Tag Archives: Seasonal Affective Disorder

So what’s going on with Colette?

I feel like this post is overdue, if only that a longer post of some kind has been brewing in my semi-subconscious for awhile now. There’s a lot of different things I’d like to write about but rather than overwhelm myself (a tendency of mine), I think I will just write and see what happens.

Two or three years ago – I could figure out which if I really¬† had to – I went into winter feeling a sense of dread.¬† Although I am well-versed in the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I had no recollection of ever having felt that specific emotion in regard to the season before that year. I think it was because I have this unresolved problem in my life that has greatly impacted me, particularly¬†quality of life. I have never named the problem in the blog and I don’t want or need to. (No one is dead, dying, or anything like that.) Two years ago I made real strides toward my attitude about the problem; if I couldn’t make it GO AWAY (it’s not under my control to do so), what could I do? I found better ways of coping and my attitude – while not delightful on this issue – has improved. That dread I felt two or three years ago, specifically as winter came on, has not returned.

I am a great believer in¬†controlling what you can control in any given situation. (Yeah, yeah, I know people say you can always choose your attitude, but that’s a lot easier said than done, grumble, grumble.) In 2018 and again in 2019, I set “kinda sorta New Year’s resolutions” for myself, all things well within my control, and I have decidedly benefited from them. (I haven’t said much about the progress of my 2019 goals but while I haven’t nailed all of them down, I have done a lot, and maybe I’ll get to that in another post.) There’s things I’m doing all the time – eating well, staying in shape, maintaining an orderly life/home for a few – but the resolutions were/are about doing very specific things in addition to the “regular stuff.”¬† They force me to focus. To not drift. To¬†challenge myself a bit.

I daresay I have a little kick in my step recently and almost feel if not excited, then almost welcoming, toward winter. I live where there are seasons, and while I adore summer above all, there are things to enjoy in each season, or to try to find to enjoy. A fault of mine is a tendency to believe winter comes immediately on the heels of summer. Namely, if summer is over, everything is about to go to hell in a hand basket. Not so! I paid attention to fall this year. I even liked it. (You can keep your sun-dropping-out-of-the-sky-at-4:30pm however. And I despise being cold, like Jan-Feb cold.)

A lot of things in my life are going right or at least are not going badly. There’s much to say for that, even though I, like many people, are quick to see what is wrong and perhaps to give it too much weight. The perfect life is not coming for me. I’m not waiting any more for it or any other pie-in-the-sky reality.¬†This is my life. Please know these thoughts aren’t related to anybody else or social media (nowadays any malaise and dissatisfaction people feel is often attributed to comparing oneself to other people, especially those viewed on social media). I guess what I’m saying is that in younger years I was guilty, as are many, of¬†waiting for things to happen in my life that would provide satisfaction or happiness or something along those lines. And this: if you live enough decades your life is bound to meander all around, metaphorically if not literally. You never reach a point and¬†coast.¬†I understand that now and more or less accept it.

When your energy is getting sucked up by bad stuff or nonsense, you don’t have enough leftover to better yourself or your life.¬† At least I don’t. Maybe that’s obvious but I don’t think I always understood that. I have more energy and initiative lately. For years, I think I’ve actively been clearing the nonsense from my life anywhere I can. I was always a straight-shooter but I have less and less tolerance for bullsh*t. I used to more or less jump when anybody wanted my attention or time. Over the years I trained myself to respond differently.¬† I freely give lots of my time and attention when I think it’s deserved. Or appreciated. Or worthwhile. I’m not too busy. I’ve never been “too busy.” Never wanna be either. That said, I have bumped myself to the top of my list. I pay attention to my needs first. Some of us don’t come by that naturally. It’s taken awhile.

 

 

Little Things That Help Me Get Through Winter

I’m a summer girl, which I’ve noted before. When I was younger, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) wasn’t in the common vernacular. Not like today. When I first heard of it and was quite sure it affected me, I checked several relevant books out of the library and incorporated ideas from them into my life, including avoiding the temptation to hibernate, getting outdoors for whatever daylight you could, exercising, and using bright, cheerful colors and plentiful lights in your home (on this front, I say “pah!” to sitting around in the dark conserving energy and electricity).

Doing these things helped a lot. In addition, I rely on other small things that help me pass the winter and make it more enjoyable.

Healthy, home-made baked goods.

I love breads, carbs, etcetera. If there were no bad repercussions I’d happily eat cake, pie, cupcakes, eclairs, cookies, croissants, donuts, and – you get the idea. However I’m committed to good nutrition and a pretty healthy diet. By making my own stuff, I can have it both ways.
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Footie Socks

Are these a for-girls-only thing? I don’t know if men get to wear these; I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in “masculine,” somber colors. These little socks for lounging at home are the best! They are SO soft.
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Favorite Hats

I have quite a few winter hats but I like some better than others. The little black one is my go-with-anything hat. Sometimes I put a pretty pin on the brim to snazz it up.
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A Great Scarf

I get a lot of compliments on this. I picked it up for $3 or $4 a couple years ago at a Ross store. It was between this and another color. But this was it. It makes me happy and goes with everything. I get lots of compliments on it and am often asked if I made it. I sense women would like me to answer “yes I made it” and I could probably make something like this, but I didn’t.
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Bird Watching & Feeding

Seeing wildlife go about the business of their lives is somehow encouraging to me. They are a reminder of the old “life goes on” no matter what.
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House Plants

I keep a bunch of houseplants. It helps to have green, growing things around. I don’t have optimum plant conditions so I rely on hardier types. They clearly don’t much care for winter either, so I feel like we tough it out together.
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Colorful Gloves

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Pretty Tealight Holders (and Tealights)

I like candles but have come to predominantly use tealights. They’re protected from drafts and less likely to burn your house down. I wouldn’t say you can forget about them but they don’t require the hyper-vigilance and fearful caution pillars and tapers do. I’ve acquired a couple great little holders from yard sales too. I like ’em with character, not boring.
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The Modern Equivalent of Sitting By the Fire

Here’s another thing you can’t/shouldn’t leave unattended but I love using this little heater when I’m staying put. It’s the only heater I use in my bedroom and I keep it next to a comfy chair for reading, watching DVDs, etcetera. The principle behind a little space heater (this one is only 8″ tall) is to heat YOU, not so much the room at large, and that it does.
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Cocoa

Special Dark doesn’t have the same level of antioxidants as regular cocoa, but I don’t really care. This one is so dark & rich.
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Herbal Tea That Actually Has Flavor

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A Stack of Books and DVDs from the Library (If You’re Old-School)

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A Brightly Colored, Snuggly Blankie

I don’t know where all the inexpensive fleece blankets came from when they started being everywhere but wherever it was, I’m glad they did! Seeing this color – which looks like orange sherbet to me – all winter is a definite pick-me-up. It’s lightweight and perfect for the aforementioned chair when I settle in with books or movies.
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Prisms

They shine better here in winter with the direction of the sun and absence of shade trees.
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Nature on Cold, Sunny, Blue-Skyed Days

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Getting Oregano to Marginally Limp Through the Cold Months

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Hot Soup

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I wanna be a Poster Child

I want to be the face of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Most of you probably know what that is, but briefly, it’s getting low and listless in Fall and then perking up again in Spring, based on exposure to light. Lots of conditions and disorders have a “poster child” but I can’t think of anybody associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’m a pretty ideal candidate because my case is neither too extreme (I don’t need drugs to so much as get up or feel like ending it) nor so mild (I’ll never say “Oh, um, is the sun not out? I hadn’t noticed”) as to not be relatable to the average person.

They could come take pictures of me in November, staring glumly at the wall, maybe a half-eaten piece of dry toast sitting on the table at my side, or watching comedy DVDS and flatly commenting, “I don’t see why that’s supposed to be funny.” In March or April, they could get shots of me digging in the garden, waving at strangers, juggling squirrels, singing badly along to pop songs, and saying saccharine things like “Wow! What a gorgeous day! Makes you feel glad to be alive!”

I got this down. Where do I apply?!