The most wonderful time of the year has just passed, and you feel like you’re drowning. You wake up and it’s dark; you get off work and it’s dark. Schedules and expectations overwhelm you. There is no time to dwell on these thoughts, and you have no clue how to make yourself feel better. For the longest time I would feel these things, and I thought that I needed a medicine adjustment every year.
In the months of November through early March, I would begin to feel over overwhelmed and unsettled. I would also have days of feeling extremely heavy, fatigued, and even hopeless. As a busy mom of three, I would attempt to just push through. This would eventually lead to me being broken down in bed crying or even on my back physically ill for weeks.
One day while watching a morning talk show I came across an interview with a doctor that mentioned SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). This is a form of depression that affects women significantly more than men. It is believed to be caused by lack of sunlight. During this season we do not experience as much sun exposure due to daylight savings and natural weather elements.
This causes decreased production of what I call my “happy hormone,” also known as serotonin. Lack of serotonin affects people in different ways. The big one for me is my sleep regimen. I find myself having a hard time sleeping at night even though I am extremely tired and I want to sleep all day. It can also cause brain fog, which means I basically feel like I have pregnancy brain even though I’m not pregnant. I lack focus and have to work extra hard to complete tasks. Things that would take me a few moments take twice as long.
I wish I could tell you I found the fix for this manageable but sometimes debilitating disorder. Unfortunately I can not. I do however encourage you to think carefully about your mental health in this season and be proactive. If you feel like you experience these symptoms, there is hope and treatment available if you suffer from SAD.
If you feel you may have some of these symptoms and they are affecting your quality of life, make an appointment with your physician. You may also research some natural remedies. Some suggest adding a vitamin D tablet to your regimen and increasing your physical activity. For me knowing that this is a real thing that affects many is comforting. It gives me peace of mind which in turn helps me overcome the obstacles I can’t always control on my own.