I will be honest here. Things have not been going that well for me as of late. It is one of the reasons I have not really been writing.
I have had a few meltdowns in recent months. I have missed a few days of work because I couldn’t get out of bed. I have gone days without showering. I get upset by the simplest things and my reactions are a little extreme. Needless to say, I needed help. I need help.
I emailed my counselor, whom I haven’t seen in months, and made an appointment. While I was recapping everything that has been going on, she reminded me that the weather has not been helping.
This has been a bad winter. Until recently, we did not get much snow but there has not been much sunshine either. Winter is tolerable if you have sunshine.
While trying to see how many hours of sunshine we have had this winter, I found an article from January 2013 on the very subject. It said Owen Sound has the fewest hours of sunshine in Ontario, and is 85th out of 100 for the country. No wonder it is called Grey County!
This article goes on to say, “If you were looking for a place where you could do a study on depression or mood changes based on the lack of sunshine, well, I think Owen Sound would be a good place.” That sounds encouraging! This quote was from a senior climatologist with Environment Canada.
This article gives a lot of information on SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the affects winter has on many people. I seem to be one of those people.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651
In addition to seeing my counselor this week, I had a consultation with a new naturopath. Of course we started talking about why I was there, mainly the physical symptoms I have been experiencing. Then she asked about my stress. I kinda laughed at this. Where do I start? So I started listing them off.
- Moving to a new place 15 months ago where I still have not made any friends and am very lonely.
- When we moved, we became empty nesters. My daughter is now 6 hours away and the other two are 3 hours away.
- In 4 months I will be losing my job. Any potential job I have applied to, I haven’t even gotten an interview. I seem to be under-qualified or over-qualified.
- The reason I am losing my job is the plant is closing. With the looming closure, the morale within the place is in the toilet and no one wants to be there anymore. It is not an encouraging place to be.
- I love my husband to death but there are days where he and I are not on the same page, or same chapter for that matter. Yes, we are at least in the same book.
- Over the last 6 months, I lost both of my beloved pets, Princess and Abby.
- I have been dealing with chronic back pain for 20 years. I have good days and bad days. Lately, I seem to be having more bad days even though I am more active and have dropped 10 lbs.
It is not that I want to focus on the negative, but that seems to be all I see these days. Ironically, I think the body/brain are designed to do that.
There are ways to cope with stress, but sometimes when it feels like all the cards are stacked against me, it’s like I can’t do anything right. Add in the environmental conditions, like a very long, grey winter, something I have zero control over, and it feels like I can’t be fixed.
Now some people may look at my list of stressors right now and think I have it easy. You may be experiencing much worse things than me right now. It is all about perspective and your frame of reference. I have had way worse things happen in my life, piled on top of one another. At the time, I did what I had to do to get through it. Right now, at this point in my life, this is a lot for me. And maybe it has been piling up for so long that my body can no longer take it like it used to. I do know that with the help of my medical team (i.e. therapist, naturopath, osteopath, physiotherapist and chiropractor), I will get through the worst of the physical and mental pain.
And God is there too. I may not always be tuned into Him, I may even ignore Him at times, but I know He is there. He knows what I am going through and is right there waiting for me to ask for His help. Once I open that door to Him, He will gladly walk right over the threshold. He will take me into His arms and hold me and tell me everything will be okay. And it will because He is in charge.
There are many Bible verse I could reference with that paragraph alone but I won’t. You can look them up on your own. But I will reference this one. Ironically, it is my verse for the year.
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
as for me, I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place. Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak. Psalm 31:1-10
God is our refuge, our rock, our strength. He will rescue us. We just need to call on Him. He will provide the healing, or at least show us the path that leads to our healing. God will bring along side of us the people who will help us on our journey.
Share your thoughts with me. Do you suffer from SAD? How do you deal with stress and depression?
Over the next few weeks, I am going to expand on some of my main stressors. I might even be able to let some of them go over the next few weeks or months. I will share my healing journey with you. I hope you will join me.