The Holidays are upon us…

So far this fall, I haven’t been complain about the weather.

The fall has been fairly mild to date, however with the first official day of winter, the weather has taken a rather unpleasant turn. What started off as a mild day has turned into one of blowing snow and biting cold. Welcome to winter on the prairies.

The bright side is, with the onset of winter we have hit the shortest day of the year, and from here on out we are gaining daylight. Although I have never been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder I do know that the lack of daylight does wear on me and that with the increasing daylight I usually rebound in January.

I received the call for my ultrasound referral yesterday. I go into Red Deer on January 23 for the ultrasound and potential pain management shot. I’m glad I have a date, just wish it wasn’t over a month away. However, there is nothing I can do to change that, so I can deal the best I can until then.

Otherwise, today has been generally low. the ache in my wounded wing is taking away my sense of humour, and I’ve just generally been cranky today. I was able to fake a smile when I was working in the store today, but I generally did not want to be around people.

Not wanting to people is not a bad thing. Sometimes we need to take a step back. Dealing with emotions that are constantly in flux is tiring. Expecting to always be on an upswing and being able to deal with people is unrealistic.

Sometimes you need to withdraw and regroup. It comes with dealing with any illness, mental or otherwise. Withdrawing is protecting your energies for what you need to focus them on. It’s not weakness, it’s smart. It’s looking after yourself.

Conserving energy and coping skills are important at any time, but during the holiday season especially.

If the holiday season does cause stress and difficulty coping, reach out. Talk to someone. A pastor. A friend. A family member. Maybe even a crisis line.

I get it. It’s daunting. You don’t want to cause anyone any extra grief by dealing with your own illness. You want to go along to get along. I’ve been there.

Burying your emotions, your anxiety, doesn’t work. The emotions you feel are real. The thoughts are real. The fear is real. If you don’t look after yourself, particularly during high stress times, such as the holidays, you are not doing anyone any favours, least of all, yourself.

Mental illness doesn’t take a holiday. Ever. As much as we would like it to, it is something we deal with. In a lot of cases, it is even worse during the holidays due to the extra stress. And one other thing; mental illness is real.

It is real, and no less important to look after than any other type of illness.

Kevin

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