Seasonal affective disorder
SAD is a mood disorder that affects an individual the same time each year, usually starting when the weather becomes colder in September or October, and ends in April or May when the weather becomes warmer. People with SAD feel depressed during the shorter days of winter, and more cheerful and energetic during the brightness of spring and summer.
Honestly, I did NOT want to share this out of embarrassment, guilt and fear of the unknown. I felt like it was “just me” and that one day I would wake up and it would be gone. I believe mental health is something that isn’t talked about enough. If by me sharing my struggle helps even one person know they are not alone, then it was worth it.
Almost a month and a half after starting the new weight lifting program (which I LOVE) and dramatically changing my nutrition plan, I have been feeling like I have been stuck in a depressive state. Depression has never happened to me before that I have been aware of so naturally, I assumed it was just my body adjusting to the new routine.
At first I did not recognize my feelings because I didn’t know much about it other than what most people think depression is, sadness, so I then chalked it up to “seasons of entrepreneurial biz.” But it’s the kind of feeling where you’re not sad, just in an overall blah and it lingers and lingers…Then you realize, “okay something is NOT right because I can’t shake this.” Today while speaking to my mom about it, she informed me that depression and anxiety run in our family. She stated that most of my relatives suffer from it. I never knew this.
For about a month I have experienced a lot of guilt around my lack of enthusiasm and inability to snap out of it. I found myself angry and most often frustrated. I am surrounded by amazing, motivated, like-minded people. I live and work mobile in my 5th wheel with my husband which is beyond my wildest dreams. My job gives me such a huge sense of fulfillment that I could have never imagined attainable in life. I have so much to be grateful for, why can’t I FEEL happy and passionate about it?! Little did I know, it’s not something I can control so easily, no matter how many positive uplifting quotes I read on Pinterest.
I have researched A LOT and have linked almost every symptom of depression to my current situation. These include – lethargy, fatigue or low energy, lack of interest or pleasure in anything, insomnia or oversleeping, inability to think, isolation (more than the introvert norm), can’t concentrate or make decisions, lack of enjoyment or interest in previously enjoyed activities, feeling empty, excessive guilt. Sidenote: I also read that overindulgence in raw or lightly cooked egg whites can cause depression. They say that raw egg whites contain a protein which binds to biotin, making that important vitamin unavailable to the body. Interesting.
Last year during October – November I remember feeling down and blah for no reason. I can’t remember my sleep patterns but I know things were not “right” with me and my relationships suffered. My business even suffered and I have the numbers to prove it. I remember last November like I had failed and couldn’t help anyone. I isolated myself and did NOT share my struggle or how I was truly feeling. Upon even further research, opening up with my wellness group and to my success/business partners, I have realized that I suffer from seasonal depression (SAD).
I even spoke to my husband about it today, he agreed and mentioned noticing my “off putting” demeanor. I told him I was going to share it with the world but I wanted him to know first. He said he gets sad when the sun is gone too. ❤
Prior to being a coach and joining the community I spent almost every day of winter in the tanning salon. I know this is not a recommended form or light therapy for seasonal depression but I believe it is the reason I never experienced the symptoms so strongly. If it wasn’t for this coaching opportunity, I may have never learned this about myself. I used to be an avid tanner, tanorexic (when you feel like no matter how tan you are you’re never tan enough). Did you know that exercising daily actually makes your skin healthier and more vibrant? By increasing blood flow you nourish your skin cells. Therefore, I don’t appear as pale as I did prior to this lifestyle. Shortly after working out, I ended my love affair with the tanning bed by default.
I heard this quote recently and it stuck out to me,
“Are you living your truth and sharing THAT?”
No. I was not. I am not that same person I was last year, last month, last week even. Constantly evolving, growing, developing. I know better now, so I can DO better!
Since I don’t prefer to use pharmaceutical drugs I have researched some natural ways to cope and ease myself through these times. Maybe these will help some of you too?
-make your house brighter by using light colors and keeping the curtains open all day
-get up earlier to take advantage of the sunlight and sit by a window while working
-remember to engage in activities that you enjoy (volunteering even)
-spend time with friends and family members that you enjoy, positive environments
-exercise, get enough sleep, have a well-balanced diet
-consider light therapy (other than tanning salons) like this one!
I would love to hear your personal experiences, if you have tried any of these suggestions or even if you have any advice you’d be willing to share on something that has worked for you. Thank you again for reading and remember even when we feel like no one understands, we have to push ourselves to reach out to those around us. We are NOT alone. We can get through anything together! Together IS better!
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