I do believe fall is upon us. The weather is definitely cooler and it’s not that sunny. I feel less motivation to do well, just about anything. How long has it been like this? About a week, today. It dawned on me today why I am feeling this way – I have diagnosed myself (years ago) with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Appropriate, huh? Here are the symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic (in bold) and my personal experiences with those symptoms (non-bold, next to the symptoms);
Fall and winter SAD
Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:
- Irritability – yes, I find myself irritable just because. Oh, hello piece of dirt on the living room floor. How dare you! I can’t believe you have the audacity to show up on my living room floor!!!! How could you! The nerve!
- Tiredness or low energy – I find myself trying to find ways to justify not getting up in the morning until, I don’t know, 10am? Would that be an acceptable time to wake up? Also, is 7pm an acceptable time to retire to bed in the evening? No? WHY?????!!!!! Oh yeah, because I’m an adult and I have to “adult”. Cue the first symptom all over again.
- Problems getting along with other people – Eh, this one isn’t that bad for me. Unless you do something I don’t like or you irritate me. Like you eat something with your mouth open, you breathe too loud or blink loudly. Or you wear ridiculous clothing for this season. It’s cold out. Why are you in short sleeves? Just looking at you makes me have to put on even more layers and that makes me “irritable”. Please, dress warmly, so I’m not even more cold than I have to be. Be conscientious of me, folks.
- Hypersensitivity to rejection – I don’t get rejected. Right? Do I? Have I been rejected? Wait….
- Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs – My entire body is heavy. The meme that circulates – saying the blankets have accepted me as one of their own? Yeah, that’s how I feel. Like, if I sit, then I feel like never getting up. If I do get up, I prefer to slither along the floor. Have you ever tried to clean while laying on the floor? It’s really hard to reach anything. I need one of those hand extender things…
- Oversleeping – Unfortunately, because of my genetic makeup (or whatever reason it is..my need for routine?), I don’t over-sleep, hardly ever. If there is an alarm set? I hear it and I wake up. My brain just doesn’t allow me to sleep past an alarm. Thank you, brain – your thoughtfulness in this area is EVER so much appreciated.
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates – Sure, only foods high in carbohydrates…and sugar, and chocolate and salt. Oh, and high in ice cream. Basically any food high in anything that is “bad for you” and will cause “certain death” or “heart attack in 99.9% of its consumers”.
- Weight gain – HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I do believe that’s why Jesus allowed the weather to be cold during this dreary season – so that sweaters and sweatshirts (aka BAGGY) would be acceptable and even expected. No one could be the wiser. Even if someone suspects (or knows for sure) that you’ve gained weight, they wouldn’t say anything (if they have any couth at all), because God forbid it’s just how the oversized clothing is fitting!
There you have it – all the ways, according to Mayo Clinic only, that I am suffering from SAD. So how do I get through it? Lots of junk food. Yeah, that helps the body fight it! 😉 No, I confront how I’m feeling. I admit that, yes, this weather is really hard for me. It means less time outside – less sunshine. It means lots of bundling up (and I know this is only the very itty bitty tip of the very outer edge of the iceberg that is soon to be winter) and counting down to spring. I accept this about myself. I know I don’t like cold weather. I don’t remember ever enjoying it. Maybe as a small child? But that’s just how I am wired.
However, the Lord has placed me in a state where we experience all 4 seasons. So I can’t let the seasons I dislike get me down. I’m not the only person that doesn’t like it. Many others have it worse than I do! How do I legitimately help myself stay above the SAD line?
– I continue to stay active, daily.
– I keep my “me time” (this is how I do summer “me time”), except I read indoors now.
– I drink at least two cups of tea a day (I’ve heard enough about the benefits of tea, that I want to drink it. Plus, I enjoy tea! And I feel so grown up doing it..hehe). On top of tea, I drink at least 80-90 ounces of water a day. There are so many benefits to water, folks – DRINK UP!!!!!!
– I try to ensure a healthy diet – this is harder, because I know our diet could be better…but I’m working on it!
– I play. How? I play with our son. I get down and play at his level with his toys. Not only does this encourage his imagination, but it helps me to relax and realize that life isn’t that bad. It helps me look at life from a child’s perspective. I’m able to just forget about whatever else is on the plate at the moment and focus on engaging with my son. What’s that? Oh yeah! Let’s play horses! Or cars, or basketball. He feels special and mommy is able to relax for a few. Amazing how a few moments of child’s play really does help a person unwind.
– The main one? I stay focused on the Lord. I read the Word daily. I remind myself that these seasons were created by the Master Creator for a reason and I need to just stop focusing on my selfish self. That being said, the Lord does know the desires of my heart, so I’m waiting for my husband’s job to transfer us and every single member of my family (yes, all the extended ones as well) to a large island somewhere. An island that is hurricane-proof, flood-proof, tsunami-proof, terrorist-proof and always sunny and warm – basically the safest, most wonderful place on Earth. Oh wait, I just described my Heaven. 😉 So I suppose the Lord will answer that prayer some day…Until then, I will make it through this weather, day by day by day by day by day by day……..
As I wrote that last line, the news came on about the flooding in South Carolina..ah yes, Lord. Keep me humble. I am mumbling and grumbling about slightly cool weather, while many MANY people have lost so much in flooding. Funny how the Lord just gently nudges us, huh?