Dealing With the Winter Blues

“I don’t feel good,” I said to my sister. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me or why…but I don’t.”

The moment the words left my mouth, I had a revelation. I say the same thing, the same thing, every year at this time. I don’t know why. I truly don’t feel like it’s the post-holiday blues. I don’t feel like it’s that two of my kids’ birthdays are back-to-back within a few weeks of each other (which certainly has me a little sad…but in a very aware sort of way). In the beginning, I even thought it was the Superbowl looming before me…something that is a family event for us and something that I’m sad my husband misses every year.

But I don’t think it’s that.

The first time this happened was 6 months after my husband died. I had spent 6 manic months, doing everything I could to not actually let his death sink in. And when February rolled around…I hit a wall.

“I don’t feel good,” I said to my sister. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me or why…but I don’t.”

Sound familiar?

I don’t necessarily feel depressed (but there is a part of me that feels like I’m paddling against the stream, trying to keep myself from falling over the depression waterfall). What it feels like is…well…like there’s a bubble around my soul that’s not letting anything in…dark or light. I actually had the thought earlier today, “Please don’t let anything really good happen in the next week because, in this mood…I’m not sure if I’ll appreciate it.”

Weird.

It actually made me feel better when I said that to my sister and realized that this happens every year. I know that doesn’t make sense. But when I said those words to her, I immediately thought, “Ah ha! This has happened before. And it passed. Wait a few more days and see how you feel.”

I know that people will think that I need to see a professional or a life coach or find a happy place. I know they will because if I were someone else reading this, that’s exactly what I would think. One of the most disturbing things about being in this mood is that I am normally so proactive when it comes to life…I truly believe with all of my heart that when you’re not happy, it is completely within your power to change it.

And then suddenly I have these few weeks, right in the middle of winter, reminding me that sometimes the power of positive thinking is no match for just having the blues.

But there are some times, in this great journey of ours, when we just need to feel what we’re going to feel. I’m not a big promoter of wallowing, but everyone is going to have down days. Sure, if it goes on for more than a week, I’m going to call my therapist (who I have on speed dial) and make an appointment. But right now, I don’t know if it’s worth talking myself out of just…feeling. Because, honestly…those are sometimes the days when I do the most reflection, the most asking of “why” and “what can I do to fix this” and learn the most about myself.

One might call it a growing pain.

Catherine Tidd 2012

Catherine Tidd

More Articles Written by Catherine

Catherine Tidd is a widow and the Founder of www.theWiddahood.com, a free social support network dedicated to anyone who has lost a significant other. She is also a writer, public speaker, and mother to three young entertaining children. She received a degree in English from Rollins College in 1998 and has since worked as a writer, editor, Marketing Manager, and Event Planner. Originally from Louisiana, Ms. Tidd currently lives in Denver, CO. To read more of Catherine's work, visit http://widowchick.blogspot.com

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  • Thanks for your honesty, Catherine. I live in Minnesota, where many people have the winter blues. Usually I don’t have them, but I hit a slump after four family members died in 2007. There was too much to think about and too much to do, coupled with the fact that I was raising grandchildren. Give yourself credit for all you have faced. Give yourself credit for identifying your grief work. Give yourself credit for having keen personal insights and recognizing growth. Winter is a loser against all of these pluses.

  • Deb says:

    You have an amazing way with words Catherine. Yes, sometimes we just have to feel what we feel and let those feelings take us where they take us.

    I’ve only discovered your writing now and I’m nodding my head the whole time 🙂