The Winter Soldier

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. It’s winter and I’m in my customary funk, not really depressed but definitely not my usual shining self (haha). I just had my birthday; I’m 61 and astonished that I’ve made it to this age. It’s funny, when you’re young you never think you’re going to be 40 or 50, let alone 60-something, and when you’re older you wonder how you made it through 90% of your life without the wisdom you have now. That’s not to say you’ve got it all together at this late-middle-aged-pre-elderly time of life, but unless you’re a complete dunderhead, you’re gaining valuable experience that unfortunately most young people don’t pay attention to until after you’re gone. That’s when the light bulb comes on and your kids say “Oh, THAT’S what Mom meant”…and you don’t even get to gloat.

But back to winter, which as you know is my absolute least favorite season. It’s wet and gloomy every day for weeks on end; it’s still getting dark by 5:30; and no matter how “mild” the weather is, it’s still too cold for me. Right now it’s probably 55 degrees outside, which is comparatively warm for Oregon winters, but inside I’m bundled up by the pellet stove for most of the evening. I wake up feeling down every morning in spite of the meds and the HappyLight, and with the stress level in the house being what it is, it’s all I can do to get out of the recliner I sleep in. It’s the only place where nothing hurts—not the knees that are full of arthritis, not my back which has been screwed up since I was 14, not even my broken (but still healing) ankle. I like to lie there enjoying the weightless feeling as I distract myself from my low mood with my phone.

As a result, I’m usually not officially up till around noon. Of course, I stay awake till the wee hours as is my norm, and I can always get up much earlier if there’s a reason to, like hair appointments or church. My mood always improves once I get up and perform my morning routine, so that’s why I’m not too worried about this particular episode (if you can even call it that). It’s just getting past that initial “I feel like crap and I don’t wanna adult today” that’s difficult.

Now, don’t worry about me. I know when I’m in real trouble, and this ain’t it. Everybody has to endure some discomfort in life, you can’t medicate it ALL away, and sometimes you just have to be brave and soldier on. There’s a lot going on around here, and my previously simple, low-stress lifestyle is, well, not so simple and low-stress anymore. Too many components have been added and none of them are good, so I think it’s understandable that I’m struggling a bit. This isn’t the kind of thing you go running to your doctor for, you have to buck up and know that this, too, shall pass. I haven’t experienced suicidal ideation in over five years and I’m not starting with it now. Since Will died, I’ve never felt a moment of it, no matter how much I was hurting or how bleak my outlook was. I can only imagine one situation that might trigger SI, and that’s becoming homeless. It’s my worst fear; even though I’m currently safe and warm, I can’t trust it entirely. I came too close to homelessness to ever feel 100% safe.

And, of course, it IS winter, which magnifies all my woes. I swear, January must have at least 73 days in it, it drags on so, and February isn’t much better even if it is technically a shorter month.

In the meantime, I hear my bed—well, chair—calling my name. Thanks for “listening” to my whining, y’all. My mood will rise along with the crocuses in just a few more weeks. You can count on it.

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.

5 thoughts on “The Winter Soldier

  1. Yes, winter really sucks. I understand you want to stay curled up till noon during this season. Hope you had a happy birthday regardless. I’m so glad my birthday is in June, so the weather is usually warm and sunny.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You made me think of the Gospel song “We shall rise (Hallelujah!) when you said “rise,” we have that to look forward to, too! Though I’m not known to be perfectly optimistic either lol. Been in the 30’s/40’s/50’s here now and then so that is an automatic low for me too!

    Liked by 1 person

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