Friday, March 19, 2010

SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Alright, I'm no doctor, but I've been living with myself for 40 yrs now. I have a feeling I know myself better than anyone. I think I'm being affected by SAD. It's a phenomenon I'd never heard of until a few years ago.

I know many say that living in Seattle would depress anyone, but having lived there for 15 yrs, I can honestly say, the rain never got to me emotionally. At least not enough to give me a disorder. In fact, I love rain. Sigh...love it!

I've now lived in Minnesota for 12 yrs, which is nearly beyond baffling to me. I feel like I've been here 1/2 that time. I know it has to do with the fact that our lives speed up the older we get. You would think that after being here for over a decade I'd begin to get used to the depressingly long winters. Well, I haven't. Until last year, I had never had what I called the "winter blues" or "cabin fever".
SAD hit me for the first time pretty hard last year about this same time, starting in February. From WebMD here are some signs of SAD:
  • decreased levels of energy

  • difficulty concentrating

  • fatigue

  • increase in appetite

  • increased desire to be alone

  • increased need for sleep

  • weight gain

I want to state for the record that WebMD says we should not diagnose ourselves and that we should see a specialist! I completely agree.

I think I have a hard time during this time of the year for a number of reasons. Work is cut back significantly. The last 3 yrs I have worked 3 days a week through the winter, but this year, I'm cut back to 2. Thankfully last week I worked a full week working in a different department. But, 1 week out of 5 isn't helpful to my brain, my body, or my checkbook!

This year I have definitely gained weight. Not a lot that people can tell by looking at me, but my jeans can tell. I can feel it and it's not a good feeling! I haven't felt this way for years and years. I've been eating out of boredom and sitting at home I seem to be hungry more often.

Definitely having issues with fatigue. I took a nap today that was an hour and a half and when I woke up, I wanted to keep sleeping. Of course, but then 1/2 my day was gone. I hate wasting mornings to sleep.

And the issue I'm having the hardest time with is my desire to be alone. I have no desire to call anyone, do anything, or be involved in any activities. When I look back at my time when my girls were little, I was so active! I was volunteering at the elementary school constantly. I knew all the teachers, knew all of their friends. It was so much fun. I have all of this time on my hands and you'd think I'd do something with it. Nah, seems I'd rather sit at home in my pajamas and on the computer getting absolutely nothing accomplished.

What I do know is I can't continue this way. I will end up a 200 lb blob with absolutely no friends and depressed 24/7/365 if I don't do something. The hard part is finding the desire to do that something! Yesterday I went and did some running around and I was exhausted by the end of the day. How ridiculous is that? Tomorrow I'm going to my son's school to make pancakes to celebrate "If You Give A Pig A Pancake".

I've learned over the last couple weeks that I probably won't do well with retirement unless I keep busy. I always thought, "Oh, I can't wait until I retire. I'll sit around reading books, watching tv, and just doing nothing in general." Surprise, guess I don't know myself as well as I thought!

1 comments:

Mama Zen said...

I struggle with SAD, too. Will winter ever end?

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