I Can’t. I’m SAD.
Trigger Warning: The following article discusses mental health and depression*.
My mood gets darker when the days do. Like many others, I have Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. I’ve dealt with SAD long enough that I’m not surprised by it anymore. But it still scares me every year. SAD is especially scary because I already fight anxiety and depression on a daily basis. Mix that with an extra boost of depression, and you have a dangerous recipe on your hands.
Because I know I’m not alone, I wanted to share my latest plan of attack. Everyone is different, but mental health is something we all need to be aware of.
I Have A Therapist I Can Count On
Therapy is something I will always recommend and am never ashamed of. Therapists have helped me my entire life. From my anxiety and depression to my Eating Disorder, a therapist has been there. Last year, I recognized the scary signs of former habits returning, and I knew that I needed a therapist. I hadn’t had one in several years, but I realized that something worse could happen if I ignored the symptoms. My new therapist helped me climb over this emotional hill. I used to see her every month, but now we talk on an as-needed basis. Knowing that I can reach out to her at any time takes a weight off of me.
Not everyone is lucky enough to afford therapy. But there are affordable options available. Taking on serious problems yourself is too much for one person to bear. If you think that you could benefit from professional therapy, don’t hesitate.
I Have People Who Recognize The Signs
I already know the signs of my depression. So the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are easier for me to catch. But if I don’t see them for some reason, I have people close to me who can. My husband has known me for almost seven years. Through our relationship, he has seen me in my darkest places. He has promised me that he will reach out and tell me any time he sees warning signs. I also have my sister, a person who has been my rock since childhood. She is wonderful about checking in with me to see how I’m feeling. Any time that I get scared, I call on these people for help.
Look at your peers and family members and decide who you are comfortable with opening up to. Hopefully, you already have someone you can count on. But don’t let your fear of sharing your vulnerable side stop you from reaching out.
I Do My Best To Keep A Routine
The holidays make everything feel rushed and hectic. It’s easy for me to feel like things are getting out of control when dealing with the added stress of holiday pressure. This holiday season is peculiar and not at all normal, which is even worse. Even so, I am not letting my day-to-day routine go astray. I wake up around the same time of day, and I go to bed at the same time each night too. When I’m not working, I try my best to get dressed anyway. Anything I can do to make a day feel “normal.” This also means listening to my body when it’s tired or hungry. If I need to break my routine, I have full permission to eat, nap, or both. Not every day can be the same. That would be boring.
I know from experience that when SAD hits, it is easy to give in and give up. It’s effortless and intoxicating. There will be days when you will give in. And that’s okay. The important thing is to recognize the danger signs so that you won’t be lost all winter. Please do your best to reach out to a safe person. Try your hardest to forgive the dark thoughts. And recognize that you are not alone. The sun is not going to stay away forever. We need to keep our minds in the light.
*If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, there are resources available. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml