Friday, January 10, 2014

SAD (and what you can do to help)

The Holiday lights grew dull and faded
January snuck in wet and cold
And the month of grey invaded
A body chilled, no restful rest
A Smile replaced with something less.
A frozen heart, an ice-locked chest 

I’m tired of struggle, I must confess
No “certain slant of light”
To drive this chill away
Or end the endless night
Like a demon, steal your soul
Blows a cold North wind
Straight from the pole 

In the house it has me pinned
The demon has a name and apparently it's called SAD
It showed up at my door one day, prepared to stake a claim
Demanding, unfaltering, daring me to be mad
“I came to steal your happiness.
I’ll bring it back real soon
More than likely around April
But at the latest June"

So that is about as close as I get to writing poetry.  'Tis the season to be miserable. And believe me, I am.  While I have a lot going on in my life right now that would make it seem dull and grey, I know that the Demon that follows the Winter has once again found my home. That is what Seasonal Affective Disorder feels like for me. I feel like I never actual get warm, endless nights, exhaustion and like something has stolen your joy.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. As December dwindles I start to feel it stalking me like a jilted lover, watching and waiting for an opportunity to swoop in and hijack my peace of mind. It makes me intolerable for Valentine's Day. It casts a shadow over my birthday, and often lasts until at the very least April though it's been known to cling on until May or even June. I try so hard to deal with it with acceptance and grace. I remember to take some extra "feel good" Vitamins and be kind to myself.  I try not to crawl into bed and stay there.  Every morning, I argue with myself about calling in sick to work. Eventually I drag myself out of bed and get dressed. Sometimes I even put on a little bit of makeup though it feels like an annoying, pointless endeavor.

I hate to say it, but this is my most disgusting time of year.  I feel so worn to the bone exhausted that I just walk past the ever-growing pile of dishes and to be honest, I don't even care how long they've been there.  Vacuum the floor?   What's the point?  Someone is just going to hack a hairball onto it. And you know...admitting this is awful and embarrassing too.

But the truth is, for the most part I'm OK. I'm having a hard time.  I want to curl up in my bed and not leave, yet somehow I'm still not getting enough sleep.  I'm running late every morning because I have to argue with myself for 10 minutes about why I just can't call in sick..  Things are complicated on a personal level right now, but I'm surviving and I think it might be the few things I AM doing to try and make myself feel better.'s my list of how I'm dealing and have dealt with my SAD. I hope it helps...

  • Diet.  Try and eat good.  I have cravings for terrible food, and all I've wanted to do for 2 weeks is eat Cheetos but I'm trying to maintain control.
  • Water.  Drink it.   Being dehydrated can throw your entire system out of whack
  • Sleep.   I think it would be ignorant to say that I don't NEED the extra sleep.  I think my body wants it for a reason and you should at the very least make sure you are getting some good, healthy sleep.   Sometimes I take a little Valerian or Melatonin to help me.
  • Speak with your doctor about herbal supplements and vitamins.   I take extra Vitamin B and D during the Winter months at the very least.  If you don't eat right, consider a multivitamin.  As far as herbal supplements go, I've never tried St. John's Wort, but I have taken Rhodiola and I found that it can be really uplifting for me.
  • Light Therapy.   I've heard of it, but it is so much more than picking up full spectrum light bulbs at the store.  What you need is a Light Box.  I've never done it, but I'm telling you...changing from the $3 to the $10 bulb doesn't make much of a difference.   The closest I ever got to "Light Therapy" was tanning, which you're not supposed to do because of skin cancer and UV Rays, but it always helped me feel better.
  • Exercise. It is supposed to help.
  • Socialization.   I know it can be tempting to hide away in your house until you feel better, but sometimes having someone come drag you out of your shell is a necessity.
  • Antidepressants.  In the past, it has gotten bad enough that I've needed to take them.  The truth is...I hate doing it.   I hate feeling reliant on them to feel normal.  I hate how forgetting, even just one dose, can lead to feeling yucky.   It was an upsetting thing for me. I didn't like having to rely on something to make me feel normal until one day someone asked me what I would do if I had diabetes. I'd take insulin, of course.  This is basically the same thing, your body needs it for whatever reason so you take the medicine you need to feel better and that's the end of it.  You know where stigma should come it?  It should come in when you know you're sick, you can be helped and you don't.
  • Be kind to yourself.  You're not alone.   And if you don't believe me, mention it on Facebook.   Just find something to look forward to, like Spring and just keep hanging on.

1 comment:

  1. "I didn't like having to rely on something to make me feel normal until one day someone asked me what I would do if I had diabetes. And...I'd take insulin, of course. This is basically the same thing, your body needs it for whatever reason, you take the medicine you need to feel better and that's the end of it."

    Thank you for writing that.