Thursday, December 4, 2008

the ugly side to the season

So, we've chatted about traditions, thankfulness, love and relationships. But what about the ugly side to the season? For some it's not all roses and sunshine. In fact, for some, winter brings sadness, loneliness, heartache, depression. There are thousands who suffer from October to April. It starts with the lack of sunshine, our moods shift. Soon getting out of bed seems like a major chore. Light Therapy? Vitamin supplements? Exercise? Meds to help with depression? What really works?
I tend to lean towards exercise. It lifts my mood, and gives me more energy. Things start to look less dismal. Until I twist my back and pull a muscle, like now. I've thrown myself right back into the depressing abyss with very little effort. Ever have that feeling that someone has a voodoo doll of you and they're sticking pins in you and giggling like a fool? That's about how I feel lately. Every single time I get a handle on my winter blues I get stuck with another pin and I'm looking around wishing I could smack the person wielding the damn pin!
But there's more to this time of year than winter blues. There's the thousands of people who are watching the cute, loving Christmas specials and wishing they had someone to share the holidays with. Wishing they had somewhere to go for New Years, other than their lonely living room. Whether because of divorce or death or simply not finding that special someone, there are several who dread this time of year because it means they have to watch everyone celebrate, laugh, exchange presents and simply be merry.
What's the one thing that can help save a lot of us from feeling alone, sad, depressed...miserable? The internet. It's true. I can't tell you how many times I've been thankful for my online friends. You all keep me company when I feel like crawling under the covers and staying there until April. You've made me laugh, pound my firsts, roll my eyes, and just generally feel ALIVE. It's been a blessing, it really has! To me you are all my saviors. When I'm shut up in my house for hours a day, no sound except for the t.v. and the dogs snoring, I open an email and smile, because I remember that I'm not alone. I'm sharing coffee with hundreds of people all over the world and I do it in my pajamas. How cool is that?
So, do you get down this time of year? How do you handle it? What's your remedy? C'mon, misery loves company after all! :)


Regina Carlysle said...

Depressing gray weather brings depressing gray thoughts most of the time. What worries me most are those who are swamped by memories of loved ones who have passed, who are lonely. For those of us who have family and friends all around us, it's time to reach out. Especially at this time of year. Sometimes a simple phone call or a quick email can lift the spirits of someone and I try to do that. I might be something as easy as sending a falling down funny joke.

Infogypsy said...

Ditto on the Internet - I love my hundreds of friends out there - many of whom I've never seen in person. I also have a different view of winter, bearing in mind that we all have our own struggles with different things; I love winter and the grayness. Having grown up in the midwest with a lot of variety, when I moved to San Francisco for ten years, I so missed winters, as I missed hot summer nights.. I like to think of the Wallace Stephens poem about "The Mind of Winter" and it turns it all into a great poem or opera - I need rain to appreciate sunshine, I need sad to appreciate joy, and so on. Not everyone feels this way, I'm sure, as there are plenty of people who gladly move to Arizona or Florida to escape winter. Good writing today!
Lynn Romaine and

Terry Spear said...

Ohmigosh, I hurt my back too! Either planting trees or moving heavy boxes of Christmas decorations, something did it! And it's been killing me for four days straight:0
So what helps? Listening to Christmas music, writing on my new mss, shipping autographed books, and getting ready for a book signing. I'm giving out free Christmas gift bags and Hershey's kisses with the books to lift my spirits! :)

Faith V. Smith said...

Anne, I know what you mean. I despise the lack of daytime hours. I love light, go figure I write, but sunshine makes me feel alive. It's going to rain here in Georgia and that's okay.

I tend to grow depression during these dark months, it is always the holiday season and even though Rick's only been gone 2 years, this makes my third round of holidays without him.

What makes me better is like you said, my friends online and off who make me feel special, loved and alive.

You take care of that back. I think it's the weather, mine is being ugly again and interferes with my writing and computer time.

Hugs to you all!


Anne Rainey said...

Regina--I love it when a friend sends me something silly, just to get a laugh out of me. It always makes me feel special for having friends to begin with!

Lynn--I love your comments, though I admit, I'm reading the 'hot summer nights' part and wishing I were on a tropical beach somewhere right now! LOL

Terry--that's so strange! Mine's been hurting since Monday. First it was below my shoulder, now it's my low back. Sitting hurts, standing hurts...ugh. One of those Hershey kisses would sure cheer me up right now though! LOL Chocolate, it's not just for dinner anymore. :-P

Anne Rainey said...

Faith--Thanks for stopping by!! I don't usually have back pain, but I can tell you I have a new respect for those whole deal with this kind of thing all the time. I'm waiting on my husband to come home from his trip. He'll massage it and I'll be good as new! :)

Kelley Nyrae said...

I don't know what I'd do without my online friends. I count on them in so many ways. I feel so lucky to have them.

When I lived in Oregon it was always raining, gray and foggy this time of year. It used to depress me. Now in California I'm wishing for a little bit of that weather. Not too much, but some.

Genella deGrey said...

I don't have a certain time of year I get depressed - but I fight major PMS three to five days a month all year 'round. Ugh.

When I catch the amplification of anger and negativity and I'm growling at everybody and everything, I take a dose of the herbal supplement, St. John's Wort. It really takes the edge off.

If you want to try St. John's Wort, make sure you aren't allergic. I've heard some people are. You can usually get it at any grocery store (Target, Wal-Mart, Long's Drug store, etc.,) in the vitamin section.


Susan Macatee said...

Since I'm not a winter person, the weather this time of year is depressing, as well as the early darkness. Luckily, I've found a wonderful man to share my life with, my husband of 26 years. But I remember lots of holiday pasts when I was single and couldn't seem to find that special someone. It was soooo depressing!

Anne Rainey said...

Kelley--Does it get cold at all where you're at? I've never been to California, someday I hope to visit though.

Genella--that helps with mood shifts?

Anne Rainey said...

Susan--I rely on my husband in so many ways. I'd be lost without him!

Julie said...

With me it's not the lack of light that gets me. It's the cold, it gets in my joints and makes me ache.

You all don't worry, I'll be around to be silly and cheer you up. LOL

Amy Ruttan said...

Right now I'm struggling with severe morning sickness coupled with the lack of light making it muay difficult to function.

I try, mainly because I have to get my kid to school. Oh how I wish I could take her out of school for the winter so I didn't have traverse outside in a Canadian winter with morning sickness.

Anonymous said...

Well, you asked for ugly...

I hated Christmas since high school. I was the black sheep of the family and poor. My gifts were always substandard and no one wanted "poor jen" to draw their name in the gift exchange.
my baby was born in august and my sister decided we shouldn't buy gifts for the kids anymore, mind you, hers were in their 20's and I always managed to give them something.

I began dreading the season after halloween. then one year i broke free, i wrote cards to family members and told them I would be celebrating with my husband and son. my mom in law was an abusive drunk and my family are snobs. but I got to a point I didn't hate Christmas anymore. My inlaw died 2 years ago and I moved out of state.
I havent had a bad Christmas since. It's horrid, its hateful, but sometimes you have to come to the conclusion you can't force people to love you the way you want them to.

It will be the three of us, a simple dinner and hot chocolate as we open gifts they picked out ahead of time. (that way they get exactly what they want). Poor Jen will then write a Christmas letter for posterity about the year and give thanks for her happiness and wonderful family.

Be blessed. Love who you are, it may be the only way to give someone else a clue how to love as well.

Anne Rainey said...

Oh wow, I'm sorry Amy. I never had morning sickness, (thanking my lucky stars) but I do feel for you!

Absolutely wonderful advice Jennifer! I'm sorry it was like that for you! hugsss

Genella deGrey said...

Anne - I only use it when I'm experiencing the chemical imbalance due to the hormones.

With herbal supplements, you should only take them when necessary - not all the time. I hear your body can become immune to the healing effects.


Jen said...

You know, I don't think I get depressed because it's winter or Christmas time and there's no one special in my life to spend it with. My biggest thing is stress from my job. From about September until around the end of January I am so swamped I just don't know if I'll ever see the light at the end of the tunnel. Online friends are wonderful. But it just seems like I don't have much time in the day for that any more. When's the last time we talked on the phone Anne? You know I love you like a sister and I feel bad that we don't talk once a week like we used to. But this too shall pass and my workload will ease up a bit.

Someone sent me this clip today and honestly, if you're feeling down and need a good laugh, this is the clip to watch.

Anne Rainey said...

Genella--thanks for the tips! :)

Jen--I know this is a bad time for you. You get waylaid every year around this time. I have this visual in my head of you in your cubicle, buried under a mt. of computer monitors. LOL Little squeaks of 'help me?' like in The Fly. LOL

Okay, going to check out that clip now. If you liked it, I know I will! {{{hugs}}}

Jen said...

LOL - I loved The Fly. "I'm not getting worse... I'm getting better".

Yeah this time of year really sucks the big one for me and totally takes the fun out of Christmas for me. But hey, I have a job and can afford nerve pills when that day arrives. lol