The pasture is a yucky mud pit with all this rain! I try really hard not to complain about the weather. It just seems so pointless and reminds me of the rantings of my grandmother. (I am not ready to sound like my grandmother!)
But, as a horse owner I am acutely aware of the weather. Horses need attention every day — rain or shine or freezing snow. As a matter of fact, horses need the most attention when the weather is almost unbearable to humans. Hooves need cleaned of painful ice chunks, water buckets need thawed and round bales of hay need to be put out in the pasture no matter how muddy the field. There are some days when I don't want to brave the cold and rain and I really just want to hang out inside by my fireplace with a cup of coffee and a good book. But I can usually muster up the needed energy and do what needs to be done without too much grumbling.
The occasional wanting to shirk my barn responsibilities is, I think, pretty normal. But there was a time in my life when that heavy, sad feeling was my everyday existence and I could not access the energy to do anything. I just could not shake the feeling of gloom.
Everyday I was tearful and wanted to isolate myself. Getting out of bed was a big accomplishment on those particularly dark days. At the urging of my caring husband, I did seek the help of a licensed psychotherapist. She put a name to what I was experiencing: Major Clinical Depression. I wasn't lazy or irresponsible or unmotivated. Depression is not immoral, it is biochemical. Together my therapist and I worked out a plan that has kept me mostly depression free for more than 10 years.
Major Clinical Depression is set apart from the normal, and occasional sad moods by the length of time one experiences the symptoms. Major Clinical Depression is also not usually associated with an event that would bring about sadness for most anyone like the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. Many times people with Major Clinical Depression will seek help because they realize that despite having a satisfying life they still feel a debilitating sadness. There is another very real type of depression that is associated with the onset of winter sometimes called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a mood disorder and not just the dreading of snow shoveling and icy roads. Of those suffering from this 60 to 90 percent are women who likely blame themselves every year for their sudden drop in energy or increased sadness.
If you even suspect your sadness is more intense than normal or has persisted for more than a few days, reach out for help. Call a friend, relative, minister, rabbi or mental health professional. Tell them what you are going through. There is help. We can't do much to change the weather to our liking, but there is real help out there to ease your depression.