Since my early twenties, I have hated winter. This, not coincidentally, corresponded to a time when I spent a year in Washington, DC doing research and I was so much farther north than I was used to being in the winter. Winter started in September and hung on until April. I have never spent so much time in the cold and grey. I was miserable. I was actually studying Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) at the National Institutes of Health while I was there. Doctor, heal thyself. I learned that not only was I depressed but it was seasonal; it got much worse in the cold and dark of winter.
I am completely nonfunctional in winter. I hate the cold. No matter how warmly I try to bundle up, the cold seeps in through the gaps. Cold somehow feels like it might be fatal; summer heat is uncomfortable but you never feel like you might die of it. I feel like I might die of the cold. I can’t even persuade myself to get out of my car to go get groceries. I am so drained of energy by the dark cold greyness, and so miserable from the chill that it takes a superhuman effort to get out and walk through the parking lot. And getting up for work in the dark and leaving work in the dark is just so depressing. As soon as it gets dark, it feels to me as if my day is over. So I can get things done in the evenings in the summer, but in the winter, when I get home I just want to go to bed. I don’t have the energy for any projects besides doing things that are absolutely necessary.
I love the fall. I’m not sure why, since the days are getting shorter, but there’s a feel to the air with the sound of football games on the radio in passing cars and and the beautiful colors of the leaves. Fall just has a melancholy beautiful feel to it, but all along in the back of my mind is the sad thought: winter is coming.
My husband seems to get upset with me more in the winter, since my motivation is so far down and it is so hard for him to get me to do things around the house. That in turn discourages me and makes me feel even less like getting things done, so it is a vicious cycle. My daughter seems to perceive my sluggishness also. I tend to gain weight in the winter. I also want to shop to cheer myself up, but it is so cold outside that I can’t even get myself to do that. I have tried taking melatonin and all manner of things to rectify my winter blues, but nothing seems to work. The only things that make me better are warmth and sunshine, both of which are notably lacking around here in the wintertime. I also tend to care less about my appearance in the winter and spend less time shaving my legs or getting my toenails done.
At any rate, winter is coming and I am filled with dread. I always irk my husband by turning on all the lights in the house in the winter time, in hopes of getting myself out of a funk enough to get things done. I have not been in very good shape this summer, to be honest, and the winter blues will only make this worse. This may be a very bad winter for me. I need to move somewhere else in winter. You would think living as far south as Alabama would not be too bad, but all I know is if I went farther north I would be worse. I can usually keep my head up more or less through the holidays, but after they are over there is nothing left to cheer me. The stretch between New Year’s and March when the weather starts to change are the longest three months of my life every year. I have often wished that they would reverse Daylight Savings Time and add extra sunlight hours to the winter instead of taking them away.
Winter is coming and I am trying to prepare myself. It may be an interesting study to see how my blog posts evolve throughout the changing seasons. I am thinking the winter posts may be even more humorless than usual. I will do my best to keep my chin up, but it will take a superhuman effort. I wonder how many others are seasonally affected and how many others lose enthusiasm and productivity when the days are short and the nights are long and cold?