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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coping With February


Last week, when my husband asked if I wanted to go visit friends in Cold Lake, AB., a 7 plus hour drive, the answer was, “I really don’t think so.” I couldn’t picture myself wanting to go anywhere in this weather.  But here we are, it is -26C outside.  All the back windows of the car are completely frosted up, and we’ve been on the road for over 2 hours already.  It’s only 8am.
A drive by picture, about 1/2 hour from Cold Lake, AB
We plan to arrive at our destination at about 2pm, 1pm AB time.  It’s great when the time change works in your favor.  Although, I doubt I’ll feel that way around 10pm tonight.
Anyway, back to my point of not wanting to go anywhere.  I would have chosen to stay home, and continue on with the depression I’ve been stuck in for about 6 weeks now.  I think most people would describe my state of mind as ‘light depression’.  But my husband, poor dear, gets the brunt of it, and he has been the one to help me see that I’ve been down in the dumps.  I suppress my anger, until he walks in the room, and then he had better not shake water off his hands all over my newly cleaned countertops.  It can be very difficult to see you are over-reacting when nothing seems to be going your way.
So, after telling him that I wasn’t in the mood for a road trip, he said, “Think of your friends, and what it would mean to them.” I called up one of them, and she got so excited.  This winter has been very hard for her too, and this gave her something to look forward to and plan for.  Her excitement over my company, made me feel instantly better, and I quickly changed my mind.
Having something to imminently look forward to, is important.  Spring just seems too far away to get excited about it.  Besides, always looking forward, especially too far forward leaves you with nothing to do in the moment.  Instead of looking at what the potential of winter holds, I have been spending most of my time remembering grass and dirt, flowers and leaves.  When I look outside at all the snow and the colder than cold temperatures, I start daydreaming about other places in the world I might be living.  I’ve even looked at properties.  All of this is futile behaviour that makes me feel trapped.
I’m able to talk about this now, because I’ve recently seen the light, so to speak, and have once again been making the most of where I live.  I’ve gone out with friends, took up snow shoeing, and most importantly, planning this road trip has made me think of someone other than myself.
I should skip forward a year in my calendar, put up a red flag, and ask myself a few questions.  Questions such as, “Have you been getting outside?”; “Have you been in touch with friends?”; “Have you been at least trying to be a bit creative?”. It is simply amazing to me how the simple things I have always done naturally do not occur to me when I’m feeling down.
The other really important thing that kept this bout with depression on the light side has been my blog friends.  Writing for myself helps, but I have really enjoyed keeping up with everyone else.  Reading about your daily ups and downs has helped me keep perspective.  So a big Thank-you to all of you who so trustingly share your feelings and lives with everyone.

17 comments:

  1. I deal with seasonal depression too and February is tough. I have put my computer so that I look over the top of the screen out to daylight and that helps a bit because before it faced a wall. I don't really mind snow but we have been so cloudy and I crave blue skies. Like you creative projects help.

    I am one of your followers and I blog too at cozyatoz.blogspot.com and group2020.blogspot.com. I have you in my circles on G+ too.

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    1. I also moved my computer upstairs to a brighter window. The other thing I did was buy myself a fabulous tablet which makes it even easier to connect with all my blogland buddies.

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  2. Oh, it's the winter blues ... it isn't all of the snow and cold that does it, it is the grey skies ... the constant, dull greyness of winter. I have to work very hard against getting the blues in the winter. I so enjoy a bright sun and some color, any color would do. My dog on the other hand loves winter and she loves the snow and having to go out with her has made me enjoy it more myself. Seeing her delight in running and jumping and throwing the snow in the air ... I can't stay down when that happens. So I agree ... you have seen the light and managed to get outside of yourself. (Thank you to a loving husband who wants to help rather than exacerbate the blueness) and good for you, because it is not easy to throw off the blues. I think you must be a very strong person inside. I hope you have a great time with your friends and when you come home, while you are busy having a good time, Spring will creep up on you.

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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    1. I don't even want to know where I would be without my beautiful dog. He just loves our walks, and with the new snowshoes, I'm more encouraged than ever to go out more.
      We are having a nice time here in Cold Lake, my husband is cooking us breakfast, and our friend is making some of his delicious coffee. Then I get to go out for more coffee with my girlfriend who lives right across the street!

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  3. Do you remember the Frog and Toad story about spring being just around the corner? I often think about it at this time of year. the winter blahs are tough and I think we need to be easier on ourselves. I'm constantly beating myself up about not getting much done, but what is wrong with sitting in front of the fire with a good book for hours? I think the key is to enjoy the day regardless of conditions. you found things to give you pleasure and i think having those questions ready for next year is a good idea. I think I will write them at the top of the 2015 calender.

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    1. I do know the story, and I agree with you, we need to give up on beating ourselves up so much. Just enjoy the day for what it has to offer.

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  4. I fully agree having something to look ahead to is the ticket, Andrea :) I suffered for years from depression, but starting to blog 18 months ago and forcing myself to enter creative challenges has been a lifesaver, literally. The low points have been less intense and of shorter duration. I give credit to the incredibly supportive, vibrant and positive blogging community. Right now my bag is jewelry design, and these folks are awesome :) I am married to a big outdoors "stay active" sports dude, but trying his way wasn't working for me. Finding an enjoyable INDOOR activity I could blog about was just what I needed. And the bonus? I barely notice if is summer or winter: anytime is a good time to be creative and connect online (plus, as we like to joke with our Aussie pals, it's always summer somewhere!)

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    1. Yep, it's always summer somewhere. As a matter of fact, the very next comment is from one of those lucky girls. I get so envious at times. Then I remember, I'm absolutely terrified of their wildlife!

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  5. You poor thing, it must be hard to spend so much time in a cold place, luckily winter in Sydney never get to cold.

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    1. My husband actually has family in Australia. I think maybe we should take them up on their offer one of these years, and go spend one of our winters over there just touring about.

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  6. Thanks so much for popping by with kind comments. I hear you with this cold Alberta weather. Sheesh, I just hole up and only go out when I have to. I did watch the northern lights last evening, and was thankful I looked out the window at that lucky moment in time. Here's to summer, can't get here soon enough for me either.

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    1. I saw the lights too, not bad at all. We were even treated to more on yesterday morning's drive. We had about an hour in the very dark.

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  7. I know exactly how you feel, depression is horrid and it is hard to get yourself moving again but so worth it when you do.
    Have a great time.
    Gillx

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    1. Yes, once you're out, you so fully appreciate what 'good' feels like.

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  8. I am guessing the depression might have to do with minimal light, have you thought of getting one of those light boards and sitting in front of it everyday for a spell? They help so much. I am glad you have gone on this trip, glad you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, depression can be so scary. I would have your hormones and thyroid checked. When me hormones are off I get incredible mood swings and want to kill everyone who even talks to me. When they are evened out it is smooth sailing for me.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

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  9. Ahhhhhhhhh - I think this time of year, and this seemingly never-ending winter, has a LOT of people feeling like you. Hang in there, gal - I'm glad you got out to see your friends...sometimes you've just GOT to make that push! Hope the week holds wonderful things in store...Tanya

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  10. Hello Andrea, this has been a rough winter for allot of us, my husband has depression that pops up more when we have many days with no sunshine-it's a tough one this year.
    So glad my hand dyes arrived safely-have fun creating Kathy

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