The Winter Blues

Well, now that I’ve landed safely on the other side of 60, it’s time for the winter blues to hit, and they have. The mantle of depression has settled softly on my shoulders like a dusting of snow, and I find myself alternately wistful and sad, and determined not to let it get in the way of everyday life. I also find it more difficult to shower and do laundry, self-care tasks that I move through slowly, like I’m wading through peanut butter. Everything takes so much effort that it’s almost not worth throwing myself against that wall to make myself do it.

On the other hand, I’m able to enjoy things and appreciate what’s good in life. I’ve been in a mild funk since the holidays actually, but I’ve been able to keep up appearances for the most part, and I think I’m doing a good job of not taking my angst out on my loved ones. I haven’t even talked to Ben or Clint about the depression; it’s just not all that important. I’m in no danger whatsoever, if I think of suicide at all it’s just to marvel at how much I DON’T want to harm myself. I know without a doubt that life is worth living, and mine isn’t over by a long shot.

Strangely enough, I like to analyze my depression like this. I always learn from it, and I’m thankful to be self-aware enough to know that it will pass. It’s just part of being bipolar. I was explaining this to my sister the other day, because she (understandably) worries whenever I’m in a mood swing, but this one is nothing to be concerned about. It’s only worthy of discussion because it’s mid-winter, a time of year I absolutely hate with a purple passion, and these things are as inevitable as the tide. I can take meds and use my HappyLight and dream of lying on a beach all day, but I can’t quite get past the fact that it IS winter and the only cure for that is time. January has like 793 days in it, and February’s only saving grace is that it’s short. Though it’s been relatively mild and dry for an Oregon winter and we’re gaining daylight every day, it’s just not enough to stave off the blues.

The companion animal to my depression is, of course, anxiety. I often wake up in the mornings with a jerk, thinking I’ve got to tend to something urgently, only to realize that I’m just anxious over NOTHING. I have my insecurities, but this goes beyond them…this is just aimless anxiety, with no purpose other than to make me feel even more insecure. I worry over the damnedest things, like cooking dinner (a Herculean task when I’m down), or whether someone is angry with me, or even what to write here. It’s literally crazy-making. Today our TV has been off all day due to an outage somewhere, and here I am already getting frazzled because what if it’s still out on Sunday, when the Super Bowl is on? I guess I could just go to the bar and watch it there, but that involves dealing with a gazillion people who are drinking heavily and getting obnoxious before the game is half over, etc., etc., etc.

See how I made a problem out of something that hasn’t even happened yet? That’s depression.

But it’s good to compare and contrast this with past depressive episodes I’ve had. I still have a sense of humor about all this despite my sorry state; at other times, I’ve had to fight hard just to get out of bed in the morning. I sleep more than I probably should and definitely am doing some emotional eating, but that’s better than feeling like I want to do a swan-dive off a hotel balcony. I have the energy of a slug and it takes an act of God to get me off the sofa, but I can still go out and enjoy a good meal and conversation.

I see Dr. Goodenough next month and of course will mention this; it’s not distressing enough to require a med adjustment or an extra appointment. Besides, it’s only going to be a couple more months until March Madness sets in, and this will all be in the past. Haha!

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

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