Seasonal Depression, Anxiety & Overall Sadness
In order to write a post like this, I decided to start with a few definitions to give a clear definition of where I was coming from:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer. (Source)
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living. (Source)
Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life. (Source)
I remember going to my first doctor’s appointment after my Mom passed away and explaining to the doctor how hard it was for me to just do normal things. Don’t get me wrong, this was something that I struggled with in the five years between my Mom and Dad’s passing, but it was definitely exemplified after losing my Mom. My Mom passed away on a Monday, and I remember the week after all the things that I was forced to do to prepare for her celebration of life. They were difficult in the way that they should be, but I never thought about how difficult it really was for me to do everyday things. I first noticed it when I was heading into church that following Sunday. In fact, I sat in the parking lot for a good 30 minutes before I could finally force myself to get out of the car and walk inside. I was afraid of the people that had become my family.
That first doctor’s appointment (I’m unsure of the real reason why I went to the doctor), I remember explaining to her these feelings and her explaining different things to me. I also remember her telling me how medication would help me, and me agreeing to it, only to stop taking it weeks later and never revisiting the topic. It was hard for my mind to wrap around the fact that I needed a type of medication to be who I am.
It wasn’t until a couple months ago that I revisited the doctor again (this time a different doctor) and explained all of the same feelings to her. I remember her telling me that I had a mild case of depression but my main problem was anxiety. I remember her telling me how she was going to put me on medication again and that I had to slowly increase the dose before we got to the final dosage that she recommended. She also warned me to not just cut myself off from it because it was not recommended. Even with all the warnings, I still did it. I stopped taking the medication before I didn’t want to be reliant on a medication to make me who I was.
However, now, I wished I didn’t have that mindset. It’s obvious that I need more help than I can give myself. I’m not sure if it’s exemplified because I go to work and it’s dark and I leave work and it’s dark – I see no sunlight. Winter is hard for a lot of people, and more and more people I talk to tell me how they suffer from SAD and how they suffer through the Winter months as well.
I don’t want to say that my everyday life is hard, because I certainly know that there are others out there that have it harder than me. What I do know, is that I carry a lot of emotions with me no matter what I do. Someone tells me they’re disappointed in me? I’ll definitely carry those feelings of letting someone down around with me. Someone else says they’re sad? I’ll definitely be sad for them. I feel like I feel emotions more than the average person.
People need to learn to cut people a little more slack because you aren’t sure what others are going through. It’s something that I’ve been seeing a lot more on social media. There’s people out there just assuming because they seem to live the perfect life on social media – they have the perfect life. Or on the other hand, if people seem happy on social media (or even in person) – there’s no guarantee that this person is actually feeling those feelings. I understand that there’s a freedom in speech in social media of all forms, but there’s no need to use words that could hurt others. Everyone is different and they show their emotions in different forms. That neighbor that you believe is the happiest? They could be suffering.
The moral of today’s blog ramble is to be nicer to people, don’t be quick to judge what others are going through and lastly, just because someone does not show signs of anxiety, depression and/or SAD – it does not mean that they aren’t experiencing those feelings. Remember, especially in this difficult season, that you are loved and there’s always someone out there for you that is just a call away. Utilize them, they don’t mind.
What is something that you’re struggling with in this season?