I have written a good deal about SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, because I have suffered with it for years. I never used to actually talk about it, other than to say that fall is not my favorite time of year. I guess I thought it was ridiculous that weather could actually make you depressed in a clinical way. Describing what I live through is difficult because it isn't the normal or common kind of depression. I do not suffer from lack of happiness, I do not feel alone, I do not feel overwhelmed. I do sometimes have physical pains that have no explanation and pass exactly as they appeared, quickly and without hangover symptoms. That pain is normally either my hands or my shoulders. Why? No answer to that, so far.
What happens to me when SAD takes over? I am moody. I am not me. I am either very ornery or I am just out of control. I am disorganized and sometimes nearly speechless, as in, I have nothing at all that seems like it needs to be said. Pleasantries are non-existent. I'm not a nice person to be around. I try to just stay away from people, if I am aware that I have fallen into the SAD trap. That's the rub, I'm not always even aware that I am being affected. I will see it in hindsight. I have lost more than one friend who didn't know or didn't understand even when I apologized or explained, but most of my close friends know if I'm acting out of character and it's past September and not close to April, maybe just mention to me that I don't seem to be myself. It has worked in the past. Awareness at the very least, helps me to tape my mouth shut and get up off my butt. Doing something is always step one, changing my thinking is step two and of course, finding some sunshine will always help. Fake sun doesn't work for me, at all. It's more about the gloom and darkness than a fake sun dose daily. I will not take medications because I am pretty much non-medication unless absolutely nothing else works and serious pain is involved. Some years have been easier than others. I have learned a few things over the years including my best explanation of what it's like to live in here; I basically feel nothing. I don't really feel, love or hate or compassion or anger. I don't feel hurt or sad or happy; though I may have happy moments and sad moments, they will pass quickly.
I have done some research and I am beginning a new and kind of hodge podged plan for this season. I took ideas from other sufferers and doctor's thoughts and programs and built my own plan just for me and what I need help with most. A friend suggested acupuncture and I looked into that and will be seeing a well-reputed acupuncturist in a couple of weeks to give that a shot, pun intended, as well.
My concentration is on looking back. Something I don't usually do. Why? Because seeing how many days of the season I have survived is helpful to knowing I can move forward. The season is a long one in Michigan and I will be escaping in March for a few weeks to find sunshine and relaxation. I will be looking forward to that trip, but not counting the days. That can pull me down because it's a big number. While thinking about going and making the travel plans will be fun and exciting, I will not be specifically thinking about when, only where and what. I will also be taking each hour as it comes. I will have specific projects which I control for each month. I have determined that always having something on my horizon is necessary to keep my mind full of good things.
I am smiling more. I mean looking in my mirror, thinking of one of the hundreds of reasons I have to smile daily, smiling from my heart. I am using mantra's that I have collected to encourage these smiles, when needed. Simple as that sounds, it is helping. Smiling is powerful, apparently.
I am making my list of projects to begin in November. Nothing gigantic like last years downstairs remodel, but little things that I have been putting off and will enjoy tackling. My office is getting a make-over with new paint, shelves being removed and cabinets put in. My kitchen is getting a fresh paint job and I am going to reorganize and totally purge my cupboards. That will be more than a week's worth.
There will be more, but for now, that's my list. Thinking of something involving my fireplace, but I have to get Roomy on board for that job. :-}
Daily looking at how much of October is gone, then how much of November has passed etc., is the looking back part. Changing my way of thinking is not going to be real easy, but I am going to give it all I have. I believe it can make a difference.
If I can keep myself level on a day to day basis, if I can just do this one hour at a time, I do think it could work for me. And if I do have a day or three that I just can't find that morning smile? If writing doesn't bring me back, then I guess I'll give in to that one or two days, but nothing beyond that and I will fight even for those to not win. Busy minds can't turn dark, I hope.
I will also be writing on a schedule again. I used to do that. I have not for the past couple of years. It helps to keep me focused and it gets all those stories and feelings out of my head and into my journal of writings. Some you will see, some you will not. But write, I shall.
Feel free to comment if you like, but please understand that I am not looking for more ideas, at this point. I am going to work this plan and I am going to give it 100% this year. I do not want another winter of dismay and apologies to people who didn't deserve the sharpness they may have received from my messed up brain. I really want to be the organized, kind and loving person who I know lives in this body. I want her to win this one.