Thoughts and Musings

IMG_0360.jpg
 
 

November 7, 2017

SAD or Winter Blues

By: Kelsey Grimm

Many of us can understand feeling the winter blues. We wake up to the 10th day of fresh snow we have to shovel before we leave for work, a frost bitten car, and not enough hot cocoa and games to occupy little ones. Just as it can be common for people to have ‘good days and bad days’ in the spring and summer, people can have ‘good days and bad days’ in the fall and winter. What is the difference between the winter blues and SAD? 

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD? SAD is a subcategory of depression where its typical onset begins in the fall and lasts through winter until the spring. Research is not yet conclusive, but there is evidence indicating people with SAD have systems that are less able to process light, leading to symptoms of SAD in the winter months with less daylight. Current science indicates decreased light in our days can dysregulated our body’s rhythm. We become more lethargic, isolate, crave carbohydrates, and in severe situations contemplate ending our own lives. 

Who is at risk? Everyone is at risk of SAD. According to here to help BC 2-3% of Canadians will experience SAD in their lifetimes. However, if you live further from the equator, are between the ages of 15-50, have a history or family history of someone with depression and/or are female, your risk increases. 

What can you do? Talk to your doctor, seek out counselling and look into light therapy. Additionally, the mood disorders clinic in Ontario has suggested healthy lifestyle choices such as getting adequate sleep, exercise, eating a balanced diet including an Omega 3 supplement, going for a walk in the middle of the day when there is sunlight out, and learning about SAD.

As a counsellor, I would encourage you to explore various options and find that which is the right for you. I would also add the importance of exploring your relationship with winter. Our moods are interconnected to our perspectives, which influence our emotions and how we experience our days. See if there is something you can embrace about the winter season. Perhaps you learn a new indoor or outdoor activity. Perhaps you create weekly potluck nights with friends and rotate homes. If we continue to dread the days of winter and endure them until the spring, we will continue to feel defeated for the winter season. If we find something about the winter to embrace, we may be more open to enjoying its gifts.

October 25, 2017

A story about stigma and PTSD

A friend of a friend of a friend of mine was working for a non-profit. They were helping people in need on a daily basis with staying safe, feeling connected, and ensuring they were taken care of. This friend of a friend of a friend of mine had been working in the industry many years. In addition to being well equipped to support their clients who were in need- they too knew what it was like to be someone who struggled. 

In an honest moment one day, my distant friend was having a rough day. They were struggling and wanted their boss to understand. In a moment of stress and struggle, they wanted their boss to see the human in them. Given they were in the helping profession my distant friend thought they would try to reach their boss. Leaping into vulnerability my distant friend said “I want you to know sometimes I get anxious because I have PTSD”. 

Holy smokes what a moment. They just opened up to their boss. They are working at being honest about their own experience, honest about their own existence, not afraid to acknowledge their own human suffering in a world of human suffering. 

Their boss turned, looked perplexed and without a hint of compassion remarked “Now what in the world could you have PTSD about?”. 

My distant friend was taken aback. Disgusted? Embarrassed? Ashamed? Revolted? Sad. Sad there was little understanding, little compassion even in the world of non-profits and do-gooders. With composure, grace and humour my distant friend responded “well, that’s a story for another day” and they recoiled and re-hardened their surface. There was no safety to expose one’s belly here. 

October 11, 2017

A re-union

I know the will
I see the joy
to reunite with me.

When you come back
into my arms
forever, together we will be.

I speak to past
that wounded one
who could have never known,

the pain that came
the sorrow felt
neglected and alone.

I see you now-
and ask you back
I make space for you and me.

I choose us
I choose to blend
and cherish you,
as I hold you on my knee.

And if you oblige me
this request
I honour who you are

You held the pain
frozen in time
pain so deep...
...and yet so far.

Let me
hold you close
Let me hold you tight.
Let me rock you
back and forth
and welcome you back
with light.