(Kate is a guest blogger from Canada who writes from time to time of her work on overcoming agoraphobia and its effect on her as wife, parent and businesswoman)
This winter as many of you know, especially those of you living in the eastern half of North America, was colder and snowier than anything we have experienced in years.
Winter has always been a difficult time for me. The time change, temperature change, shorter days and lack of sun make me fall into SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) very easily. But worse for me is the lack of mobility.
This winter has been one of the worst I can remember and when I look at my agenda compared to last year’s agenda I am down about 75% “going out” ability. I rely heavily on my bicycle to either ride or balance my walking, to get me out of the prison of my house. I drive very little in the winter. I will take it out of the driveway a couple of times during the week and drive a few blocks but that’s about it. I do it only for the purpose of getting in the car and driving – not to get anywhere.
I live in a bike friendly city but this past February the snow and cold kept coming and never thawed and I was only able to manage going out for dinner once. At least it was once and better than not at all! But the snow mounds act as a claustrophobic barrier and the ice encrusted roads are not overly bike tire friendly. So, I have felt particularly trapped this winter as many of us have. I am full of shame and guilt that I can’t just get in my car and drive down to Florida for a break or hop on a plane for that matter.
One of the trickiest parts of the transitions of seasons for me has been the “start-go-stop” cycle. Now that it’s spring, I will be enthusiastic about the thaw and the budding crocuses. I will drive more, be with friends more, attend functions more and do regular day to day things more. It’s an awakening I look forward to each year. However, I will be good for a few months until the oppressive heat and humidity of July and August hammers down and drives me back indoors to the air conditioned comfort of my living room until September when I resume my going out activities until January when I shut down completely and just want to hibernate until spring.
This “start-go-stop” cycle drives me batty because I can go and go, achieving real headway in my recovery process during the fair-weather months and then the change in season kidnaps me and keeps me hostage until the weather changes. It feels like learning how to walk all over again every few months.
I have wondered what it would be like to live in a more temperate climate like Hal mentioned in his book Un-Agoraphobic. There are very few options for moving within Canada where you don’t have to experience winter. Next year in January, I will sign up for an online university course or two to keep me motivated throughout the winter and as an assurance that I will be far too busy to be spending the winter in Florida.