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Once More Into the Winter...

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. 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. So 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?


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 22nd, 2015 01:36 am (UTC)
What's amazing is that my old Indiana home is at the same latitude as my Colorado home! But the difference in sunny days over the winter is HUGE. Colorado averages something like 60 MORE days of sun than Indy. :)
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:23 pm (UTC)
An Alaskan friend swore by her indoor terrarium full of plants under an spread-spectrum light. She had set it in her kitchen, but finally moved it to her study, and she said it was amazing what a difference it made, just to look at her lovely green plants and imagine herself breathing in their pure sunshiny oxygen.
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes!! Seeing something green is a marvelous help.

I used to think it would be awesome to live in Alaska. Now, I just can't imagine it.
Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:14 pm (UTC)
Favorite winter survival tactic (with year-round applications): reading your blog post and others like it, that recognize the existence of the situation (neither trivializing nor obsessing about it) and using personal experience to inform discussion and recommendations of how to live well as you move forward.
Sep. 22nd, 2015 06:19 pm (UTC)
*smile* I do like, more than almost anything, to be helpful, so it made my day to know this helped you. :)
Sep. 24th, 2015 07:23 am (UTC)
I live in Alaska and have had a bout of SAD every winter for at least 40 years!

Vitamin D: you are right on about that. I don't take as much as you, around 3000 to 3500. I use to methods: Viactive chews which have calcium and 400 iu Vitamin D per chew. I get the chocolate flavor and that adds a level of comfort. I eat 3 a day. Then I take a 2000 iu pill every day, too.

Vitamin D is also essential to avoid breast cancer, so it has other benefits as well.

The other thing I do is plan a vacation somewhere that has more sunlight than Alaska. Usually that means Calif. because I have family there and property that I need to check on once or twice a year. It really makes a difference to have more sunlight for a week to 10 days.

Got onto your LJ through VP website. I will be a VP 19 attendee.

Sep. 24th, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, I bet that vacation does help!

I made California and Texas trips in winter, but for me it backfired a bit because I really, really didn't want to go BACK to Indiana. So... that was less about sunlight and more about living situation. :)

AND WELCOME TO VP!! You're in for a wonderful week!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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