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Why Surviving January Is a Big Deal for Me

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Yes, I know many of us find January hard with the post-Christmas blues and the lack of money and the gray days and going back to work or school. But I face every January like a soldier going to war – it’s a battle. The worst periods of my depression have always been in January and my most chronic ill health has always been exacerbated by a new year. Even with every trick in my book practiced and honed, I still struggle.

This year I thought I had it all sorted out. I had taken preemptive measures to fight depression by getting weekly counseling organized. I started vitamin and nutrient improvements before the clock struck midnight. I had plans to see people and not feel isolated. I even had targets for creative and productive undertakings which would distract and uplift me. But they all came to nothing when I was on my knees in a puddle of tears and despair by January 6th. There were no celebrations of visiting kings, although some wise counseling men and women kept me going.

I spoke twice a week to professionals who helped me spot the light in the darkness of depression and set small achievable targets to bring more positivity into my negative thoughts. They encouraged me to reach out and doing so helped me remember how much friends can help and do care. They refused to accept my life was pointless and they identified all the ways I am needed by my family. They led me, shuffling in the dark, back up the cliffs I had fallen over as my depression overtook me.

One week into February I am able to look back and see how far I’ve come since this time last month. I am no longer plodding through a period of hibernation but spotting the signs of spring. Maybe this is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Maybe it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that brings on depression every year. Maybe it’s just bad timing. Who knows? All I care is I survived January.

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Originally published: February 14, 2017
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