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Why Winter and Fall Are 'Perfect' for My Mood Disorder

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With daylight savings time fast approaching, many people with mental illness find it hard to cope with the shorter days and the lack of sunlight. I admit, I am one of those people, sometimes. Mostly, I look forward to the fall because the shorter days and colder weather bring me a certain level of comfort that summer and spring do not.

First, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything when I am in bed at 5 p.m. in pajamas, binging on Netflix. It’s dark and cold out there. What’s there to do anyway? It’s a rationalization that helps me cope.

In the summer, when it’s warm and light out until 9 p.m., it’s harder to hear the neighbors barbecuing, laughing, drinking, splashing around in their pool and having fun until late at night. During the winter, they are inside. It’s quiet. Nobody seems to be doing anything. It makes me feel like I am not missing out on anything.

When blizzards and snowstorms come, wrapping myself up in a blanket and watching television shows or reading a good book is all there seems to be to do. Everyone has gone into hibernation. They are just like me now. Except this is my reality most days, year round. For them, it’s temporary.

Nonetheless, when people ask me what I did over the weekend, I can say, “Nothing really. I saw some movies,” without shame.

They reply, “Yeah, it was good weather for that,” or “I know, I stayed in all weekend, too. This weather is awful.”

Except, I am thinking, “The weather is perfect for my mood disorder.”

I can slip away into a fantasy land of television characters or delve into a great book and lose myself. I forget I have depression. Not totally. Of course, there is that nagging feeling always with me, but for a few hours, I can escape.

I don’t do this so easily in the summertime. I feel I should be out doing something. The weather is so nice. The sunshine beams through my window almost as if to mock me.

I can back out on plans more easily in the winter, too. I have anxiety about driving at night. So the shorter days give me an excuse to cancel plans or at least cut them short. Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to glorify isolating oneself. It’s good sometimes to get out, see people and do things if you can. I am just saying, the winter season leaves me with less guilt about the things I cannot do.

My doctor thinks it’s odd that I have seasonal affective (SAD) more so in the summertime than the winter. I figured there were some others out there that might feel the same and relate.

Netflix, anyone?

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: October 7, 2016
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