How Fashion Saved Me From My Own Seasonal Affective Disorder

Some of us have to live through winter. Period. And while there are those who love it, there are also those who have to do anything they can just to remain grateful through the long, cold, gray, wet days. My first winter in Boston did not go well. It was the winter - you know the one - it was referred to as Snowmaggedon? Let me jog your memory; Jimmy Fallon joked about our city's unfortunate accumulation saying that "People in Boston were climbing out of two-story windows just to get to work." The thing is that for the people who lived here at the time, it really wasn't a joke. Car windshields buckled under the weight of all the snow if you didn't dig out after every storm. 

That being said, after that long winter of my personal discontent, I never wanted to put on a winter coat ever again. When I put on my winter coat I felt like I had a gray cloud following me above my head. For some reason that coat became the physical representation of all things bad about the season. I was depressed and didn't leave my house for what felt like days at a time. Going out to dinner was an absolute no for me because, A. I had no real winter wardrobe (I had moved to Boston from California), and B. I was grossly unprepared for how mentally challenging it was going to be. I knew if I didn't change my ways or at least my way of thinking, I would be in an even deeper depression the following winter. 

I had no choice but to find a way to embrace it.

First and foremost, I got myself into therapy. You know what? It was about time I did that, and it's one of the best things that going through a bad season did for me. Through therapy I (begrudgingly) was able to admit that I could not let the shock of winter stop me from doing the things that I loved. I had given all of my power over to the weather, and that was not ok. I had never been controlled by anything in the past so why would I start now? I realized that I had stopped doing the things that made me happy like - exercising outdoors, wearing cute shoes (especially heels), getting dressed up and going out at all, exploring someplace new with the kids, meeting a girl friend for dinner, etc.  

Turning the ship around was not easy. 

I started by taking the dog out for a small walk everyday. He hated it as much as I did. He would try to get home as quickly as possible and so would I. But at least I was out of the house and getting into a new routine.

Then it happened.

One blustery Sunday I forced myself to go to a vintage event. I was cursing the whole time from the take-my-breath-away-oh-my-god-I-can't-feel-my-hands wind tunnel I had to walk through after parking the car. And sadly, when I finally arrived at the event, hair askew, nose dripping, it was underwhelming at best. However, in the last booth I visited, I saw a 60s mohair swing coat complete with brass buttons at the neck. The lining needed minor repairs, but otherwise, it was beautiful. No, it was stunning. I bought it for $40. That one coat made me want to go out to dinner that night so I could style an outfit around it. I loved (and still love) that coat. It singlehandedly began my foray into a vintage coat collection that today I am quite proud of. The hunt for perfect vintage coats forced me outside of my comfort zone in an unfamiliar city in a season that terrified and stunned me all at once. More and more, having statement outerwear really made me look forward to leaving the house in inclement weather. 

When the next fall approached, I found myself actually looking forward to cooler weather. It didn't feel as devastating to take the dog for daily walks. It felt great to feel how much harder my body was working in the colder weather. I didn't feel like we were doomed because after the magical fall comes the long, long awful winter. I just felt like - ok, I can do this. 

No miracle happened, I still don't enjoy the winter as much as maybe I could, and I still don't leave the house for days during snowstorms and it is a little depressing, but it feels manageable. And the best part about it is that I'm grateful again everyday. 

The coat that started it all. 

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