While this is the most wonderful time of the year for some, the holiday season can be really tough for many. Some people have painful memories connected to this time of the year, like the loss of a loved one, while some are struggling with what is often referred to as the winter blues.
So what exactly are the winter blues? It depends on who you ask. Some refer to the winter blues as a subtle sadness that settles in during the colder months of the year. A therapist or counselor may evaluate your symptoms and realize what you are calling the winter blues is really Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a type of depression that’s associated with changes in season and many people struggle with it and have no idea what it even is. I know because I have struggled with it in the past. So far, this winter has been kind to me, but it’s only December, and I have no clue what the next few months will bring.
What I do know is that no matter how you define it, having the blues or any form of depression has a significant impact on your mood, which ultimately has a significant impact on your marriage. When you are sad, moody, irritable and tired, it’s almost impossible to maintain the happy relationship you’d love to have.
And unfortunately, we often have no idea what hit us when the blues strike. And since you have no clue, neither does your spouse. Your spouse notices the change in your mood and behavior, but he inevitably thinks it’s about him or your relationship. He has no idea what you’re going through. Shoot, you don’t even know what you’re going through.
It’s hard for everyone involved.
So if you’ve noticed a difference in how you feel in recent months and you aren’t sure what it is, you should consider the possibility that the change in seasons is really having an impact on your mood.
Here are three signs that the winter blues aren’t just messing with you, but are also wreaking havoc on your relationship.
Your sex life is disappearing
Suffering from depression often causes people to lose interest in things that were once pleasurable. If your sex life was pretty good a few months ago and you are suddenly losing interest without a reason you can pinpoint, you may be suffering from depression. It’s more common than people realize and can become so damaging since one spouse often has no idea why the other is no longer interested in physical intimacy.
You feel a lot more irritable than usual
If you are walking around with a huge chip on your shoulder and your spouse hasn’t really done anything wrong, you have to ask yourself what’s going on. We all have bad days, but when those days turn into weeks, there is a possibility that your stank attitude and frustrated mood have nothing to do with your spouse and have everything to do with the fact that you just feel like crap all the time.
It’s okay to feel this way, but it’s not okay to let your spouse think it’s about him once you realize it’s deeper than that.
You just want to be alone
You have no interest in date night, attending a holiday party together sounds like torture and you just want to go to bed right after dinner instead of talking and catching up. Sounds familiar? If this is how you have been feeling lately, it’s the depression. Depression can cause you to isolate yourself and withdraw from the people you love most. When you do this, it not only damages your marriage, but it leaves your mate unclear about what should be done to offer you the support you truly need.
If any of this sounds familiar, you are probably wondering what you can do to turn things around. Below are a few basic tips:
- Practice self-care
- Take a trip (a warmer climate is a great idea)
- Socialize (don’t avoid the holiday parties and outings)
- Talk to the people you love
- Go to counseling or therapy
If you’ve tried the tips listed above and they aren’t helping enough, don’t ignore the problem. If you believe you need additional support to work through the winter blues or depression, please don’t suffer in silence. You are not alone. And even if you think your spouse won’t get it, you must get help simply because you deserve it.
Here are a few resources to you can turn to for additional help.
BMWK family, are you feeling down lately? What are you doing to get help?