Seasonal Affective Disorder
Last updated: January 2022
S.A.D. Seasonal affective disorder. The depression that comes with the seasonal changes of fall and winter.
I feel it in my bones. The changing of the seasons when fall slides into the gloom of early winter. My mood turns grey with the weather. My arthritis begins to tighten. First, my hands begin to get a bit more stiff with each descending degree of daytime warmth. My knees feel the cold creeping into the area where pain will replace the easy movement of spring and summer.
Mentally I will slow down
My mind, already foggy from medication, will turn dark and foreboding. I used to travel to the coast of Oregon during storm season. I would make a cave in the mountains of driftwood. Hollowing out a fire pit to stay warm and clearing a line of sight so I could watch the sea rage. But S.A.D is not an external storm to watch.
A storm within
S.A.D is a depression, a storm within. While rolling waves with huge white caps crashing into the surf are enthralling on the coast, it is engulfing and tormenting when it is in your mind. Internally the storm is frightening. The dark thoughts are not fast-moving clouds hovering overhead as they move through. No, these internal clouds are darker and have nowhere to go. They do not slide across the sky with bursts of lightning. Instead, they hold position over me for days and days. The sun has vanished and no blue sky is to be found.
An unending gloom
Darkness...grey, unending darkness. If you think you have this depression, (or any depression) please seek professional help. That said, there are some things that I have found helpful, to varying degrees and at different times.
Tips for dealing with S.A.D.
Get as much sunlight as possible! If it means just sitting near the window and the few sunny days. There are also “sun” lamps on the internet for reasonable to outrageous sums of money. My eldest ordered one and they shipped two. He tried to send the second back, as he was not billed, but Amazon told him to give it away. Next year, I will try the lamp.
This year, I downloaded a timer app from the Apple store. It can be free with ads or $4.99 (I think) without ads. The great thing is you can set countdowns for any and everything. As I type this we have just begun spring in Indiana. In honor of this auspicious occasion, I took the Harley out for a quick 25-mile ride. The cold crisp air bit into my face as I roared along. It is only in the 40s today so I should have worn more, but it was glorious. The sky is a radiant blue and my smile knew no limit.
Winter is once again gone. It is spring! The days will keep getting longer until June 20th, the lowest day of the year and the summer solstice. This year I am planning a solstice party. Sorry, I lost the timer story in my excitement over the weather.
Seeing light at the end of the tunnel
The timer allows me a method by which to stay grounded. When my S.A.D gets the best of me and becomes threatening I can open my timer and see that the dark and cold will not last. I can take a quick peek and see that spring is coming.
Find what works for you and keep it close at hand. An easy thing that allows you to see sunlight in the midst of any grey depression is welcomed and wonderful. Keep trying things until you have a toolbox full of tips and tricks to see you through the dark times and back into the light.
Be well my friends
Has cancer impacted your mood during the holidays?