I think that I am truly ready for some sunshine right about now. The second half of January and just about all of February has been really grey and gloomy. I have a weird kind of circadian rhythm because I prefer when the days are not as long and it gets dark around 5:00-5:30. Getting good, restorative sleep in the summer is very difficult because the combination of heat, humidity and long days make falling asleep and having sustained sleep difficult at best. But this winter, unlike the previous two, has been much greyer.
I think my favorite time of year is autumn because of the cool, crisp days that are generally sun-filled but then it gets dark early enough that my body can unwind and the sleep cycle can begin to kick in. Melatonin is supposed to help get more restorative sleep but I am none too keen on its long term use. Maybe I can use it during the summer only, when sleep is more difficult. That will be a discussion for later.
Yesterday I had a Zoom meeting with my every other Thursday NAMI Connections group. This is my favorite Zoom meeting because it is well structured and organized such that nobody ends up monopolizing the conversation. The discussions are often really insightful and helpful. From one of the discussions, a member helped me to realize that my internal dialogue is always in the third person. When I am self-critical, I always say, “You are worthless. You should be doing more.” This might be something to bring up with my doctor because she might know of a medication that could work differently. I was not even aware I did this until somebody else brought it up.
This Zoom meeting reminds me of how important it is to go to these peer recovery groups. Simply sharing and hearing others share helps us to help ourselves and become better at self-advocation. When it comes to mental health and wellness, self-advocacy is unfortunately so paramount. It is paramount but when we are in the throes of our symptoms, self-advocacy can be a temporary impossibility and we need others to advocate for us. If you are a care giver, I encourage you to visit NAMI to learn about programs geared towards you; share and learn from other care givers.