Wintertime Sadness Takes a Toll


The seasons heavily influence my mood. It’s not necessarily a clear-cut “today is a bad day” when the clouds are overcast, but it’s like there’s a gloomy filter placed on my body, especially as wintertime casts its shadow.

Winter is not my favorite time of the year. I get cold easily (did you know that redheads are more sensitive to temperature than most people?) and I hate it. And I’m not going to lie, I really don’t care for driving in the snow. (This is a very anti-Colorado stance. Locals love to claim competence and being comfortable driving on icy and snow-packed roads. Weird flex but ok??)

I also feel anxious, and am reminded of winters past, which were never fun.

Here’s to those of us with seasonal depression, filling our hearts with the desire of spring.

Wintertime Sadness

Originally posted in the November 2015 edition of the CU Denver Advocate.

As white flakes drift from gloomy and foreboding clouds, I will begin to want nothing more than sunshine and rugged, dry pavement. Winter is coming. It’s just about here, and I’m hardly ready.

Gunnison is infamous for their snow-capped wintertime, and known for the far-below negative temperatures. Growing up, I never had a single snow day. In fact, Gunnison School District RE1J has not closed their doors to snow since 1974, despite facing storms with over five feet of precipitation overnight.

Our tears froze to our faces, but we roughed the weather and made it to class every single day.

When I think of winters, however, I don’t just remember my breath freezing mid-air as I walked to the bus stop, or the recesses we spent outside shivering, waiting for the bell to ring so we could go back inside. Winter, to me, means anxiety. It means darkness and dizziness and a lot of sweating.

I spent my winters playing basketball, and I was haunted by the transition from a star athlete to a bench warmer. I wasn’t naturally talented, and my coaches never had a problem reminding me. 

While developing my fundamentals as a basketball player, my anxiety also spread.

I wished that winter would plague me with the flu. As I drove, I would contemplate the benefits of the ice throwing me off track, and was horrified at the darkness. I used sit in my car before school, squeezing my eyes together, imaging the cold infecting the halls of the school.

Desperately, I wanted basketball practice to be cancelled, and for my mind to echo the stillness of the winter frost.

By the time I played my last game of basketball, I felt both relief and warmth, and an unexpected sense of nostalgia. For years I had been yelled at, humiliated, and reminded daily of what I couldn’t do—what I did wrong.

My knees had bruised alongside my ego. Tears were more fluent than laughter. And yet, I was almost sad to see it all go. Wintertime sadness had taken its hold.

Snow is trickling down and starting to stick, and I’m doing everything to quiet my anxious thoughts. The fact remains: I survived those harsh winters. And another is coming.

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4 thoughts on “Wintertime Sadness Takes a Toll

  1. Your childhood experiences defo played a part in you hating winter :p I love snow, mainly because of the snow days I had and the almost perfect excuse for not going to work if I didn’t feel up for it. Luckily I work at schools 😂

    P.S. Your blog’s name a strong hint at your seasonal preferences btw 😉

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures

    1. So true. It’s honestly funny that I lived so close to a ski resort but often didn’t find myself taking advantage of it. Maybe I’d enjoy it better if I had. I’m glad that snow brings back those fun memories for you! Sounds awesome, especially now.

      P.S. You’re totally right! 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

  2. I’m right there with you on the seasons affecting my mood.

    I grew up in upstate New York, where school was rarely canceled, and as one of the last school districts in one of the last counties (both Schoharie), we had to wait until almost the end of the school closings on the radio to find out what we were going to do that day. It’s not like today, where they’re all listed online and tweeted and everything else. If it got really bad, they might put chains on the tires of the school buses.

    I was also a benchwarmer on the basketball team, and I’m not saying it was unpleasant, but in New York, postseason play is open to everyone, and my senior year, we wanted to get away from each other so much that we voted not to go.

    1. The waiting game is so tough, especially knowing that other parts of the state, even one town over, would have a snow day. The anticipation and then the disappointment was never fun.

      I know exactly how that feels. I suited varsity all 4 years, but I often felt like a practice dummy. Post-season play was especially brutal, when we didn’t have the option to split into JV/Varsity teams and all of us swingers had to constantly play defense, etc. Basketball is a really long season, and going into March was tough.

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing! It’s almost comforting to know that other people have had similar experiences and seasonal wilts.

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