‘Tis the season: An insider’s look at fighting wintertime depression

 

Allow me to start by saying that I am not a counselor. I am not trained in psychology in any way, and everything written here is my opinion. If you need help, seek it. There is a mental health center on campus and they can assist you. Don’t be afraid to call: 801-863-8876.

I am bipolar and suffer from a severe anxiety disorder. I’m not what most people would call stable, but I get by. I have my ups and downs. I deal with it when I can, and when I can’t, I call on friends to help me through it. It’s about to get a bit worse, though.

It’s hard to properly communicate what depression is and explain the measures I take to make sure I don’t do anything ill advised. Depression is something I’ve lived with for years, and yet I still have no idea how to express what is happening in my brain. Please realize that suffering with depression is a fight, and while it is all in my head, it’s not “all in my head.”

Depression is a crippling blackness that overshadows every thought and action. Comparing sadness to depression is like comparing a stream to the Nile. Depression takes over your mind and almost holds you hostage inside of it. You begin to question every action, focus on every mistake you’ve ever made, and judge yourself for it. Getting out of bed in the morning becomes a painfully difficult task, and the days only drag on from there. You lose interest in things that you used to love, and you may even ignore your friends to simply spend the days alone. It may be hard to understand exactly what depression is unless you are unlucky enough to suffer from it. But it’s something I wouldn’t wish on even my most hated of enemies.

Now add winter to the mix.

This time of year causes all kinds of problems for people. Traveling becomes more treacherous, the frigid temperatures don’t treat the elderly well and those of us who are clinically down in the dumps may sink a little bit lower.

Seasonal depression is not a fun thing to experience and may be a new feeling for some people who are fine throughout the year. Some people may just think that they are a little “off,” or that the cold is wearing them down. Except that it’s not just being “worn out.” It’s true that during the winter you do begin to lose energy and start sleeping more, but those could also be indications that you’re starting to become depressed. Don’t worry – if you feel yourselves in the throes of wintertime melancholy, there are steps you can take.

First things first: Don’t overextend yourself. Take plenty of time to do what you want to do. Read, play games or create something – whatever it is that makes you happy. Make sure you have the time to organize your thoughts, but don’t spend too much time alone. Getting lost in your own head can sometimes lead you to a pretty bad place.

Take it one day at a time. I will occasionally make plans for the future when my depression is in full swing, but not too many. If I make too many plans, I get lost in time. I lose my focus on what is happening now, and that can lead to more worries and more depression. Focus on today, the things that need to be done and perhaps a spontaneous activity or two. Don’t let the weight of the future pile up on you.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s cliché to say, but it’s true. And more than true, it’s important. It’s easy to believe that you can do everything yourself. It’s understandable to be afraid that other people will react poorly if you reveal your feelings. But there may be more avenues of assistance than you think. If things get really bad, seek professional help. See your doctor. He may be able to provide you with some tools or refer you to someone who can help even more. You shouldn’t be ashamed of what you’re going through. You are very much not alone in suffering depression, and therefore, shouldn’t believe that you have to have to fight it alone.

Remember, no matter how bad it gets, someone, somewhere cares a whole hell of a lot about you. It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone has someone they can talk to. So, talk about it.

 

 

Written by CAMERON SIMEK

Opinions Writer

Photo by Gilbert Cisneros

3 Responses to "‘Tis the season: An insider’s look at fighting wintertime depression"

  1. Ray Tyler   November 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    This post is an excellent effort at describing depression. As mentioned doing so is not an easy thing to do. Also, the steps suggested to “live through it” are very good.
    I was diagnosed with manic depressive disorder many years ago. Personally I find that I live with depression for so long. Then I inwardly decide it is time for me to come out of it. I normally achieve this by finding a point of interest and concentrating on this day after day.

    Reply
  2. Nathan   December 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I’ve found that I need to accomplish something concrete each day or I start to feel down. When I’m first trying to pull myself out of a rut, the accomplishments can be really small, but I have to build on them to avoid back-sliding.

    Reply
  3. Nate   December 18, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I really have to watch my mood when winter comes on. Exercise is a big thing for me; if I don’t exercise, I get depressed easily.

    Reply

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