Each year I face the dreaded anniversary of a traumatic five-minute long event — an armed robbery, which has affected nearly every area of my life. As with many people, seasonal changes, which I call seasonal triggers, bring on a flood of memories of that event. In my case, the seasonal triggers are shortened days and colder, cloudier weather.

It could happen again

For several weeks each year, I feel like I am practically re-living the trauma. When the colder, cloudier weather comes, and I find myself walking alone in mall parking lots, restaurant parking lots, or any parking lot, I am usually thinking to myself, “It could happen to me again, right here, now.”

Warm and cozy

During the cold months of the year, I spend a lot of time resting at home in an effort to calm my anxious soul. I’m not working off many pounds, but I have many hours to practice my deep breathing techniques, and slowly page through home decorating magazines while drinking hot cocoa. As bedtime approaches, I prepare for sleeping by feeding myself a steady diet of peaceful thoughts, comedies or magazines, and keep my distance from scary or violent movies and news shows. I am a flowering plant that takes great care to nurse back to health after a strong storm. The dream – of health – comes through much effort.

Hold on to your hats. I am flowering.

I have changed in the three years since the armed robbery. I enjoy summers more than ever before, because I can spend time with my friends under the sun, soaking up the rays, being generally carefree about life. My love for fresh fruit, well-tended gardens, and building friendships has increased. Throughout the year, I surround myself with plenty of lights or sunshine, eat foods that are good for me, and nurture my sense of humor.

I am developing a greater ability to be content in any circumstance. Whether I am at home or at work, I often find myself stopping what I am doing to enjoy the profoundly simple pleasure of being in a safe place with a roof over my head. I need practically nothing else.

Discovering what triggers your seasonal depression is half the battle. If you can’t figure it out, talk to your healthcare professional to make sure it is not physically induced. And if you do find an emotional trigger, we have confidential, free mentors who can help you process your next steps. Just fill out the form below in the "Connect" tab and you'll hear back soon.

This article was written by: Deborah Perry

Photo Credit: Ethan Sykes