What is SAD??…..The dictionary defines SAD as:
- unhappy: feeling or showing unhappiness, grief, or sorrow
- causing unhappiness: causing or containing unhappiness
- regrettable: unfortunate or to be deplored
The Mayo Clinic defines SAD as (aka SADD – Seasonal Affective Disorder Disease Seasonal affective disorder): ….a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.
For as long as I can remember…..fall would come….& so would my mood. It wasn’t until after the birth of my second child, after the second bout with post partum depression…..after I thought I was cured….that I realized something just wasn’t right. So back to my therapist I went…..& the diagnosis was recorded…….you have what is called….Seasonal affective disorder. I stared blankly thinking for the love of God….can’t I just be normal??!! Post partum depression goes away……SAD……well….not so much.
Every year I wait…..counting down the days until the cloak of gloom wraps its loving arms around me. I fight him like a prize-fighter in a ring every year….it feels like the exorcist…I’m in there…but that ugly head turning cra cray is on the outside puking…..suffocating me….strangling me…..consuming me….until spring. I’m a text-book SAD case…..symptoms start in the fall and continue through the winter months….sapping my energy and making me feel moody, useless, tired, crabby, ungrateful, very sad, and angry.
I almost had it down to the day…..but as the seasons change within themselves without rhyme or reason & mother nature takes on her Sybil persona……the days become blurred…..the days get shorter…..the nights gets longer….the timing gets off….and I’m sent into a spiraling episode of self-doubt, confusion & irritation. And then….as quickly as it came….its gone…….and then…..its back…gone…back….gone……OMGoodness!!! Can we say dizzy?? When you have winter, spring, summer and fall all in one week…..imagine how I feel!! There is no amount of light therapy, drugs or meditation that can fix all those emotions. It’s like a bad case of stomach flu….you hover between a trash can & the toilet waiting to see which is gonna come out first……your happy….or your SAD.
Depending on the day…..you could unknowingly transfer your emotion to an unintended party who has no clue what you are going thru….& the sad part is….(pun intended)…that person could be going thru something to & now you’re all in a tangle of I didn’t mean its & I hope you can understands……..but they can’t. It’s only for the fall and winter…and then you’re back to normal…..but….for some…..its too late.
In a previous blog I wrote about the Rules of Dating Engagement…….the 90 day rule - Some people act different during certain seasons. Until you have experienced a season of SAD…..you have no idea what the rest of your life will bring being married to it. Its like the twilight zone…….you go back in time at the same time every year. It’s like a bad habit that rears its ugly head to suck out all your forward motion. It takes a compassionate soul to understand. It’s really no different some days than PMS….but its dictated by the seasons…its like a psychotic mood swing that doesn’t know if it’s up or coming down.
For those who suffer from a mental health diversion…….it will define who your real friends are…..who your around the way friends are…..and who you can depend on when the seasons go cold. A hug, a word of encouragement, inclusion…..all ways to keep any one suffering from depression in the here and now. SAD is a different kind of depression…..one that is not easily diagnosed without a historical pattern…..one that sneaks up on you in the dark & attaches itself to your soul. A disease that goes dormant in the spring and summer…..hibernating in the off season waiting for a consistent rainy day, dim sun, and cold air to breathe life back into its soul less corpse.
I’ve yet to meet a perfect person…..some are just better at hiding their demons than others. Everyone has a crabby day……some more than others. Mental health is a serious number that lacks the attention it deserves.
Here’s to compassion, awareness, strength, empathy, therapy, good days, bad days, good friends, loyal friends……..and the wisdom to know the difference. CHEERS!!!