So, I don’t know if this is common with many in the autism community, but I am experiencing an heavy amount of the “Winter Blues.” A snowier winter, alongside with being isolated more due to COVID and snow cancellations has made me be in a more sleepy and down mood. While I am grateful for many things that I do have, I at times feel like I have no control of things and just want this pandemic to be over, but I know that we are getting there.
I normally experience the winter blues because daylight is limited for about five months of the year and the cold weather hits crippling the ability to go out, however COVID has further diminished the opportunities by causing occupancy limits and enhancing restrictions on things that once happened before COVID. There are now many hours that I sleep while not totally focused on what is needed to be focused on. I get my work done, but the extra time that I have for doing things that I enjoy is eliminated by excessive worry, sleep and just pacing.
I would honestly say because of COVID, this has been enhanced because I am home more that I was before that, although I don’t mind having the opportunity to do so because if I do use my time wisely, I can dabble at writing and my wishes, which is something I should enjoy. Instead, I continually worry when the grocery delivery will be processed and for the conformation email, followed by looking out the window to see when the delivery truck will arrive so I can mask up for him to enter my home. Today, it was much later than normal because of the bad weather, which should be expected, however, in my mind I have the mindset that even though the order was picked late, that it shouldn’t take that long. But I forget to realize that it does take extra time because the delivery person is not truly focusing on my needs but several other customers, and that the roads and other surfaces present challenges for them.
It wasn’t like I was out of food, I had plenty. I could have had anything I wanted and I did snack as time went on in the afternoon instead of focusing on things that I needed to do, such as writing this blog post for example. I know that I need to work on things, however the worry and tiredness from sitting at the computer for an excessive time contribute to my not wanting to do the necessary.
The lack of Vitamin D plays another role because I am not getting a sufficient amount of sunlight. This deficiency presents a feeling of sluggishness and unwillingness to do things. This can cause issues with cleanliness, hygiene and work performance to a degree that others notice you not being yourself and it can result in you have a negative presumption about yourself. I know I have been experiencing a great deal of sluggishness recently and it shows in my lack of attention to detail and my attention to tasks less favored, like cleaning up things or keeping up with a shower routine for example.
The key is to be alert when things take a downhill turn and attempt to not fall asleep for excessive amounts of time, although your brain sometimes tells you that you need to do this. With all things being the way they are right now, it may just be too much for the autistic mind such as mine to handle, although keeping busy I know is paramount to keeping my mental health in check. I also know that I have to do basic things of life, like eat and drink and use the restroom and of course take my medicine and sleep, all paramount things to the mental health recovery movement.
We as both autistics/neurodiverse and neurotypical individuals must be aware that we must be cognizant of what our needs are even the ones that come natural in a pandemic and winterized world that in no way seems normal because of all the schedule changes. Remember, there is no health without mental health.