Winter Is Coming, Part Deux

I’ve had mixed feelings about writing about therapy, but I talk about it to everybody. Maybe not everybody. You’re welcome, Acme cashier.

So here goes. After a healthy amount of year-round winter anxiety and perhaps too much self-diagnosing via WebMD, I decided I probably had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and took myself to see a therapist last week. It was my first time sitting on the couch, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I did know that I needed a game plan for this winter, and I was anxious to seek the opinion from an objective third party.

Turns out I was wrong about having SAD. I just dread winter too much. In so many words, the therapist suggested I find ways to turn that frown upside down. And for the time being, I’ve decided to believe her. What do I have to lose except for a bad attitude? Apparently, I do one thing right already: I run throughout the year, including winter. Exercise is a key way to beat the winter blahs, so I’ve got the exercise quotient covered. I’ll take some extra Vitamin D and use the special light a friend of mine gave me last year. But I may just need, as my mother was fond of saying when I was about fifteen, an attitude adjustment.

We batted around a few ideas and the therapist offered a few theories, but I wanted to strategize, so before the hour was up, I asked for a homework assignment. I wanted something to do, something to test out as the cold weather tightens its icy claws around my neck. Maybe I’m being a little hyperbolic, but it can feel that way until April. She suggested I read or watch the weather report for the following day and then write down my thoughts and strategies in my journal. I think it’s a way to take the season day by day and tackle any issues, i.e., a sudden dip in temperature, a day of freezing sleet and rain, or a looming Nor’easter.

She also thought I should look for fun activities that I can only do during the winter. This may pose a problem, because cold-weather anything, even activities that many might describe as “fun” still sound horrible. Skiing? Nope. Ice-skating? Nuh-uh. Sledding? No. I’ll watch from a distance swathed in a hat, scarf, long underwear, sweater, puffer coat, and two pairs of pants. I probably should just stick to classic winter activities such as sipping hot chocolate, indulging in comfort food, watching TV, and reading novels. Indoors.

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