Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Overcoming SAD-ness

The fall/Christmas season is a difficult time of the year for me. It always has been and there were years that it was chaos. It wasn't until recently that I realized I probably have some sort of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The depression starts in earnest right around September and is in full swing by mid November, usually becoming more manageable by January and ending sometime around March.

Now many people would say that SAD is not real, and is just like every other form of depression: in your head. I would have thought so too if it wasn't for the fact that my husband, not a shrink or a medical  self-diagnosing website, by my best friend and life partner pointed it out to me about 5 or 6 years ago. At the time we had only been together about 6 years, but he noticed that every September my moods would start changing, and I was more sullen and irritable. My sleeping patterns took on a different rhythm and eating was more like a roller coaster of binge and starve. It got to the point that for years it was the season that without antidepressant medication, I couldn't function like a normal human being.

When I started to look back on my choices and decisions it seemed like everything that every went "wrong" in my life happened in those months. Whether they happened because life and destiny made them happen or because I was the root cause of the chaos, it didn't matter.  These months were always chock full of high drama living.  In my teens I moved out of my house in late August only to move into a worse situation by October. I walked out on a relationship of two years and an engagement in November. I left my first husband one October, and divorced him three Octobers later. I almost wrecked my second marriage one October, and came dangerously close to a second divorce one November. Another November I remember being away from home visiting family and friends and thinking that I would love to disappear and never return to my life. I figured out that I needed to get my shit under control or I would leave my life in shambles.

I taught myself to get through these months without meds and not making my family miserable in the process. I learned to look at myself through a different lens and understand that it would pass. I also taught myself not to make any big decisions during these months. I just ride out the storm, and then when the sun shines again, I can move on. My husband also has learned that in order to help me through these months, he just lets me be. He listens, I usually cry about things that don't always make sense. He learned that he can't fix everything, but that sometimes just a hug or a soothing movie on the couch helps more than anything else. He also learned to accept that during these months little makes me smile.

I can't tell you if its the moon or the position of the stars during these months. I don't know if it was the high drama living I grew up with as a child. Sometimes I wonder if my expectations of the fall season were always so high that I crashed around them. I just know that during these months, life can be hellish for me. I also know that I have learned to get through them. Now the sadness doesn't last nearly as long, and I don't wreak havoc on my life. This year the move to Germany made these months a bit harder than I thought but I got through them, and I am feeling good these days. Oddly enough fall is still one of my favorite seasons.

1 comment:

  1. ..and this my dear is why I think we had a fabulous relationship! We ar so much alike! Man I miss you!