Friday, October 8, 2010

Seasons change...

It seems to me a rather cruel joke for me to have BOTH seasonal allergies AND Seasonal Affective Disorder.  So when I'm finally wrapping up with struggling to breathe season, I'm on my way (or at least I used to be on my way) into depressed and struggling to get out of bed season.  That said, I went to see someone about it in college, and was prescribed Wellbutrin, which as far as I'm concerned is a miracle drug, which I've been taking seasonally ever since.  The problem with depression is you often don't realize how far along into it you are until you're REALLY far along.  All of a sudden you realize you've been sleeping more than you've been awake for the last few're eating way too much...or hardly anything at don't go out because you don't feel like it, and then you get upset because you haven't seen your friends in a few days/weeks, and then you're in even less of a mood to go out, and on and on it goes...the downward spiral continues.  I spent a few years trying to drag myself out of that hole by staying busy, forcing myself to go out with friends, etc, etc, without much success.  It was around my Sophomore year in college when I ran across the book Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder, written by Norman E. Rosenthal, MD.  I thought it was kind of a load of bull at the time, until I started reading it and realized that they had my last five years' worth of winters laid perfectly.  Right down to the week of euphoria/insomnia around March or April when it first gets really sunny again.  It was crazy.  So, I read some more about it, read about options, and wound up taking the prescription route.  There's other options...light therapy, etc...but I didn't feel like they fit into my life/schedule very well.  That portion is entirely to each his own, I think.  Some people have major issues with medicating for things like depression...I just happen to not be one of those people.  Anyway, every year I get better at recognizing when my symptoms are coming on so I don't have to crash first and then dig myself out of that.  It's been an amazing improvement ever  I can get out of bed, I don't sleep for 14 hours a day, I don't pass out on my couch the second I get home, I eat normal amounts on a normal schedule, I don't have wild mood swings or just feel blah all the time anymore.  I had hoped medication would help, but I honestly never dreamt it could do all that.  Anyway, at the risk of sounding public service announcement-esque, because it's an issue that's close to my heart, just pay attention to how you're feeling on a daily basis.  Think about if there's a pattern when you tell yourself you're just tired because you've been working a lot, or you just don't feel like seeing anyone because it's been a long week, etc.  You don't have to spend your fall/winter miserable.  And if you have any questions about Seasonal Affective Disorder, check out that book I mentioned's a ton of great information.  More crafting stuff later, probably :)

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