The Thaw

March 18, 2015

Tomorrow, spring officially begins, and do you know what that means? It means that I won. I made it. Winter did not eat me this year.

I’m not sure why winter didn’t eat me this year, when last year it damn near devoured me, but I’m grateful. No “Fuck You Linda” territory for me, not a single day where I found it impossible to get out of bed, no afternoons that seemed so bleak and endless that the idea of a dirt nap seemed really enticing.

I still had days tinged with sadness, or boredom, or flat-out loneliness, don’t get me wrong. Winter is always dangerous for me. Winter is the time when I can’t seem to get out of my own head, and like Anne Lamott says, “my head is like a bad neighborhood that I don’t want to be in very long.”

In typical and annoying Dana fashion, I feel the need to over-think this.

Why? Why was I able to get through this winter without tumbling down the rabbit hole? What was different this year? Was it me or some outside force or just a blind stroke of luck?

I don’t know the answer, but it’s probably a bit of everything above, and if you’re not someone who struggles with seasonal depression, you can probably bail on this post right now, because I’m going to think out loud about it and you will most likely be bored to tears, so it’s okay if you click away now. I won’t mind.

But some of you do wrestle and tumble and struggle, and I think it’s important not to hide that part of ourselves, as rotten and as shameful as it makes us feel. Hiding is double-dog dangerous; hiding is what makes us feel fraudulent and very, very alone. I know this. As icky as it feels to examine the darkness, the alternative is worse, don’t you think?

I think so. So I’ve been thinking.

Reasons Winter Didn’t Flatten My Ass This Year:

~I gave winter the due respect it deserves. I think in the past, I’ve let winter sneak up on me. I haven’t paid attention until things are too late and I’m too far gone to fix. Last year scared me straight. I had to admit that winter owns my ass, period.

~After that admission, there was the next step. I realized that I need to start preparing myself in the fall months for the inevitable fallout that’s coming. This means:

1. Daily exercise. Ideally, a vigorous 3-mile walk out in the open air and sunshine. If the weather won’t cooperate, it means weight training with hand weights and resistance bands and the dreaded abdominal exercises.

2. Over-the-counter supplements: fish oil, vitamin D., St. John’s Wort, Lithium, probiotics.

3. Three healthy meals daily.

4. Consuming things that normally soothe me in moderation, because in winter, I’m not normal, and those things mess me up. It’s true; there can be too much of a good thing. Those things are sugar, alcohol, carbohydrates, caffeine.

5. Getting enough sleep. I am a psychotic wolverine when I am sleep deprived.

~I added extra activities to my schedule, like more volunteering at Miss M.’s school, hosting playdates and activities for the girls, etc.  I realize that this seems goofy and counter-intuitive–shouldn’t I be cutting back on things to make my life easier? And yeah, that probably works for normal folks, but for me, the more free time I have, the more time I have to think, and thinking ain’t good when your head’s not straight.

~I was gentle about my writing schedule. Normally, I’m in this space a couple times a week, but I cut back to once a week and tried very hard to be okay with that. When things are difficult, it’s hard to find the words, and if the words aren’t coming, I have to be kind enough to let that happen. I have to tell myself that this isn’t permanent and it’s what’s best for me at the time.

~I listened to music or podcasts when I was home alone. This one was huge. Normally, I crave quiet and find background noise annoying, but background noise is a savior in the winter. It drowns out the roaring (and the fucking tinnitus) in my head.

~Another biggie: Every night before I fell asleep, I tried to think of something that was happening tomorrow that I could look forward to. I’m not going to lie–sometimes I really had to fumble around for something to grasp onto, like, “I’m going to let myself eat pasta for lunch.”  That’s a pretty lame thing but it was enough some evenings to settle my mind and get me in the frame of mind that there was something worth getting out of bed for in the morning. This sounds like a little thing, but it worked. I’m actually going to keep doing this one, even in the warmer months.

~Lots and lots and lots of time on walks and on the floor with my little white Prozac. We got the Mozz man last winter, but I was already too far down for him to make much difference. He helped, but I was already warped. This year, having this fluffy dude who was always so happy to see me and content to sit at my feet while I wrestled with words…it was a blessing. Yes, he is in constant need of affection and attention, and walking him in freezing cold weather blows, but he gives back in spades.


So suck it, winter. You lost. Rein in your frosty talons and bugger the Hell off until next year. You won’t be missed and next year, I’m coming in prepared. Because it all starts again.



Thanks for hanging in there with me, readers. It means more than you know.


*I realize that I haven’t been able to fix the comments yet so they appear to everyone, but I can still see them, so if you want to leave a comment or a tip about what strategies you employ to keep yourself out of the doldrums, I’d love to hear it and will share any wisdom in a future post.

**ps: I hope you tune in next week–I’ve got a little piece of awesome to share with you!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie March 18, 2015 at 10:10 am

I’m so glad that you kept the dragon in the corner this winter. You did a wonderful job facing it head on and continuing to fight all the way until Spring. I am very very proud of you my friend!


S in AK March 18, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Have I ever mentioned how I spend half of my life analyzing the other? And seriously, everyone is screwed if I don’t get enough sleep. I’m so glad you beat winter this year!


Erica March 19, 2015 at 11:36 am

Hey Dana –

I don’t have to deal with winter but I totally understand fighting against anxiety and depression. Big life events set me off and I’m already freaking about Alec’s graduation and commissioning in May and then flight school in September.

Once anxiety creeps in, it just will not let go! I too have learned that having too much down time isn’t a good thing. My brain gets a little too carried away with it’s thoughts. I KNOW I need to get back into a regular exercise routine. I just need someone to kick me in the ass. I will try some of your other tips as well. Thank you!


Dana Talusani March 19, 2015 at 1:05 pm


Those are big deals to wrestle with, although I know that Alec is so well-grounded that he can handle these changes with grace. Is he excited for flight school? What an accomplished young man he is. You must be so proud. I hope you aren’t taking on all of the celebration/party duties yourself? That would definitely cause me some anxiety.

As for the depression regime, the exercise part is hard for me, because I hate it. I just do. I always tell myself that I NEVER am sorry afterwards that I made myself do it. And that’s true. But ugh. Moving the butt off of the couch is always a struggle. I understand!


Sherri March 19, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Yes – exercise – for me, power vinyasa yoga unless it is sub-zero then weights and a sweaty run on treadmill. Volunteering at school also a big one. Baking – sitting to eat with family – having a few afternoons of no activities during which my kids and I “sit on our butts” as it says on our chalk wall today :). Glad you had a good winter. Aside from a sleepy, carb-craving one (vitamin D deprived maybe?), winter was OK in PA too.


Dana Talusani March 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm


I am having a “sit on butt” day today as well. Sometimes, nothing is better than cuddling in and being happy that you don’t have anything crucial to show up for. :)


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me March 19, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Outstanding. I am so happy to know that you kicked winter’s ass. You have all the right things going on here to combat SAD. The daylight and fresh air thing is key for me – big time. Wish I could say I was good about the exercise. I’m bad at that part. Don’t know if I can offer any wisdom you don’t already have here – you’ve nailed it! Happy spring to you – we’re getting 3-6 inches of snow tomorrow. Honestly.


C. Troubadour March 20, 2015 at 10:00 am

Cartwheels over here for kicking winter’s ass! Having a plan is the only way I’ve ever kept the bad blues away — hearing what you considered for yours is actually super helpful. My lows aren’t season-influenced, but they do have clear triggers and I do better having things to look forward to before those inevitable triggers are upon me. Strategic scheduling, you know. And, always, knitting on the needles. All the better when it’s a project that will bring someone else joy too ;)


Dana Talusani March 24, 2015 at 9:10 am


It definitely brought joy! Your knitting needles are magic. :)


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri March 20, 2015 at 10:29 am


You know I can relate. I especially loved this, “But some of you do wrestle and tumble and struggle, and I think it’s important not to hide that part of ourselves, as rotten and as shameful as it makes us feel. Hiding is double-dog dangerous; hiding is what makes us feel fraudulent and very, very alone. I know this. As icky as it feels to examine the darkness, the alternative is worse, don’t you think?” I’ve accepted my tilt toward sadness. It makes me, me.

Any reason for the tinnitus? I know it can be such a pain. xo


Dana Talusani March 24, 2015 at 9:09 am


Fellow “tilter to the sad” here. I know you understand. As for the tinnitus, I have been given a laundry list of possible triggers but not solutions. It tends to happen to people with autoimmune disorders, so there’s that. Alas.


Kel March 20, 2015 at 5:01 pm

I’m so glad you made it through on your terms!

If I may be so bold as to offer unsolicited advice — and feel free to tell me to fuck off — have you ever used a SAD light? My spouse has depression all year ’round, but the winter is a nasty, obstreperous bitch for him. He was skeptical beyond words – eye rolling ensued, many “whatevers” were heard, but our marriage counselor absolutely agreed with me that he should try it. He now uses it every day for 30 minutes no matter what the season, but without fail in the winter.

Just a thought. But whatever you do, make sure to give some smooches to the Mozz Man. There is *nothing* like our pets’ unconditional love to help keep the demons on their leashes.


Dana Talusani March 24, 2015 at 9:07 am


I definitely won’t tell you to fuck off! I have heard a lot about the lights, and will consider one for next year. We do get lots of sunshine here (even when it is butt-ass cold) but I am definitely open to trying anything to keep the winter baddies away.


Pamela March 21, 2015 at 11:33 am

Go you! I totally suffer from SAD and winter didn’t eat me but definitely left a mark, per usual. I love the self care list! Xoxo


Velva March 24, 2015 at 6:12 pm

You kicked winters ass. Welcome to spring!



Tiffany March 28, 2015 at 6:26 am

I am so very proud of you. Love you. Mean it.


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