Wintering In Spirit

How does one fight depression?

I spend most winters slugging through a depression as do about 15% of the population. Right now I am waiting for the sun to peek out and quickly set from several days of moody weather. The clouds are lifting weather wise. My personal clouds seem to have settled in for awhile. However, I manage those clouds well, for moments, sometimes days, okay maybe for a little while. Take a peek at my world (pausing to grab the camera here) as I attempt to take action steps which are doubly hard as depression saps energy.

Getting out and doing something is the hardest thing to do. Even pursuing passions is hard. Very hard. Below are some action steps that I take or have taken intentionally. My first two pictures…tonight’s sunset. I wish they lasted more than five minutes. Jan 25 sunset 2020 emlsun lit ice 2eml

Seeing beauty in nature helps my inner being. It’s an action step and I love it anytime.

Back yard 2eml
Another action step: I crawled up on the roof for perspective…with the camera…last week
Fire embers to stare at
I often build a fire in the woods in the snow. There is something about staring into a fire, pondering life and thinking deeply.
tracy stir fry eml
Cooking something different: another action step to ward off depression.
colorado 2013 (4)
Taking a winter vacation. Mountain skiing or winter camping in the snow in remote BWCAW…I love both. This is keystone Colorado.
He Restores my soul eml (2)
One midwinter, My wife and I joined a team to Guatemala to help build homes.
Gray Squirrel in sumac 2eml
I watch 3 squirrels out our living room window often. Picture taken from our living room
Fall Oak in winter eml
My best action step is just getting out in nature to notice analogies of life (when not fishing).

This little oak tree refused to let Autumn go. There are so many things I don’t want to let go. If I could figure out how to let my depression go, I would. Maybe I reflect too much or maybe it’s as simple as a lack of vitamin D or the body processing the D poorly. Whatever the case, I refuse to become an obese couch potato.

I however am open to your suggestions. How do you fight the doldrums of winter? I have seen doctors on this issue. They tell me I have plenty of company in this world. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that my relationship with God is my foundation and my wife is a very stable rock in my life. I find strength to get out there. There is also a depth of being in walking through the valleys of life on many levels. I prefer being on the mountain top though. For now, the roof will do. Hey, I’m in Wisconsin and I have a great job…meanwhile, I love the snow and cold outside but my personal winter inside is hard.

Gary

Ice fishing cp eml
Yep, gotta get out on the lake more…who wants to go ice fishing?

Published by Gary Fultz

Outdoors Man, Hunter, Fisherman, Guide, Writer / Author, Photographer, Public Speaker, Musician, Song Writer, Story Teller, Follower Of Jesus, Peragon.com day job.

49 thoughts on “Wintering In Spirit

  1. I struggle this time of year too. It sneaks up on me. I find when I’m giving my wife one-word answers to her questions that I realize I’m now in the grip of winter depression. I totally understand! God is good. Vitamin D helps also!
    You’re in my prayers brother,
    Ron

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you know Ron, Winter Depression is a real thing. Intentional action steps help but I need people to help. I draw close to the Lord in these times because the natural thing to do is withdraw from all relationships and even the fun stuff. It’s physical, spiritual, social and mental affecting all areas of life.

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  2. You have been through a lot these passed twelve months, Gary, my friend. Much more than the average bear. I know from my own experience when the shroud settles over me I wait not so patiently, but I can only wait for it to pass.
    Your action steps are superior. And so is your photography!
    God bless you my friend.
    Wish I could get out there on the ice with you.

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  3. Hi Gary, I understand about the fire and the stillness and beauty of nature. It’s all really humbling when you stop to think about it. I felt the same in my younger days when I was out in the middle of the ocean, especially at night. The norm that I seek now is maintained through prayer, reflecting on gratitude, God’s patience and His presence, scripture, a loving wife and laughing at little things, like when my wife is funny. The beauty of love is another, with my wife, our children and grandchildren. I also love to be near water, which explains why I love fishing and don’t really care if I catch anything. I love the sound of loons too. I don’t think I suffer from depression, definitely not like some, I can feel down at times but it seldom lasts very long so I am very fortunate. Spring is only a few short weeks away Gary, sincerely hope your lifted back to the lofty heights soon. Blessings brother.

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  4. How I fight the doldrums of winter? Sometimes, no matter what I do, I still feel them.

    But, in general, it has made a positive difference since about ten years ago one of my daughters and I were discussing how annoyed we were at ourselves for all the whining we did about winter, and how it didn’t help.

    She and I decided not to complain about winter anymore. At first, it was silly. With forced cheerfulness we said things like, “Wow, I love it when it gets down to minus thirty!” And “Snow up to my knees is awesome!” Or “Isn’t it neat when the snow plow doesn’t come down our road till we’re stuck for a week?”

    We made each other laugh with our silly remarks, and we’d correct ourselves and each other when we slipped up and griped.

    But over the years, the attitude increasingly became real.

    Last week, that daughter sent me a photo of herself standing at a bus stop in northern BC, a few hours north of me, waiting to catch a ride to university. It was -43 Celsius and she was smiling with white frost on her eyelashes. She looked like a proverbial ice princess.

    We talked later, with laughter, about how it’s become almost a competition among us northern folk to say what coldness we’ve endured. We might not outright prefer it over a nice warm day, but there’s a hint of bragging when we can say we lived through something not normally considered pleasant.

    Plus the cold makes for some good storytelling later around a fire.

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      1. I don’t know how to fix it. I responded to someone else telling me about the comments being closed, as they told me on my 3rd or 4th most recent post where comments were still open. I never shut them off.

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  5. That’s good advice Steeny. laughing does help. So glad it has worked well for you. And yes, complaining doesn’t help. My tendency is to just shut down and settle for a numbness of the soul. That doesn’t work either and creates a downward spiral….each year is different and the recipe for being lifted up is different. God always knows and his presence is beyond any other help.

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  6. Hi Gary
    Physically the seasons can take a toll on us but we can bear it for we know it will pass .
    Our spiritual seasons as I call them , well that’s a different things altogether .
    Currently I am in a tornado that’s been going for seven moths now and only God knows what the damage will be. My
    Strength and peace of mind has been and it is the faithfulness of God. My priorities are changing as well as my heart desires. My passion is to grow in my knowledge of God.
    I have no idea what will happen to me but I trust Him who died for us with the outcome For my eternal good and His Glory
    Praying for you and your family .

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  7. Your pictures are amazing. The connection you have with nature is beautiful. You are definitely not alone in having the dark, cold winter in your soul. But praise God, we know that Spring is coming!!! We hang onto that hope and wrap God around us like a warm blanket.

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  8. Thanks so much Stephanie. Hope is a lot like a warm blanket isn’t it. Yesterday it was still light (tiny bit) when I got off work. the days are getting longer sun. Ye’s spring is coming, on so many levels…thanks for your encouragement.

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  9. God bless you, Gary. Thanks for your openness and honesty. And also for the beautiful pictures. When you look at world, disease, poverty, war, addiction, sex trafficking, and so much more, I wonder, how we cannot be depressed?
    Life is hard. I find refuge in God. If it were not for the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit living inside of me… My mission is to tell others about this hope. God bless you, my friend.

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  10. Thanks so much Bill. You are so encouraging. Part of my mid winter battle down through the years is first to take my eyes off myself and second to not let my feelings distract me from my mission of mentor-ship of guys the Lord seems to lead me into. What I fight is called Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a matter of managing it more than looking for a cure which I am open to. . Truthfully, Other than the world being so of of order, I really have no things in my life that I should be depressed. Now if I could just get the body to produce a little more serotonin!!!

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  11. Beautiful photos! I understand what you’re talking about. One of my favorite “remedies” is to laugh. I can youtube Jeannie Robertson and she always makes me laugh. Also Gerry Brooks, a Kentucky principal always cracks me up. Laughter is good medicine! Blessings, Gary!

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    1. Thanks Cindy.
      Laughing is one of the best medicines for me as well. When funny things are hard for me to laugh at then I know I have crossed a threshold of depression that needs extra attention to manage. I have also tried to be humorous but it’s a sign when the only one who sees the humor is myself.

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  12. Terrific photos, Gary. I’m an old shutterbug. My camera sits in the camera bag up in a shelf in the closet. I kick myself often when I realize how long it’s been since I took some shots. Your sunset shot is beautiful. I would frame that one. As for depression, I suffer. Long story there, brother. I’m great ful He was called “Man of Sorrows”. He gets me. God’s grip – Alan

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    1. Thanks Alan. Yes get the camera out and save a slice of time/perspective. Mine sits on a counter ready to grab on my way out the door, otherwise it would be in a box someplace with the last move.
      I have turned 5 sunset photos into canvas prints for the sunset side of our house. When I replace one I give one away . Kind of fun.

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  13. Beautiful photos, Gary–a delight to scroll through. Love how you take action-steps to fight your depression and don’t just crawl under a quilt to wait for spring. Our son suffers from seasonal depression, and experiences relief with a special lamp that mimics natural outdoor light. It helps restore a person’s circadian rhythm. (I think I’ve got that info straight!) Might be something to mention to your doctor–see what he/she thinks.

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  14. Thanks Nancy, I have actually been looking at those lights. Being a skeptic by nature I have been doing a lot of research and what do you know…they work on others so they might work on me I hope.

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