Some people are Summer people. Some people, spring people. Some are winter people. Some love autumn.
No, I’m not talking about people’s colouring or the things that they like to wear (that is something that I, in fact know very little about). I am simply talking about peoples’ favourite times of year. Some people like to soak up the sunshine in summery garb out in the garden, down at the beach or over at the local pool. Others love to curl up by the fire in their favourite jumper under a rug with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate – or put a movie on. Some love the colours of autumn and the beginnings of that lick of ice in the early evening. And some the radiant brightness of spring, its scents, the new life, the slow steady warmth, the magpies diving at you from overhead…
I never settled to a favourite time of year. I really do enjoy almost all of all seasons – and by the time one ends I am ready for the next. I am not fond of the days that exceed 40 degrees celsius with no cool breeze for long stretches at a time. Hot winds are their own breed of evil in Australia for reasons far beyond temperature tolerance. I’m not a great fan of temperatures at the other end of the spectrum either – especially if they come with a wind. Actually – wind bugs me more than temperature. But seasons – apart from the odd bits like getting up in the dark to go to work in winter – seasons are a delight. Full of life. At least, I always used to think so.
My dog pays attention to the seasons too.
Unlike me, the dog has clear preferences for different times of the year. It took me a while to work this out, but its consistent. The dog is stubborn in winter. He moves slow. He needs more time. He takes more time and holds me up whether I plan it or not and he wears me out more easily than he does during the warmer months. I think he’s arthritic. He gives me no trouble if I allow for the arthritis though. A bit more sleep – 1/2 hr or so more than I need in summer and I’m fine. I just need to be patient.
Summer is usually the dog’s best time of year. He still needs discipline, but he’s more content to walk at heel and doesn’t drag and tug away at the lead. Spring and Autumn are strange. Most of the seasons fall in with the winter and summer behaviour for Dog according to temperature and what the light is doing. In each of these season there comes a point where the light changes – and over these few weeks the dog goes nuts. He is unpredictable. I can not afford to let my guard down for more than a few moments at a time. My sleep gets poor – this starts the ball rolling. My energy levels become low, my motivation to maintain routine relapse prevention strategies gets sloppy and I soooo don’t feel like doing anything about it. It at these times that I have frequently relapsed (almost without exception). I made it through autumn this year. So far I have struggled this far through the last few weeks. Another 3 – 4 should see me through the worst of it.
Until then, its keep on keeping on and stick to the programme. Watch for warning signs – the very time of year in and of itself is a trigger – even without the presence of other factors. Light does funny things to my health in other areas too. It’s like the dog becomes delirious. Here is a time when I need my friends and family – my supports more than any other time of the year. I’m struggling to get to work on time at the moment, but so far my boss has let me cover with time in lieu. Still, I’m determined to conquer that one too. I get there on time more often than not – just not as often as I should. Just now – when I least feel like it – discipline becomes oh so important.
I had my last review with my Psychiatrist this week. We agreed that it would also be possibly a beneficial thing to increase one of my medications for 1-2 months during the peak risk zone while I’m wrestling risk factors and wavering – just for that short-term – and then go back to my current dose afterwards as the weather and season stabilises a bit more.
Hopefully the combination of ‘personal medicine’ or monitoring of triggers and early warning signs with the kind of action plans that are outlined in my post “Better Medicine” with the temporary medication adjustment will prove to be a good protective measure. I’ve had a good year. I’d hate to mess it up now. I’m hoping to get to at least a whole year without a relapse this year!
So roll on to the latter end of Spring. Because despite all of this, I really do love spring. There’s a certain level of hope and promise in the air in Spring that’s unique to this time of year.
Come Dog. Heel. Walk. Heel. Walk. Heel …