It’s that time of year again. And we don’t mean the holidays. For 5% of Americans, the end of fall/beginning of winter marks the beginning of an annual slump. Some know it as “The winter blues”, “a seasonal funk”, or even “the holiday hangover”... in the clinical world, it’s known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or Seasonal Depression.
“Gratitude” seems like one of those sticky catch-all words. It conjures up the image of a family at Thanksgiving dinner going around the table and professing all that they are grateful for. It conjures up images of writing thank-you cards for gifts (an oft-dreaded practice). These are certainly good practices of gratitude - and there’s more to living a gratitude-driven lifestyle than a simple “thank you”!
It can be scary to imagine yourself living a life without your mental illness holding you back - when you have struggled for so long, it can be easy to over-familiarize yourself with your symptoms because they are familiar, comfortable, and safe. However, we are not our brains (I’ll say it again: we are not our brains). We are affected by the way our brains function, but we are not forever defined by what our brains do.
There are subtle hints all around that fall is on its way. For many people, autumn-time (pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin cheesecake), marks the beginning of a steady trajectory of weight gain that culminates in grand weight loss promises on January 1st.