This winter has been tough on me and I don’t mean the weather although today’s -30 Celsius has me hunkered down and wearing the Mister’s wool socks that are WAY too big for me but keep my toes warm.
I have found myself in funk after funk and someday’s I start to question my sanity. Seasonal Affective Disorder has a hold on my yet again and this year it seems to be harder to pull myself out of it. Things that I love to do have taken a been put aside because some days it’s easier to curl up under the covers then it is to get out of bed. Writing, running and reading/commenting on blogs sometimes feels overwhelming and let’s not even talk about the housework. I have no routine and spend my day wandering around the house thinking I should be doing something, ANYTHING, but never actually doing.
Most people experience a mild down-swing with their mood during the winter months, so mild that most feel a little under the weather and don’t recognize it for what it is. This is what is called the “winter blues”. Experts believe this has to do with the lack of sunlight our bodies are receiving during the shorter days. However S.A.D. can be more than just the blues for a small percentage of folks.
Symptoms of S.A.D. may consist of difficulty waking up in the morning, nausea, tendency to oversleep and over eat, especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks, withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities. All of this leads to depression, pessimistic feelings of hopelessness, and lack of pleasure which characterize a person suffering from this disorder. – Wikipedia
Exercise and getting out of the house to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine can help lift the mood by increasing our endorphin’s but when you feel like you’re walking every day through quicksand it’s difficult to be motivated. Let’s not forget the -30C … Polar Vortex WTF? I am grateful I have a good treadmill and some Netflix to pass the time. I don’t know how else I would manage. Running helps, it is my therapy.
This isn’t my first time at the S.A.D. rodeo, nor is it my first experience with some type of depression. Shortly after my second son was born I was hit with a serious case of postpartum depression that required medical help so I am well aware of the signs and symptoms of depression. Fortunately for me S.A.D. doesn’t take over my life entirely and I can see through the fog most day but those few days that are rough make talking about it difficult because it makes people uncomfortable. Hell, typing up this post and showing the internet a piece of my truth makes me uncomfortable but if it helps just one person identify this in themselves then it was worth being uncomfortable.
It has taken me two days to write this, I have written and deleted paragraphs and it still seems like a jumbled mess when I read it so let’s call this post what it is … a long and rambling brain dump.
Heading to Cuba in a few days will give my body and brain the much-needed sunshine it needs and I am looking forward to coming home feeling a little less S.A.D. and a lot more joyful. I have scheduled posts to go up while I’m away and I promise they won’t be so dark.
For people who think they may be affected, please reach out to your family physician. For further information and help about seasonal affective disorder, contact a community organization like the Canadian Mental Health Association to find out about support and resources in your community.
Do you experience the winter blues?