Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

A New Word Today: Wintering

Photo by Pixabay on

During a visit today that I forget was going to happen, feeling so fatigued. Not sure if I would make it to lunch time without having to go back to bed for awhile, instead an interesting visit and conversation.

We talked about how as a society we don’t allow people to be sad, that people often mistake being sad with being depressed, one of which is a clinical illness. Being sad is often a normal response to life events. We moved society to this quick fix regime for all life events, instead of allowing people the time and space to move through events. It would be a normal response to “winter”, at or during difficult or sad times of our lives.

I love this term, Wintering, it seems somehow kind and caring which is what we should offer people during difficult times, rather than telling “them to get over it”, or “get on with it” or “that it’s over”, these are phrases we often use, “pull up your socks and get going”. These kinds of things to nothing to actually help someone. It actually worsens things by putting expectations on them or implying that there is something wrong with how they are managing something, based on our own unrealistic ideals. The unrealistic ideals we place on people have and are becoming very visible in the number of people undergoing Mental Health Challenges.

I am talking about this for to reasons, one I am in a phase where I am wintering, this year has been extremely difficult, to many losses, yes it brings sadness, I want to be allowed to move through the sadness, and it doesn’t mean I am sad every day, but I have moments in a day and somedays I am just sad, so I am “wintering”, doing what I need to do to care for myself, scaling back on some things, doing other things differently, more rest, more down time, more sleep. I won’t allow anyone to tell me I need to do or manage in any way other than the way that is best for me, and if a year of loss, means a year of wintering then thats what it will be.

Photo by Eva Bronzini on

The second reason I am talking about this, is because we are and have been in difficult times the last couple years and no end in sight, and not just them pandemic but the whole state of our world. No one feels particularly confident about the supply chain, the cost of living, wars, fuel, housing and medical situations and it is a global issue. People are on edge, stressed, angry, behaving in and with behaviours that we have and are not used to seeing. In all of this is the Mental Health issues many are facing. Maybe some would rather call it cacooning, many feel that we should move beyond these things within days and weeks. I wonder if we wouldn’t offer people the opportunity to “winter” if we might not help people in and with a more positive outcome than by continuing to but unrealistic expectations on people.

I am including the name of a book about Wintering here which I have ordered for myself.

Wintering: The Power Of Rest And Retreat In Difficult Times :

by Katherine May

This is also what we do with many living with Dementia, when we see them behaving in ways we don’t think appropriate, we use pharmaceuticals to change them, to sedate them, rather than look at what might be really going on. Many with Dementia are treated for depression, I question is it truly depression or are they exhibiting a normal response to abnormal things happening within them and to them. Are we recognizing that they too may need to ” winter” as they move through the never ending changes as changes occur in their disease. We are quick to try to medicate everything, the quick fix ideals are proving that they don’t work. Maybe we need to create spaces and places for those of us living with dementia, that allow us to just be instead of trying to make us fit into someone else’s ideal of what and how we should be.

So I hope we can think about the terms/phrases we use, language is important, and stop trying to put everyone into the same box. Not everyone will move through life events as we will or do. No matter what the event is let’s try to support people in ways that promote wellness, mental, emotional and overall wellness. Space and Time, Rest and Quiet, Heal and Recover.

I hope you all take and do whatever is best for you as you encounter life events.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

By WWW.Chrissy's

I am an advocate for people with dementia in Canada and globally, having been diagnosed with younger onset dementia myself a few years ago.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s