Surefire Cures for a Nervous Breakdown

December 3, 2008 by Ellen Stimson in Nervous Breakdowns, Wintertime

It’s too cold and the darkness is unforgiving and the days end way too fast.
Spring is sweet. It is the newborn baby season and summer is the teenage season. That one is all about energy, hormones and growth. Plus there is all that shiny unrelenting beauty and heat just before those giddy late nights. Then there is autumn. Autumn is a grown up who understands the importance of excitement, bright sunshine, and flashy color to get you through the day. But she also understands the value of wool socks and your favorite old sweater. Autumn lives life comfortably at both ends, taking time to be quiet and curl up in front of the fire at the end of a busy exciting day. Early winter though is that part of old age where the doctor visits fill your calendar with replacement knees and arthritis meds both being in contention. Conversation turns to the minor aches and the sexual side effects of the blood pressure or depression meds. Early winter lacks the sparkle and shine of the snowy bits that will come later and there is the long slog til Christmas when a cheery little fire and the lights from the tree in the corner can make you forget, especially if you are holding a glass of Uncle Winston’s eggnog. Early winter is the time equivalent of a lost appetite

Today the wind is howling and the Internet tells us that we will have a thirty degree dip by the weekend again. This happened last week too and I will say again that it is too early for single digit temperatures. But back then we were all baking and cooking seventeen different dishes for the holiday that’s all about food. The cold seemed less troubling when my house was full of happy kids and the comforting smells of butter and sugar. Only come to think of it I might have complained just a teensy little bit then too.

But then we have just had Thanksgiving so I shouldn’t need reminding to stay thankful. And supposedly even this early winter has its charms if you pay attention. A full bird feeder makes a whole bunch of creatures happy including me watching from the kitchen window as they flutter and hover and fill themselves up. The birch trees are amazing alabaster sculptures in a bare and unadorned wood, and there are deer down in the meadow now happily eating the food we’ve left there. Plus a gentle African American man is headed to Pennsylvania Avenue which stills feels like a miracle. All those years we’ve been backsliding and so many people kept saying it wouldn’t happen in our lifetimes, but while they kvetched other good people just kept coming to work and making sure it would happen. I was Hiillary supporter in the primaries, but I sang Amazing Grace on November 4th just like every other kindly celebrating American I know.

But except for that excitement, November is the psychiatric month and early December is hardly better. Maybe it is the dry skin. We haven’t adjusted yet to the cold and dry and we all have minor colds and horrible blotchy skin around our noses. We need to moisturize and buy enough lip balms so that there is one in every purse and every car we own, with a couple in the desk drawer, the kitchen junk drawer, and always in the bathrooms too just in case. These can be used in a pinch to moisturize around your mouth and under your nose, and when all else fails get the old Vicks out at night. It will not make you any more sane during the day, but it will comfort you and make you less likely to turn to a pound of cheesecake at 2 AM. If a breakdown is still imminent just stay away from the middle aisles at the grocer. You can never go far wrong in the produce or soap aisles. Okay there is that creamy stuff way out at the edge, but a little butter and cream might be better than a fifth of whiskey….or then again maybe not.


  • katiedid

    Giggling and sniffing both here. I too am a Vicks girl. Do you put it on the bottoms of your feet with socks?
    Amazing. That will cure almost anything that ails you

  • library lady

    I’m sitting here at work, all warm and comfortable with one of my favorite sweaters on and we just found out that the computer system is going to be down all day on Friday. Since I really can’t do anything without the computer system, I’m going to take the day off, so I’m pretty happy. I could even take on the middle aisles!

  • painted maypole

    what DID they do before lip balm?

  • nellie

    i love the middle aisles. that’s where they keep the good really stuff. how do you expect to get through winter without rotel dip and pop tarts. no wonder you think it is dark out!

  • Casdok

    Vick on your feet? Must try that one!

    And yes i have tried just talking to these teenagers without success 🙁

  • Kellan

    Winter is settling in early everywhere, except here. It is still warm durning the days here. It is supposed to dip to the 40s tonight – YIPPIE! Stay warm and keep feeding those birds – they are lucky to get all the help they can.

    Take care and have a good afternoon – Kellan

  • library lady

    I forgot to mention that lip balm is wonderful as a cuticle softener too. I hate cracked and bleeding cuticles on my fingers when it’s cold and I have to do a lot of windshield scraping!

  • jamie

    I just ordered it off Amazon for like 7 bucks–the video stores in town don’t have it and, well, it costs that much to rent a movie nowadays anyway! I’ll get back to you after I get it!

  • Mighty Morphin' Mama

    It is a sucky season, to put it a million times less eloquently than you:) It is so cold here, -14 celcius, our first really cold day, but the wind has been howling all week. I think I shall make some hot chocolate and cozy up and listen to the boys practice their guitars.

  • starrlife

    Vicks is it man!

  • Jennifer

    Yes, and yes, and yes. Also, the lip balm can be used on very dry hands in an emergency. Though, I haven’t tried the Vicks…

    Winter. Ack. Help.

  • jamie

    I am a firm believer that if we could just stay inside and watch winter it would be lovely–going out in it is a whole different beast. She was here this morning and she was mean–pouring down snow and wind. it is days like these that I want nothing more than to stay in my warm bed rather than face the cruel wind. But when you can watch from the inside, well winter is something beautiful… And everytime it snows I am reminded of that. This morning a man working maintenance and chopping ice asked me why we chose to live in Iowa- I said, well because it is beautiful if we let it be 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I prefer to think of it not as giving in to the temptations of alcohol, but rather support cottage industries in otherwise sheep-centric portions of the Hebrides.

  • Nellie

    I am with TP.
    We are supposed to spend to help this economy that is making us all sick and I find spending on Godiva liquor solves both problems.
    And for dry hands try this stuff called bag balm. It is what dairy farmers used to use on the cows, only now it is gently scented and boy it works a real trick

  • Kate

    I’m addicted to vicks.

    And I use lip balm on the crusty corners of my weeping eyes. It stops the madness.

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