Around January of this year, I discussed my attempts to preventatively address the depression dips I’d faced over past winters.
It was usually in retrospect that I realized I felt so terrible because depression, and that, for me, that depression clawed into me around January/February. Y’know, that Seasonal Affective Disorder thing. It happens to many writers. Others face far worse SAD than I do, so I don’t want to make too big of a deal out of it, but neither do I want to discount the somewhat borderline experience of those like me. So the best way I can describe where January and February sometimes led me is this: I did not at any time want to shoot myself in the head, but I could clearly see how and when it could become a viable option.
Last spring, I’d intended to share how things worked out as a result of different efforts. Time and stuff got a bit tight, I don’t think I every got around to it. So let’s re-cap the season now with the intention of looking ahead:
First, the Vitamin D thing. I’ve had bunches of people brush this off because they heard “research said” Vitamin D has no impact on SAD in particular and depression in general. Take it from someone who actually reads the national and international studies, including the comparison of dosage, timing, and supplement quality. A few minutes of warm-season sunshine prompts your body to produce about 10K IU of Vitamin D. Most of the “It doesn’t work!” whining is the result of daily dosages that are less than a third that amount OR the study uses a monthly mega-dose.
So I take 4000 IU to 6000 IU a day. And you know what? I feel a hell of a lot better in the Januarys and Februarys when I do that than in the ones in which I don’t. And though I indeed felt down and unproductive last winter, and had a horrible hollowed-out feeling over losing Ty, I did not bottom out as I had previously. And it only costs me about thirty bucks over the course of the winter. There is not even a question of that continuing! Of course I’ll be taking the Vitamin D.
What about the bright window decals and the birdfeeders? Y’know, these by themselves are not SAD counters I’d depend upon. But they did give me an opportunity to smile every single day. Now, I miss watching the birds. I miss seeing bright colors spill into my living room with the dawn. Alas, I don’t have an eastern facing window that is mine to control right now, but I have picked up a couple birdfeeders.
And I gotta admit, one of the big draws of Colorado over Indiana is the amount of winter sunshine I can expect. I was fast running out of the ability to cope with days and days of gloomy light and gray landscapes. Even the cold doesn’t affect me nearly so much as when I can see the sun, and colors, and brightness.
So I’m stepping into this winter with more hope than in previous years, and am looking forward to reporting good results.
Anyone else out there with winter survival tactics or concerns?