Them winter blues

A while back I was walking down Euclid, thinking to myself, when something suddenly hit me. And no, it was not a bus. It was as if Wes Anderson suddenly started directing my life, and I started seeing life through a blurry lens accompanied by odd color palettes. Then and there, I realized that the winter blues had finally gotten to me.

Winter Trees

If you’re someone like me, whose mood is dependent on the weather, you spend the last part of fall waiting for Mother Nature to do her worst. Soon, the days become shorter, and the nights never seem to end. You get scared of what may happen once winter begins. Sometimes you’re afraid of what it will do to you physically, like make your cheeks red as a tomato or make your nose run like a Kenyan in the Olympics. But then you begin to fear what could happen to you emotionally. You become anxious, moody and tired all of the time, and it’s like out of the blue someone else took over your body.

I managed to avoid it last semester. And by “it,” I mean depression, the word that I have been dreading to use for the entire article. I guess the lack of snow and hope for winter break were what kept me going without fail. Now here we are with a ton of snow, no break in sight and no major tests to worry us. So now I am in this state of flux where all I can attend to are my thoughts. And sometimes, thoughts can be very dangerous things.

It’s tough to admit that you’re depressed, and it is tougher to admit that you need help. I have always equated going to therapy, counselling or asking for serious advice with weakness. In my mind, it was like saying that you couldn’t handle your own life, and now you have to burden someone else with your life. I joke everyday how I am a functional hot mess, but even with my cocky attitude, I know that some messes are too hot to handle on your own. Every December to March, I am on this sine wave of ups and downs where I stay on a peak, or even a bottom, for days on end.

During those bottom days, I could be logical. I can say that I have multiple opportunities in my life for which to be grateful, reminding myself that no one can get depressed when they have many blessings in their life. That is not logical at all, and maybe the most logical thing to do is just let yourself feel all the emotions that you’ve been avoiding.

Thank God for the Internet, because if I were going through this 10 years ago, I would have had no idea how to fight this. The Internet has taught me how to let in the emotions I want and let go of the ones I hate.

Some days I sit down and cry. Whether I’m extremely sad, angry or happy, I cry to let it all out, because for me that lightens the load a little bit. Now, I’m not the douchebag who brags about his yoga work and how cultured he is, but for the rest of this paragraph, I’m gonna sound a lot like him. I started yoga because it helped me get in touch with my center. The moment I got in touch with it, I became a lot more honest with myself, and my Wes Anderson haze began to become a Mel Gibson glow.

The last and most obvious thing I do is ask for help when it all becomes too much. I was wrong to think that getting help showed weakness. I have replaced the term “getting help” with “taking control”. The strength that it takes to get up and seek someone out is remarkable. You are starting to take control of your life again and realizing that you won’t be defeated by packed, frozen water on the ground.

I can point out here that my seasonal affective disorder is pretty mild compared to other people. I can still crack dumb jokes, I know how to step back before I snap and I know that this is all very temporary. Some people feel a hell of a lot worse and feel that way for a very long time.

The reason I’m sharing all of this is because I think everyone needs to be more honest with their feelings. When people ask us how we’re doing we reply, “I’m fine,” when secretly we want to scream,cry, laugh, etc. What I am saying is definitely not novel. We all know we put up pointless walls to the people we love, but for some crazy reason, people need to keep reminding us to break down those walls. I promise, your loved ones won’t hate you if you tell them how you really feel. To all the people feeling down right now, keep your head up, because things are gonna be bright real soon. You can’t expect to see the sun shine again if you keep looking down at the ground.

Sophomore Stephen Kolison is a bi-weekly columnist, a member of IMPROVment, and actually that guy who brags about yoga and how cultured he is.