Self-Portrait

A few weeks ago, I felt smugly confident I’d get through this winter without the usual self-loathing and morbid dreariness that tends to accompany February. Several factors were in my favor:

I began Weight Watchers just after New Years and have lost seven pounds without much effort, which, as anyone trying to lose weight knows, if you can feel immediate success, the encouragement of that far outweighs the constraints you place on yourself to continue losing.

We had a lovely house guest—Karen—for a week crossing January and February which has to be my favorite part of the winter.

I recently bought several adorable succulent house plants to bring in more naturey greeness which I expected to be a further balm or preventative to my winter blues.

I’ve been taking Vitamin D for general health and wellness and because I know it can help with seasonal depression because you’re not getting that Vitamin D from sunshine. (For the most part, I have noticed a significant improvement in my overall moods since beginning to take it daily.) And I thought the snow was on my side.

I was mostly ok with the relentless snow because it was at least pretty and disguised the muted ochers, grays, and dingy greens of Pittsburgh’s winter landscape. The snow brought a clean, bright contrast to the skeleton trees, and really, for me the view outside my front window and all the photos I saw of the buried city and surrounding towns, filled me with wonder and awe at the spectacle and ferocity of nature. It was breath-taking and wonderful and vicious all at once.

I thought to myself and said to several people that, even though the clean-up of the snow was annoying and a week stuck indoors with my kids drove us all a little batty, I wanted to think of it as positively as possible. My spin on it was that at least February looked pretty and the snow wasn’t likely to melt until March and by that time, Spring would have all but sprung and I’d be well out of danger for my yearly bludgeoning by seasonal disaffectedness…whateverthefuck it is that makes me despise drawing breath while I wait for the sunshine to crack the clouds and find me again.

But I was too smug or too confident or too a few weeks ago because today and for the past several days all I can do is sigh and mope and drag my hang-dog self around the house prodding me to switch the laundry so we can all have underwear tomorrow.

Today I have eaten 12 or 13 Tagalongs, 5 Trefoils, and at least 9 or so Thin Mints (cookies, not boxes—if that were the case I believe I’d be going to have my stomach pumped.) But seriously, who eats that many cookies in a day? Good grief. I felt like if I could just reach that one more cookie, I’d have a reason to let my heart go on beating. Pathetic. It’s unbearably pathetic. And this is the eat-me-up cycle: Inexplicable moroseness, disinterest in all things (excepting perhaps chocolate and Girl Scout cookies), bounded well with a mortar of intolerable self-loathing.

I know this sounds like whining, but it’s not in my head. I mean, the tone of voice isn’t whining. These are simply matters of fact.

I’m dreading going to sleep because I haven’t actually slept well in three weeks thanks to strange and disturbing dreams and perpetual pain in my neck/back/leg—depression with an insomnia chaser; I’m dreading waking up tomorrow feeling the same as I do today; I’m dreading an exam, a paper, and another exam all due next week; I’m sure there’s plenty more I could dread. I know there is. I’m overcome by dread.

Thing is, I know it’s unreasonable. I know there’s no real cause. I know in a few weeks I’ll start to feel my way out of the fog and gloom and will mostly continue on through life…but right now, I feel terminal even though the ickyness feels interminable. Whether or not that makes sense, I know what I mean.

I just want winter to get a move on.

3 thoughts on “Self-Portrait

  1. Kathy, thanks for the St. Johns Wort suggestion. Will definitely look into that.

    Kim, thanks for the encouragement. I have dressed myself in workout clothes today hoping to trick myself into exercising. Hope it works. Sorry about the 10 lbs–so much easier to gain than to lose. And yes, spring, warmth, sunshine will do us all some good.

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  2. I have to tell you my precious friend, I am feeling it also. I have and I will repeat have NEVER in my life gained weight and this winter (and please who reads this don’t judge me when I say this, I am not a weight conscious person I am just saying) I have gained 10 pounds. Baby girl you know me and that is ALOT for me. I think about getting up everyday and doing something about it, but those thin mints, tag a longs, chocolate coconut cookies, the sleeping and not missing a minute that I can be tormented with dreams of days past (yes i still have them) lol, are so much hottier to me than working up a sweat to take those pounds off plus on top of that my Md says I have sever high anxiety and he can’t believe I haven’t snapped yet so he gave me an rx that I won’t take. I just need the sunshine and warmth and I will be ok. Spring is coming when??? I am just kidding, we will make it, all will be just grand in the end… No matter what!!! I believe that everyday of my life. We survived alot worse, winter WILL not take us down. 🙂

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  3. Try Saint Johns Wort at higher levels. It works exactly like and antidepressant without the side effects. Seems to help me pretty well with the added vitamin D to deal with the winter blahs.

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