This is the first time I have voiced that sentence aloud.
“Winter is bad for my mental health”.
I have thought it for the longest time, but then dismissed that thought as silly, hippy talk. Too much Doctor Googling and not enough common sense.
But in therapy we have been discussing the cycles of my anxiety and how looking back at my journals and social media, it seems that October to March, are the hardest times for me. I have always just assumed that was normal for me, and in a way it is and I jokingly said “winter must be bad for me”.
My therapist then said back, very seriously.
“Winter is a time when a lot of people struggle, and those with mental health issues find it very hard. It’s not uncommon, and it’s not just you.”
Shorter days, darker mornings and afternoons, cold and miserable weather meaning we are cooped up indoors more, lack of vitamin D, being more prone to illness, festivities and celebrations at Christmas putting pressure on us.
Winter, frankly, sucks and it sucks the life out of me. I find myself sliding slowly into a darker space. I hadn’t really pin pointed it before, but winter and I do not like each other and I am not alone in this. Not being alone makes me feel better already.
The revelation that there is a physical thing that could be making me feel worse, that it’s not just my imagination, has been really helpful.
My therapist says that self care (that’s such a cheesy phrase) is vital when we know there are times that I am going to struggle. I can’t currently avoid winter, living in a country where we have 5 months or so of it, but there are things I can do to try and ward off and minimise some of the effects. There are practical things I can do, to help myself. Next winter I will need to implement those. Light therapy is something I will be looking into.
My long term goal is to not have to deal with UK winters but for now, I have to face them.
It’s not a cure, but it does make some sense. My anxiety doesn’t go away in the spring and summer but it does feel easier to manage.
Winter isn’t good for my mental health. I need to win the lottery and move to year round sunshine, clearly! 😉