Beating the Wintertime Blues

I was feeling rather low on Friday. A foot of snow and -40 temperatures left me mostly housebound for the week, and though I relished my ability to play hermit for a while, by the end of the week, I was craving something. 

I just didn’t know what.

So I worked, and when my work was done, I moped. I didn’t know how to deal with my dark feelings, so I didn’t deal with them. I lay in bed watching Doctor Who, trying to escape from whatever it was that was causing my latest bout of the blues.

And to a degree, it worked. I decided, as I moped, that getting into the Christmas spirit would shake me from my funk, so when hubby got home from work, we made mulled wine and decorated the Christmas tree and spent the night playing boardgames together. It was nice. It was comforting.

But I can’t decide if forcing myself to do something – anything – to ward off the bad feelings will turn out to be a savior or a curse in the end.

I’m no stranger to depression, but I’m no expert in dealing with it either. In the past when I suffered, I forced myself to do things – soccer, volunteering, social obligations, whatever – in the hope that those things would fill my life with enough light to fend off the dark.

It worked – until it didn’t. I avoided my problems, my feelings, instead of dealing with them, but you can only run for so long before you begin to feel the bone-crushing weariness of shoving your feelings where they can never find you. And once you’re in that pit, it’s so hard to dig yourself out.

For years, I didn’t feel anything, because I couldn’t. Now that I can feel again, I only want to feel the good things, and that’s dangerous, I think.

No one wants to be unhappy. No one wants to suffer. It seems a natural reaction to distract yourself from your suffering – but if you rely on those distractions for long enough, you never learn to cope. You never learn to understand the way your heart and mind and body reacts to the things that are going on around you.

You never learn to just feel what you’re feeling, good or bad.

It brings to mind a brilliant video I saw of Louis C.K. a while ago, wherein he ranted against cellphones while sharing a piece of wisdom. He said, “You need to be good with just being by yourself and not doing something.”

Until I can get good with just feeling what I’m feeling, I’ll always be running from the darkness instead of defeating it.


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