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    1. Yes it can. Damn weather! Influences so many things. I need to move north to your climates I think Janet!

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  6. I love Winter for the most part but I do have depressive tendencies due to circumstances in my life - like around my birthday or my mums birthday (who died when I was 21) and anything the brings up feelings of loneliness. But i have never been on anti-depressants and prefer a good book to lose myself in and distract me and some natural remedies. So I guess you could call it 'circumstantial depression' and it is more blues than anything full blown.

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    1. I can totally understand that 'circumstantial depression' would be a thing. Yes. Agree with trying natural remedies and positive psychology to get back on track.

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  7. I went into a bag shop a few years ago and wanted a new winter bag. But they were all brown and black. I asked the shop assistant if they were getting any colours in soon. She said no, because it's winter and dark colours are what's done to match dark days. I said "wouldn't you want bright ones to brighten up the days?"

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    1. So true Vanessa! Good call. Hey, if you're keen on colourful handbags then head on over to www.sash-belle.com.au Great colours this year!

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  8. I would also describe myself as having depressive tendencies. I certainly have lately. I use similar small day to day strategies to those that you do. Hope that you feel better some sunny day soon x
    Dani

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  9. We had a year living in Canada when I definitely suffered from the cabin fever blues. I think my depressive tendencies were a recurrence of the depression I suffered during infertility. I was stuck in the house with a 1 year old baby and it was wet and cold most of the time - funny how it was the end of a long journey - we finally had our two beautiful kids through adoption and were living the dream of a year in Canada. Perhaps it was a bit of exhaustion after such a journey. I pulled myself up though - skiing, enjoying the snow, visits by family, starting to make new friends and finally some brief sunny summer weather had me making the most of a wonderful opportunity. Take care of yourself.

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    1. I would imagine SADS would be pretty prevalent in Canada. That is quite a journey you were on ... and so incredibly emotional. I really feel for people who have a tough time creating their families. So happy you have children born from your heart through adoption :)

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  10. Hang in there, Leanne. You've got a beautiful outlook on life and your honesty in sharing all the facets of your life is inspiring too.

    SSG xxx

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    1. Thanks SSG. Yep, definitely hanging in there! Wearing a lovely colourful cardigan today to bring some sunshine back into my day.

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  11. "If you are a client of mine, or if you see me speak in public, or even if I am your cheerleading coach, you may not realise it. I can pull myself together for short bursts. But on the whole I am struggling."

    I think I can relate to this the most. As you know I shared a snippet of my health issues on the blog. It will be strange for a lot of people to see because for the most part it's an invisible illness that I also hide well.

    Thinking of you.

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    1. I really resonated with your blog post too Raych. I guess we've got to let our guards down occasionally ... it's part of being authentic (I still struggle with that bit though ... it's hard to let go of my "Little Miss Perfect".)

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  12. Yes this is me. I struggle desperately in this weather.... Limited sunshine, limited outdoor fresh air and too much fake indoor heat...

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  13. I struggle with the dark, with missing my morning walk because it's dark, with leaving home in the dark & arriving home in the dark. I fake it too- a scarf here or there, a lunchtime walk, playing music from my "happy" list.

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    1. Yes! The dark!! My daughter and I went for a walk around the lake this morning at it was dark for the entire 5km walk. We didn't even get to see the sunrise! If it wasn't for her fun and lively chatter it would have been miserable.

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  14. I don't think you have given into your depressive tendencies by writing about them Leanne - I think you've acknowledged them and put them in a box where they belong. It is a powerful thing to know what you are fighting and even braver and more powerful to name them, face them and tackle them head on x

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    1. Putting them in a box ... I like that! I'll be sure to keep the lid on (even if it is one of those groovy transparent lids so we can see the contents).

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  15. Although I am medicated for clinical depression, I definitely still get the Winter blues. I like the way you describe it, as 'less resilient', that's what it feels like. Things you can normally bounce back from sting that little bit more in Winter. I believe it is actually a 'thing'- Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD which is quite fitting ;)

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    1. That's interesting that you still get the winter blues. Huh! It seems they can strike anyone! "Sting" is a good word for it .. yep, things sting a little more in winter. You're right.

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  16. You'll think I'm crazy but I love winter! I guess winter in Brisbane is pretty mild but I love it! I can actually exist without dripping with sweat. I can sleep all cosy under a doona! I can do gardening without being cooked! Our summers are so hot and humid and go for so long that our winters are a wonderful relief! As for getting the blues - yes I get those but usually not during winter! Hope you can kick your winter blues to the curb Leanne! ;-) xo

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    1. I think winter in Qld would be a good season for sure ...

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I love hearing your thoughts! Keep them rolling in :)

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