We are getting closer to the Spring Equinox – Spring is coming – slowly but surely. I see the snow melting away – allowing snippets of grass to peek out to greet the long missed light. Rain is replacing snow – and the Sun is staying out longer. The darkness of Winter is slowly easing into its’ own hibernation. At this point I can breathe a sigh of relief. I guess I should probably take down the Christmas lights.
All my life I have suffered from S.A.D – Seasonal Affective Disorder. Winter makes me hibernate and cocoon in my house. I try to relieve the darkness with treasured fires in the fireplace, hot chocolate, board games w/ my family and lots and lots of movies. Since becoming a Painie, I have never felt more imprisoned by Winter. It is an awful time. The darkness and isolation overwhelm me; as I recognize how limited my life has become due to this disability.
Some of us Painies are totally housebound – and Winter makes it all the more difficult. Various factors impact us like:
- In Northern climates – the snow, ice & slush prevent us from being able to easily walk outside; or use scooters, wheelchairs, walkers or crutches
- Travel is difficult – creating not only difficulty for the Painie to get out – but also family/friends getting to us
- The long hours of darkness, are difficult for some Non-Painies to cope with so imagine what it is like for those who are housebound
- Darkness impedes Vitamin D absorption – which is critical in battling pain
- Barometric pressure of the overcast days, impending storms and snow create a wonderful environment for Migraines & Muscular/Skeletal pain
- There is one Holiday in January and February – Valentine’s Day – which isn’t one that brings people together like Thanksgiving or Christmas
- The cold, damp and/or harsh weather can strangly impact the levels of our pain – doesn’t always seem to be a rhyme or reason
- Due to transportation difficulties – getting things like food, clothing, medicine and (most importantly) Dr. visits greatly impact our lives
After 4 or 5 months – we are pretty darn sick of the blanket of depression, pain and sadness that cloaks us. However, it is always darkest before the Dawn – and now the Dawn appears. In small increments I feel the relief; as I see the soft pastels of the Hyacinths, Daffodils and Tulips. Bit by weency bit the weight is lifted from my chest.
With Spring – the freedom of movement begins. The snow, rain and ice no longer completely bar us from getting outside. People are more likely to visit or take a Painie outside. Maybe the thought of sitting inside with someone who is ill and sad is too much to bear. However, taking someone who is disabled out on a bright spring day seems more appealing. Also, the warmer weather seems to bring some sort of happy spirit to all – so those who surround the Painie seem more apt to help.
As I watch Nature start to slowly evolve out of the long and dark Winter – I feel a sense of Peace and Hope. The flowers are bravely popping up through the dark, soggy earth. Little leaves are starting to bud on stark, empty branches. Grass is healing itself, turning from brown mush to bright, green stalks. Animals are mating and building homes to start a new generation. Birds are arriving from a long, arduous flight and singing together. The Sun is staying a little longer each day to fill us with Vitamin D and warmth. Slowly the crippling shackles of Winter are falling off and allowing us to end our 5 month prison sentence.
My ultimate Hope is that all of these factors will help us Painies get better – or at least – allow the pain to minimize a little; whether that be emotional, physical or spiritual. I know that some of us have had a hard, dark Winter. It is my sincere wish that the sunlight, fresh air and warmer temperatures – give your bodies a kick-start. Filling you with endorphins, Vitamin D, mobility and freedom – happy impending Spring!