Winter can be bleak and those who are susceptible to depression can find themselves going over the edge this time of year. Factors that are often mentioned are the lack of light and holiday expectations. People are confronted with childhood memories as they gather with their families. They have a chance to reflect on their lives. And there is a lot of flu and other sickness going around this time of year.
All of these things can contribute to an attack of depression. The warning sign I notice is the feeling that it is too difficult to do the most basic kinds of things. Going to the store is a major task. Boxing up a return item from Christmas is beyond my capacity. Fortunately I am aware of these things and know how to take measures to combat this illness. It’s really not very difficult to avert a major attack when life is going along in a fairly normal fashion.
There is medication but there are also other avenues to take that will help when there is less light outside and a dark shadow trying to creep into the soul.
I cannot say enough about the joy of taking photos with a camera that is capable of capturing the essence of a subject or scene. If there is not much light and color available in the back yard we can at least find it in the photos we have taken in the past year.
There are also photos that will bring back wonderful memories. There are photos that have brought notice and wonderful comments. And there are photos that simply remind us that this world can be a beautiful place in its finer moments.
Getting up early in the morning when all is still quiet and looking for something new in the photo gallery is an excellent way to start the day. I often will find something that has been overlooked and post it to Flickr. Then if someone finds it interesting I will post it here and add some words and/or music. In this way I often have a better idea if a WP post is going to be successful before it is published. ( Listening to inspirational music of one sort or another and finding a connection with a photo has been a recent exercise that adds to this experience).
Photography is one way (out of many no doubt) to combat sadness and depression. And there are other things to do that are helpful. Drinking alcohol is not a healthy thing and many of us need to stay far away from it. Taking walks and breathing in some cold, fresh air can be very helpful. And learning to express our frustrations instead of allowing them to just sit inside and grow mold can bring about a very positive change.
Of course this needs to be done in a constructive way. And some sources of frustration are not going to go away anytime soon. But voicing them and having someone who will listen and appreciate our struggles while offering encouragement is better than all the Christmas presents in the world.
Beth does this for me and I love her for it. We have just spent our tenth Christmas together and while it wasn’t much fun being sick it was a joy to be around someone who is a powerful source of health and well being.
We do this for each other and I hope that you have someone who does it for you. In a world that seems so concerned about physical fulfillment of one sort or another not much is said about the emotional support that couples can offer each other. But it really is more important and young couples often need it desperately as they try to build lives together.
All of this comes to mind as I close the door on a challenging illness and start looking forward to a fresh start and a new year. Set goals for yourself and expect some defeats as well as some victories along the way. If you are lonely and/or depressed discover and deal with the sources of both.
You can do it. There is an infinite well of healing power within you. Allow yourself to be open to it. Drown your sorrows in it and drink from it every day. Fight back.
Never surrender to the darkness.