Wintering

November 17th

Finding it almost impossible, today, to look outwards, to find the joy. Impossible to not feel the weight of the 4 days of rain. Rain so dense it looked like fog. Or mizzling rain that should not make you wet but does, just a little more slowly. Real fog too- the kind England is often (mistakenly) thought to be cloaked in, all winter. I feel disillusioned, disappointed at my own lack of fortitude and resilience. How pathetic am I? Get a grip! It is just weather. I irritate myself with my inadequacies.  

Seasonally sensitive, that doesn’t really cover it. Maybe SAD does. Seasonal Affective Disorder, seasonal depression, is now recognised as a mental health condition potentially affecting 2 million people in the UK and 12 million across Northern Europe. According to the NHS website symptoms of SAD can include a persistent low mood, loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, irritability, feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness, lethargy.

Shorter days, less sunlight, increased production of melatonin, being female, getting older. Lots of predisposing factors- none of which we can do much about. Unless we follow the sun across the hemispheres with the seasons. An attractive thought, sadly way beyond my reach.

Treatments can include light therapy. I do have a light. (note to self, find it and switch it on occasionally). Talking therapies such as CBT.

Horatio Clare in his book, The Light in the Dark, talks about going to see a psychiatric nurse after a referral from his GP. His relief at not having bipolar or clinical depression- of being cyclothymic instead, is palpable. He goes straight from the assessment to the health food store and buys a variety of supplements. At the till he breaks the pill bottles open.

“I neck fish oil and vitamin D and St Johns Wort. Come on life- lets have you back”

I love that sentiment.

Now I take vitamins D and B complex in winter, maybe they help,and it feels logical. Fish oil too. Get outside when the weather breaks. Get outside anyway- the horses ensure that happens. There is no doubt that owning horses, and any livestock, is harder in winter. Mud, cold, dark, wet. The horses can get a different sphere of ailments in winter, although lets be clear, horses can get a dizzying array of ailments whatever the weather. Each season brings its own unique challenges.  Wheelbarrows, however, are easier to push on dry ground, and longer days spread the chores out.

Naming it, accepting it, not fighting it, working with it. That has to be the way forward, for me. Small lifestyle changes to accommodate being “seasonally sensitive”. Lower expectations, less stress.

And keep looking, looking for that light.

Bathing in winter sun. Wonder at the ultra bright blue winter skies. Enjoy raindrops flashing. Icicles sparkling.

Keep looking, for the light. If it is not here now, it will come.  

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