Winter time means a lot of things to different people. If you love to ski you hit the slopes. If you like reading maybe you curl up to an open fire and turn the pages. If you have seasonal affective disorder, you dread the change of seasons because usually depression begins to linger.
In my case, winter brought me a cold. Having a cold should not be a big deal, but when you spend a great deal of time fighting bipolar depression the symptoms of a common cold can seem a bit more daunting.
Sometimes I have a difficult time telling the difference between the cold fatigue and depression fatigue. The dreaded sleepiness begins to set-in and I start sleeping more and more. I get a little down or blue because these darn symptoms remind me of the days I could not get out of bed. I start to dread the possibility of another depressive episode rearing it’s ugly head….again.
But then, thankfully I sneeze. My nose starts to run, my ears begin to plug and my head starts to hurt. In a strange kind of way, I am glad for the signs and symptoms of the common cold.
Lot’s of people get a cold in the winter. But to someone who experiences severe depression the symptoms of a cold can be very alarming because a cold can trigger a depressive episode.
Living with bipolar disorder and/or depression is more than just taking a hand full of pills and “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps.” It takes a continual effort to recognize the symptoms and learn to manage them, especially in the midst of a cold.
One thing that helps me is to remind myself it is not depression. I tell myself in a few days this feeling is going to pass and I will feel better. I try not to worry too much.
But if I said I did not struggle with it, that would be a lie. I struggle. I fight. I pray. And believe it or not, I welcome the sneezes!