The Power of Communication


I would be the first person in line to advocate and admonish how important it is to keep the lines of communication wide open with the people in your life. Due to my dabble in behavioral health, I would estimate that the destruction of 99.9% (made-up number) of relationships is due  to the lack of communication.

As Christians, we are taught to have an open line with God. It typically crops up in every church sermon and it’s practiced in every religious setting. That open line is prayer. We are taught to bring it all to God (even though He already knows what is going on). However, we are not encouraged to talk to each other as openly as we are to express ourselves to God. God hears all our stressors, dirty secrets, desires, pain, and even joy but we leave out a lot of things with the important people in our lives.

Lack of communication destroys relationships! Lack of communication breeds misconceptions. Lack of communication creates hurt, animosity and sometimes it allows our thoughts to run amuck. Even though most of us know this, it is sometimes the hardest act in which to engage. Why is it so hard to share with the people closest to you? No one wants to take blame or admit wrong. No one wants to offend the other person. No one wants to point out the speck in the other person’s eye or your own. No one wants to experience that awkward moment(s). No one wants to be uncomfortable.

So, in a marriage, when one spouse is hurt or unhappy it’s easier to shut up and ignore. In a friendship, when the bond starts to loosen, it’s easier to think the worse than talk about the problem. In a parent-child relationship, it’s customary to say that each does not understand the other due to the age and culture gap. I can go on about the mountain of excuses we tell ourselves because we are too uncomfortable with being open and honest.

For me, I have made similar mistakes with people in my life. The irony is that my job requires me to ask tough and some times uncomfortable questions in which I won’t even blink an eye. To put the importance of communication in prospective then think about: How many times have we dated and even marry the wrong person because we are uncomfortable to openly communicate about things that bother you? How many marriages have been destroyed because the easier road is to find solace in someone else’s arms or push a person away rather than deal with your problems? How many good friendships have been loss because we choose not to speak up?

While I pride myself on being outspoken (a confidence which has increased with age), I do have my moments when it is easier to let things go even though I knew something was wrong. I need to take blame for being a poor communicator at times. One would think that I should know better because this is what I do and teach for a living.

However, in a recent incident in which I was close to writing off a good friendship, I have learned that I need to do better with my communication with people who are important. I saw my mistakes after they happened and I did not take the responsibility to address them in a timely manner. The funny thing is that once “the elephant was acknowledge” it became so clear how a simple misunderstanding could have been resolved before it became an ongoing issue. It was one of those Whiskey Tango-Foxtrot moments that could have been avoided.

So, the question is how many important relationships have you screwed up/unhappy with because you were too uncomfortable to openly communicate? What are you going to do differently to become a better communicator?

When Life is Different from Expectation


When I get older, then my life will…. When I get married, then my life will…. When I get the right job, then my life will…. We are filled with a variety  of expectations whether they are high expectations or low expectations. For the blessed/fortunate/lucky group, their dreams come true just as how it was expected; however, for everyone else, life can be very different. What do you do when your reality is different from your expectations?

A friend of mine is struggling immensely due to drastic changes that happened in a few short weeks. While her issues require professional intervention, I realize that she is no different from the rest of us who have a hard time reconciling our perfect image of what life should be with what it is. It is very hard to go through our experiences feeling completely helpless and ultimately see ourselves as failures. It is hard to step away from having blinders, tunnel vision, and our individual tales of woe. It is hard to imagine a happy existence as our life do not look quite like how we expect it.

In this day and age, resiliency and thinking outside our ‘perfect’ box seem like a thing of the past. We fall apart so easily; we become incapacitated at the first obstacle; we give up; we blame everyone and everything; we feel excess guilt and shame; we stop searching for a way out and simply accept the mess in which we stand. People stop trying to survive.

As cliché as it may sound, life is what you make of it. If I committed suicide tomorrow, then that’s what I made of my life; if I decided to go out and take a walk in the park instead of sitting inside, then that’s what I made of that moment in my life; if I choose to volunteer or help someone I know, then that’s what I made of that moment in my life. If I choose to be defeated by circumstances that are not going my way; then that is what I made of my life.

This is not to trivialize that most people will have difficulties and tragedies; however, this is a push to recognize when people have crossed the line from normal reactions to hardship or disappointments to ongoing self-defeat. In other words, we stop finding reasons to give thanks and see the other options life has to offer. Many people become so embarrassed or ashamed of their current situations which drives them to isolate or hide and so the spiral of doom begins. The thing is the average person cannot navigate life’s changes all alone. Without a trusted wingman (friends, family, therapist etc.), it is easy to get lost in one’s personal mess. As much as we need the support from others, we also need to learn to get support from ourselves.

Feel free to Google the story of Sgt. Noah Galloway  a double amputee who is one of many people whose life definitely did not go as expected, found himself in a dark hole, and ultimately found the will and strength to climb out of it.

Unstable and Accepting


Insight and introspection are the greatest gifts to one’s self. Due to certain career training, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am forced to look inward and become aware of me. Sometimes I do not like what I see. I can have a vengeful heart; I am ready to cut people out of my life in an instant; I am ready to think the worst of people; I am very guarded, and I struggle to forget and most importantly, forgive.

On the other hand, there are lots of things I love about myself. I love my dry no nonsense personality, I love self-discovery, I love my independence and my ability to be resilient. I love that I am smart.  I love the fact that I can be compassionate and giving. While these do not cancel out the negative things, they give me reasons to be thankful to God.

Since I was young, there is one thing I know about myself and it is the excitement of being fluid whether with people, place, or thing. It yells freedom to me. In my adult years, I have come to accept that I can be “unstable.” Being in one place, accustomed to one thing, and routines become old. Even though I have tried to change (maybe somewhat tried), I have accepted that I really need change in my life even if it is small.

Of everyone that I know, unless you are military, most people strive to have consistency in where they live, their jobs, people in their lives and things in their lives. While I do not find that to be boring per say, I do get antsy with the thought of being stuck.

In the recent months, I have moved states, changed jobs, semi-resume my career, and now have a new agenda for my life. For most people, this seem like too much flurry of activities and this can create anxiety. However, for this unstable woman, it’s all a part of my life. The downside to being so unstable is that I lose the comfort of close family and friends. I have to start all over with bonding which is difficult for me. I had also accepted that this unstable view of life was the main reason for never wanting to get married since I was a child. I could not fathom being ‘stuck.’ While I am happy for those who embrace this way of life, at this moment, it does not seem to be written in my stars.

What does this mean for long term relationships. Only God knows:-) . Really! only he knows. I have resolved to put relationship issues in God’s hands. While this might seem like a passive way of dealing with my relationship instability, it is the best option on the table. I know and accept that the problem is me. I have been told a number of times that once I find ‘the right person’ then I will change. Meh!! Que sera sera. The only thing I know is that God gave me life and as he continues to bless me with life, then I will continue to live it to the fullest (whatever that maybe for me).

If you are a planner, then plan. If you are a little freer, then go with it responsibly. There are a few things I truly want out of life-to enjoy God’s blessings and give thanks, health of my parents for many years to come, and trustworthy people around me who have my six and I have theirs.

God bless you all and enjoy the life He gave you.

 

I am a Sinner


I am a Sinner with a capital S. This is not a proud status but it certainly is a very real status. In my current state, I will not be one of the 144,000 mentioned in the Book of Revelation. In my current state, I will not be one of the righteous in the first resurrection. In my current state, I will more likely be in the group with the other people. You know, the group in which most religious people either do not mention or speak of badly.

How do I know that I am a sinner? The Bible of course. When Christians read the Bible, they do not imagine themselves being in the group of others. They imagine themselves sitting at the feet of God with a goofy smile in an all-white and bright paradise. If one listens very carefully, Christians will admit to being sinners but not really. They admit it only in the context in which the Bible says we are sinners and lost because of our human nature which was corrupted in the garden. There are other passages that noted we are born in sin and shaped in inequity or that section which reads not one is righteous except….

I can list all my sins to myself and God. I know when I am trying to justify something that is Biblically contradictory. I really do know but in order to stay out of the other group I lie to myself. Every now and then (actually a lot more than I want to admit), I am totally comfortable with lying to myself. I give it some time before I am slapped in the face with the Biblical truth and that becomes the ‘O shit, my bad” moment. You know, the log in the eye analogy. Yep, I can admit to having the log-in-my-eye infection (I guarantee that it comes without the fishy odour).

I am the antithesis of a true Christian believer and here are some of the reasons. If you missed most of my blog entries, I have been on church sabbatical for a few years with an occasional appearance. I cannot stand religious rhetoric (oddly I can manage other rhetoric but less tolerant when it comes to Christianity). If being a believer is a matter of life or death, then speak to me plainly in basic and raw human needs and I will understand and show more respect. There is a time for everything under the sun. There is a time to be highfalutin and there is a time to keep it simple stupid (KISS). I really detest majority Christian gatherings because there is a ridiculous and compulsive need to be the perfect Christian. It’s hard to see the real person. This is either a gift or curse but most often than not I am usually able to detect bullshit and can be easily repelled.

I am the antithesis of a true Christian believer because there are aspects of the Bible that does not ‘sit well’ with me. If I could get away with just doing ‘good deeds,’ and having my own private Father-daughter time with God, then I would be the best Christian ever. Do not be mistaken, there are amazing aspects to Christianity – the love from wonderful people, the caring for others, someone on high looking out for your best interest in the afterlife etc. If that was all there was to making it through the Pearly gates, then I would definitely be the first in line.

I am a defiant person who still believes in Christianity. I see the value and the benefit in having a belief in God; however, I am still defiant to certain things which therefore puts me in the group with the others. My sins are my own and I take full responsibility (as I should) for every single one of them. Even if I did get my act fully on God’s track, I would still not be a typical Christian. I know that I do not fit into that box. I am a sinner and not in that stupid religious cliché term. I am the real deal – you know, the ones that Jesus died for on the cross but too stubborn to get it right. I have no intentions of bullshitting anyone with a pretty picture of me. What you see and hear is exactly as is (I am still allowed to have my own personal secrets), take it or leave it because I may not be a proud sinner but I am certainly not hiding or pretending.

 

 

The Deception of Beauty Enhancement


A friend had sent me a video of a woman beautifully made up. The image of her carefully painted face was absolutely stunning. Everything was perfect and she was the vision of black Barbie. In order to demonstrate how she became such a vision, the artist had to remove all her mask to start from scratch.

“Good heavens! what the hell?” was my reaction when she was barefaced and au naturel. She was no longer stunning but passed as less than attractive on the beauty measurement stick. Pimples, skin discoloration, etc. She epitomized the idea of dramatic makeover. I could not help but do a Google image search for dramatic makeup before and after and became very aware that this young lady is not the only woman who skillfully change her appearance to look very different from her true self.

Thank heavens I am not a man! One commenter on the young lady’s transformation was that it is imperative for men to take their women swimming on the first date. This is to remove everything false in order to see the true woman. There is a joke which involved a man taking a woman home from the club and in the morning, he discovered that she removed her hair extensions, spanx, fake nails, padded bra, make up and very high heels to reveal someone totally different from the woman he brought home. If you follow the entertainment news’ latest beauty trend, then one could add: fake tan, collagen for lips, butt implants/injection/padded underwear, Botox, and even temporary breast enhancement. Where does the masquerade end? What’s a guy to do when he first meets a well-groomed young lady? Do most men have to wonder if the women they see are deceptively enhanced?

When did it become okay for women to feel so ashamed of their image and are driven to falsely advertise themselves as someone completely different from their true selves? Do we really believe that false advertising is the best way to enhance one’s self-esteem or to feel attractive? While I have no issues with make up and using it to cover minor imperfections, it is something completely different from literally putting on a new face. Contouring is a new word in my vocabulary which means the ability to change enhance one’s facial features with make up – eye’s wider, nose thinner, high cheekbones, lips fuller etc. Frankly, the art of contouring belongs in the theatre and performance art shows.

There is a feeling of empathy for the single men who have to weed through the beauty façade of women. There are women who believe that a new guy should never see them without X item until they have been dating for an extended period of time. This is as deceptive as a man wearing false hair or caps to cover his baldness, a padded underpants to give the illusion of a larger manhood, removes his wedding ring when the Mrs is absent, or drives a flashy car and spend excessively to show wealth while he is in heavy debt. This is a good time to use the verse do to others as you would like to be done to you. Keep it real!

The whole deceptive enhancement creates a dilemma for the average girl next door. The extraordinarily perfect beauty that make up etc creates does not exist in nature. Very rarely will you find a woman who looks any thing close to these enhanced visions of beauty; however, when we are bombarded by these false advertising everyday, we tend to see the average natural beauty as less than. Consequently, men begin to set the beauty bar requirement high and women transform themselves in order to keep up. Take for instance the ever popular entertainment special about ‘Stars without makeup’ which is definitely a sight to behold. The comparison is dramatic and sometimes startling. Some trashy rags even go as far as to say these women are ugly without makeup. In reality, we have become so accustomed to the deception that we accept the parlour tricks over the real thing. I too had the same reaction when black Barbie transformed back to her average beauty self. I can shamefully admit that I thought the true image of this young lady was ugly in comparison to her enhanced image.

I will reiterate that I have no issues with women wearing makeup. I too will wear lip gloss and brow filler due to my thinning eye brows; however, I will never be accused of looking like someone else nor will I ever be lauded as a great beauty. As a single lass, I truly prefer men to see my au naturel state with all the imperfections of which there are many (at least in my eyes). Confidence in one’s imperfect self is a hard pill to swallow and many women were not taught this lesson.

Happy 2015! What to do?


Happy new year to my blog followers. I do appreciate your audience to the unconventional craziness that runs through my mind. I wish God’s blessings on you all. Every new year I do the same thing. I typically say a prayer of thanks and hope for a blessed year. I am not a new year resolution person because I think such things are pointless. However, I do make up goals as the days progress or as I see fit.

My friend asked me what will be different this year. I truly had to think long and hard about that. I treat the new year the same way I treat my birthday – It’s just another day that will pass in which I am blessed to be alive. However, in the spirit of friendship and conversation, I scrounged up a few things.

Here goes my tentative plans for 2015:

There is a potential major change coming in my life and with it I am hoping to tweak a few things.

I am planning to become more involved in a social life again. I have my cyclical period in which I am out and about and then other times when I am totally isolating and being an home bound lazy bum. I am in the home bound lazy bum period which means it’s time for a 180 (after the weather gets warmer).

I was asked if I wanted to date more this year. I am not a fan of dating so the answer was no. However, with the intent on being more social, I am open to meeting people of the opposite sex with the potential for … (only God knows).

I am determined to fit comfortably in my favourite jeans again and tone my body. The fat creep around my waist and upper body is unacceptable. So, decreasing my large portion food intake in combo with exercising will be an ongoing vigilance. ” According to Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, family physician and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, “Our best evidence identifies regular exercise, a good night’s sleep, and plenty of sex as our best bets at increasing our muscle-building hormone king (aka testosterone). Try and “get some” every night. ”  :-)  Exercise – check, good night’s sleep – all depends, plenty of sex – ROFL. I think I can accomplish 1 1/2 out of 3. It’s a good start to fitting into my fav. jeans.

Minimize some bad habits I have indulged in that are adding to the barrier between me and God. This one will be the challenge of the year. Being ‘bad’ can feel so good at times which makes behavior change hard.

Quit cursing, it’s unladylike. I remember years ago when the f-word was foreign to my ears.  Now, I use it occasionally and ‘shit’ is a staple in my vocabulary.

Initiate contact with friends. As an introvert, I tend to withdraw from others into my solitary comfort zone. However, there are people in my life who have been there for years and I do not initiate contact with them. My goal is to nurture those friendships because they do mean a lot to me.

Dance more. I grew up dancing. It’s a natural part of my life; however, I notice that I had stopped. Dance more doesn’t necessarily mean dance parties; it just means putting on the music at home and dancing. It doubles as great exercise too!

Continue to honour my parents. I have been doing an intermittently crappy job with being a good daughter. I do believe it is my duty (biblical or not) to assist my parents due to their elderly nature. While what I want to offer is not the same as what I can offer, it is still my responsibility to do my best.

Blogging frequency may drop. I am running out of interesting controversial Christians-don’t-talk-about materials to ramble on about. If you have ideas, send me a line.

There it is. Those are some of the things to address in the coming year – God willing.

Declaring God Under Fire


I have been known to wake up from odd dreams every now and again. This morning was one such situation. Besides it being annoying to have my sleep disturbed, the dreams usually put me in a state of great contemplation about my life existence.

This dream in question had a religious focus. In the dream, I was in a bedroom with my older sister and we are awake in a dark room after hearing a noise. I move to lock two doors and we listen intently for something going on outside the bedroom. There is a sense of life threatening fear and in the dream, I realize that this threat was due to religion – more specifically it was our Christian belief. Apparently, we try to secure ourselves from Billy Graham who is wearing an old nazi era German uniform.

The scene jumps to me walking alone downhill on a long road and I pass an abandon car on the side with a man who looks like Denzel Washington slumped over the dash with a bullet in his head. I pass the vehicle only to see Denzel getting up to talk to me – he was pretending to be dead.  He is telling me that people were being separated and he made his escape. The dream implies Denzel and I share the same Christian belief. We see a group of 3 average women with rifles coming and we hide but not very well. The women ask us about the location of a specific person in which I vaguely answer and one woman informs us that we need to be careful and then I wake up.

My dreams are most often weird but I can usually remember a specific theme. In this dream, there is a religious persecution theme much like Hitler to the Jews. I typically wake up thinking about my spirituality and relationship with God. I could not help but think that if my life was in danger due to my belief would I deny God?

It is so easy to be a devoted Christian during times of peace. However, would that be the same if my life depended on it? Would I be one of those denying Christ just like Peter when I am under duress? We would all like to think we are the exception to the rule; however, I can truly say that I do not know what my answer would be if faced with religious persecution.

The idea of death can be very scary even for a devoted Christian. We value life so much despite having a steadfast belief that there are better things to embrace with God. I can admit to being a religious scaredy cat when it comes to death. I think the fear of death, even with a promise of paradise, comes from our value we place on this world. I think there is an underlying belief that if we are no longer present in the world we will be missing a whole lot of stuff.

The other side effect to the religious dreams is a quick overview of my daily value in life. While we still have to live in this world, the Bible does tell us to focus on things above. Such dreams usually call into question the frivolousness of my ‘important stuff’ that does not seem to have much value in comparison to what God is offering. The dreams are usually an intermittent reminder that there is a greater force in charge and I need to get my relationship with God in order.

For every one of my random religious dreams, there are many people in different parts of the world who are forced to choose due to their Christian allegiance. I do not know the true meaning of religious persecution; however, many others at this moment can attest to it or have lost their lives for it. I feel blessed to have religious liberty; however, it does behoove us to really ask ourselves the question of what would we do if our lives depend on acknowledging or deny our relationship with the Christian God.

Fifty Shades of Sexually Frustrated Women


Teddy reading 50 Shades
Teddy reading 50 Shades

I will admit to reading all three Fifty Shades books. In my defense, let me explain how that came about. A few years ago, I had heard of the first book but had not payed much attention because I stopped reading romance novels since my late teens. My sister-in-law and I were talking during a shopping trip and she was singing its praises. So, while in the mall, I passed a book store and decided to investigate.

Despite the bad writing, the first few pages whet my appetite because I had never read or thought much about bondage, dominance and sadomasochistic sex. However, by the end of the first book, I skipped a few repetitive pages, was annoyed by the writing, irritated with the childish nature of the female lead, and I became more intrigued about the psychological state of Mr Grey. This curiosity about the genesis of his obsessive compulsive personality disorder ie. super ridged controlling behaviors motivated me to waste money on the next two. After more page skipping and quick browsing, I got what I wanted.

Years later, the books are a movie and the female readers are either excited to see their mental fantasy come to life or disappointed because the chosen cast does not match their fantasy. Most people and the critics make fun that the readership is bored housewives and lonely single women. I would even further clarify that the readership encompasses both single and married non-Christian AND Christian women who could use a little sexual rejuvenation in their nether region.

People do not typically crave what they already have unless they are greedy. Sex and greedy are never synonymous. I also speculate that most of the women who read the trilogy would not entertain BDSM in their normal sex lives. However, it seems that this clamoring for a poorly written fantasy debunks a myth that most women have limited interests in sex and it awaken a dormant desire for women to have good passionate and orgasmically satisfying sex incorporated in their lives.

Sexually explicit books have been around. Years ago during my frequent visits to Barnes and Noble, there were novels in the Psych/Sexuality section for all to browse. This trilogy seem to hit a nerve and women are passively saying we could use a little more action in and out of the bedroom. I wonder if the married women who read the books ever find the courage to open a conversation with their spouses about their sexual wants in the relationship.

For years, women have been solely blamed for the demise of sex in a relationship due to lack of interest but we are learning that there is more to the story than meets the eye.  Take for instance, research is showing that more women are adding porn to their fantasy library. Biologically, it does not take much to get a man up, ready and done; however, women’s sexual engines do need a little more warming up and attention. Men are slowly starting to learn (women should be telling them) that a women’s sexual epicenter does not always reside in the feminine hole.

When people make fun of sexually frustrated women who read fantasy yet has a partner residing in the household, their jest is slightly misplaced. Fantasy from a novel or porn does not satisfy any frustrated woman but it becomes a distraction from the reality of their sexually starving situation. On the other hand, if men can take ownership of their shortcomings in the sex department, then that can go a long way in a relationship. I do agree that a woman who fakes an orgasm misleads the hubby into thinking he had done a good job for both of them. His ignorance will continue to lead to poor satisfaction for her, a deeper indulgence in unrealistic fantasies, and a long stretch of sexual frustration on her part.

God’s Plans Are His Not Mine


The Bible says very clearly that God has HIS plans for us. He is the author of HIS creation and therefore knows how it will all end. We are here to fall in line.

It amuses me when people testify that God answered their prayers or believers share an enthusiastic belief that God has great things planned for their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that in HIS great plan there are some people who are destined to play certain roles in this game of good vs. evil. God already knows the beginning from the end; He sees what’s in the heart; so it stands to humanly reason that our prayers (God knows what we want even before we ask) are mere ritualistic tribute.

Prayer is comforting. I still do it and it typically sounds more like a one sided conversation. I do not go into details about what I do/don’t want anymore because He already knows. He also knows whether he will give or not give it to me. He knows if he will give me something completely different from what I have been asking. He can even give me something I never thought about. The prayer is merely for my peace of mind and trying to keep some connection. I usually end my prayer with something like “well it’s all up to you” or “if it’s your will.” This is not a flippant ending but an acknowledgement that I do believe God is in charge of everything – whether I wake up in the morning, my next job, my family circumstances etc.

Since childhood, I have been given various images of God. The one image that still lasts even until today is very closely related to a depiction of Zeus with his lightening bolt. As I got older, God was simultaneous presented like a loving father as well. As much as I have tried, I never saw God as a father or at least not in the sense that the clergy wants us to see HIM. I have no face, no voice, no concrete personal experiences to which I can attribute a father role. All I was given are Bible stories. To me, God is the Creator who requires a level of obedience in order to be on his heaven list. I respect HIS intricate handiwork which can be magnificent – take a moment to look at a perfectly crafted baby or a sunset. I respect HIS desire for his human creations to show love to each other at all times. However, feeling a sense of emotional love, which is required, is difficult. It’s the equivalent of falling madly in love with some guy whom I have never seen or heard but only received letters about his life as inspired by others. Love in the face of pure absence is HIS plan not mine.

I do believe that we are either playing God’s game, the devil’s game or a mixture of both. If I had my say, then I would prefer just God’s game – the one where he wants all to experience no more tears or death. Unfortunately, there is a sourpuss running around mucking things up (Peter did say that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking those he can devour). There is no such thing as our game or true free will. We play a part that is already controlled by one party or the other (yikes, it’s starting to sound like the Matrix).

The world is chaotic which is nothing new and the Christians are still preaching the signs of the times. Actually, they have been preaching it since ages past. Everyone seem to think they have deciphered the mind of God. Each religion and each branch of every religion seem to believe they cornered God’s absolute truth. They are so sure they speak the will of God whether in showing kindness or atrocities. If you step back far enough, one can see that the same ‘play’ has been used over and over since the dawn of time. Its HIS plan not ours.

It is still HIS plan whether we like it or not. It is his plan whether we pray or not, whether we believe or not, and whether we are on the good or the bad side. Despite my tenuous relationship with God, I don’t ever forget that he exists (that is my faith) and I will certainly never forget that HE is in full control no matter what happens or what we think we want.

NOTE: I did not add any scriptures because I do believe most Christians have scoured their Bibles and have read the references. However, if anyone do need chapter and verse, then I will be happy to supply.

Winter Hibernation or Depression?


Snowy Day

Winter is not my favourite time of the year. In all the years that I have lived in the east, this is the only season in which I had and is still having difficulty. I had taken a long and glorious hiatus to the sunny Cali and Arizona but decided to return to the frozen east coast. I had noble ideas about the reason for coming here – be close to family etc. However, the longer I am here the more I am craving, actually desperate, for the southwest warmth. While I am aware that one should make the most of the situation in which she finds herself, I seem to be falling into the winter hibernation lull.

As a single person, who is not living close to family and friends, I have noticed some recurring behaviors during the frozen tundra season. These symptoms include excessive withdrawal from the world when possible. This past week I had the pleasure of having 5 work-free days. 2 1/2 of those day I did not get out of bed except for the necessary bathroom breaks and easily prepared sustenance.

If it was not for a Thanksgiving invitation I accepted, I would have slept away nearly three days. I had plans to do minimal exercise while being a shut-in but the most I accomplished was a fantasy exercise routine in my mind while half asleep (Yes I know that  does not count). When I am awake, my mind is bored and therefore idle which leads to random crazy internet searches until I am mentally tired and ready for another nap. Other symptoms include the lack of energy to do anything which includes my normal routines.

There is limited daylight which definitely contributes to the tired ‘I need to be in bed’ feeling,  experiencing irritation if the phone rings, hoping no one knocks at the door and foregoing daily hygiene practices (after all it’s just me at home). For me, winter is also my sick season. Obviously, even if I am mildly sick, I use this as an excuse to stay in bed. Leaving the bedroom is unwise because the rest of the apartment/house is not as warm and cozy as being under my blanket in bed. The thought of getting dressed to go out is as exhausting as doing a 1 hr worth of intensive zumba.

Winter months have never been kind to me. As mentioned, I do get sick during this time of the year, my skin is so dry I could bathe in Vaseline and that would only last for a bit. I do get mild nose bleeds from the dry air (it’s always fun putting lubricant in your nostrils), never feeling warm no matter how many layers I wear or feeling nauseous and faint when I easily over heat because of all those winter accessories. According to the Mayo Clinic, Seasonal Affect Disorder includes the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain

As I have noticed, I do exhibit a few of those listed, however, I am not ready to diagnose myself with SAD. I wonder if I would be this affected living close to family and friends?  Social interaction does help to decrease the need to isolate and minimize the vegetative symptoms like over sleeping and tiredness. However, the thought of entertaining anyone makes me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head – a vicious cycle. I realize I could blame all of this hibernation behavior on my introversion but that would be blatant denial. I am looking outside my window (from my cozy bed) and the sky is overcast, the ground is covered with snow and it looks dreary. Oh yeah, it’s only 3pm. In an hour, it will be dark which tells my mind and body that it is time to go right back to bed.

I have yet to find a solution to combat the winter hibernation/depression except to move back to a year round sunny and warm place. For typical depression, engaging in outdoor activities is recommended – yeah! that will never happen in winter. My most feasible solution, like before, is to wait it out until the spring comes or I finally pack and move back to the southwest.