I read. A lot.
I used to have a 90-minute commute by train to my job - both ways - and I might read 2 or 3 paperback pulp fiction novels each week.
I retired but still have a voracious appetite for reading... And I read all sorts of stuff (lol).
This week I was reading Kathy MacNaughton's recent story, Coping With COPD Guilt — Just Let It Go where she wrote, "Depression and anxiety are common in people who have COPD," and it struck a chord with me.
I believe what Kathy wrote is sad but true. On some of the COPD discussion pages and websites I belong to there are many of us who are sad...despondent. It’s not difficult to become that way.
Seasonal depression and COPD?
I’m not depressed nor am I anxious. But the weather seems to have a much more profound influence on me, my mood, these days since I was diagnosed with COPD than it did before.
I hadn’t really noticed it in the past few years but, this year is different.
I’m not talking about humidity or cold or heat.
Those elements obviously have a great impact on many of us. Humidity is a real killer for me when it comes to breathing. A bit of moisture in the air can help lubricate the airways, but, as many of us know, too much will make the air too dense to breathe easily.
No...I’m talking about winter and cloudy days and how it makes me feel.
Monitoring the weather is an important part of being prepared. I think I have 3 weather apps on my phone!
Knowing the weather forecast when it might suggest staying indoors is so important.
When I was growing up my Dad used to talk about the winter sky. He would say, “Wow. What a bleak day.”
I didn’t really get it when I was a teenager. Every day, rain or shine, was another day to get out and do something.
True - it was easier on the sunny days to get out and fool around with “the guys” but cloudy, or rainy days didn’t act as an impediment to our activities.
We’d just have to towel off when we got home and listen to our Moms as they cried, “WIPE YOUR FEET!” or “Take off those wet shoes! I just mopped the kitchen floor.”
Winter season in the northeast
But, the winters in the Northeast here can be hellish at times in terms of cold and wind and snow. In the summer, daylight lasts longer and nighttime is shorter.
And there can be an awful lot of cloudy days from November to March. And I guess because I spend more time at home now because of my COPD, like many of us do, I notice the sky a great deal more.
I also miss a warm fire in the fireplace during the winter. But I’d be crazy to light one or sit in a neighbor’s house as one is burning even though it would make that sunset that much more spectacular and, subsequently, my mood.
Sounds depressing, no? lol
But as “moody” as cloudy days may make me, sunny days make me that much more cheerful now than before I was diagnosed.
I love a winter sunset. It’s very different from a summer sunset or any other time of the year. A nice sunrise or sunset can change my mood during these long winter months.
The colors seem that much more vivid and the cloud formations are lit from below as the sun travels to its resting place.
And restores my good mood.
Have you taken our COPD In America Survey yet?