The days have gotten shorter, the nights have gotten longer. The work is piling up, and the dissertation deadline is fast approaching. All this alone is enough to make anyone get a bit stressed out and ‘down in the dumps’…however when you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), everything suddenly becomes a whole lot worse.
My journey with depression hasn’t been an easy one, and I’ve always known that it will always affect me in some way or another. However, I was definitely not prepared when the winter blues came along and smacked me in the face like an icy breeze. I was suddenly stuck in a strange limbo between wanting to feel sad and cry all the time, and my mind telling me ‘but you’re better now, what are you doing?!’
However, after doing some research, I soon realised that SAD was the culprit – and thankfully, I’m not alone. The long ‘nights’ have a huge impact on people who aren’t usually sufferers of depression too; it is actually believed that nearly everyone experiences some form of the ‘winter blues’ over this season.
When I looked back at when my depression was at its worse, I noticed that actually, it was usually during the autumn and winter months. This time however, I’m determined not to let it get the better of me and manifest into something beyond SAD.
That’s why I’ve decided to start taking it easy. I’m focusing on university work and my dissertation still, but if I have days when I just can’t hack it, I don’t beat myself up too badly. I’ve tried a few times to simply ignore it and ‘write through the sadness’, so to speak, but it’s usually ended with me hating everything I’ve written and doubting why I’m even at university in the first place…slightly dramatic you may say!
I’m also trying to get outside as much as I can, especially on the days when it is sunnier. I’ve noticed that this does make a HUGE difference, even if I am walking round town with seemingly no purpose. I have looked into getting a light-box , but finding it hard to part with the money – they’re so expensive! Although I’ve heard they work wonders for people with serious SAD, so perhaps this is something to consider investing in if it does get any worse.
Eating healthy and staying sociable has also been, of course, very important. Although my general anxiety does sometimes effect the latter, I always try to remember not to get too worried if I don’t feel like going out and seeing people. Quiet evenings in alone with just a book are never a bad thing anyway…
So right now, I’m coping. The tough week or so I had has cleared the way for a positive, more prepared version of myself. Now, if I feel myself getting low or agitated, I know to just take a breath, calm myself down, and blame it on the weather!