Gray January: The Winter Dull-drums

Frost on a glass window

If you are anything like me, around this time of your you hit a rut.

Part of it is the end of the holiday season and the return to the working grind. Another part of it is the cold, dreary weather. A final part is my constant companion, depression. Most people, especially those who live in colder climates, know this feeling well. The restlessness, the irritability, the dullness and dissatisfaction, pointlessness and lack motivation. The whole world and everything in it feels gray. I call this time of year, when my seasonal Affective disorder comes in full force, the winter dull-drums.

What is the winter dull-drums?

Like with everything else in the world, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is different for everyone. For me, this time of year manifests as a general sense of apathy. Not only do I lack the will-power to do things I should do, could do, or even want to do, but I don’t care enough to try. Everything feels like it’s too hard to do, that I end up doing nothing at all. Basic tasks that would take seconds are neglected, and little dopamine releasers (like reading my favorite book) feel like a burden to bear. My existence becomes slow, gray, and frozen like the weather outside.

What do I do?

Honestly, nothing. That’s the point. I go to work and come back home again like a robot with an auto-pilot program. I feel restless at work, and restless at home. There are so many things I want to do, that can’t bring myself to even start. The “should dos”, “could dos”, “want to dos” but “can’t do” start to pile up. I feel so overwhelmed that I do nothing at all, and forget about it. “Why should I bother?” I think to myself. “I’m just so tired. I’d rather just watch Netflix or take a nap.” I get so set in that gray zone of apathy that I let myself say “I’ll do it tomorrow”, fully realizing that it will not get done that day, or the next. I am content with the fact it will never get done.

How do I snap out of it?

I hate to disappoint, but I have no idea. I am still dead in the water of a current-less sea. Usually, as the weather improves, the temperature rises, and the birds return, my apathy thaws and I start to care and work once more.

I’ll admit there isn’t much of a moral or a “happy note” to this post. I’m just muddling along the best I can through this rut. Sometimes the best we can do is just survive and exist for a little while. I think that’s okay too.

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