I have a SAD
Since moving to our little piece of paradise, I have been experiencing emotions which were quite new to me. And not in a good way.
At the beginning, I didn’t take much notice; I put it down to being exhausted from looking after the children without much support and doing “everything” myself.
But the last couple of times “it” happened, was so full on, in my face, that I could ignore it no longer.
I call it “the dark cloud inside me”. What happens is that this overwhelming darkness takes over and I become numb. It feels like everything happens around me, like I am not connected to anything. I feel nothing. A whole day goes past and I realise that my face hasn’t moved. Not a smile for my beautiful babies, not a frown, not a squint, nothing. I don’t care about anything, I don’t react, I am numb. In the morning when I get out of bed, all I can think about is how I can’t wait for the day to be over so that I can get back into bed and not have to deal with anything.
This would happen every couple of months or so, and last between two days to a week.
To be completely honest, at first I thought it would just pass if I ignore it. The last two times were so full on that I still didn’t want to address it because I thought that I might be heading for depression and I didn’t want to deal with that.
But I am a fixer. I needed to get to the bottom of this. I needed to know what was causing it so that I could fix it.
I bit the bullet and spoke to our family therapist. As soon as I described the symptoms, he said “you have SAD”! I had absolutely no idea what he was on about and he explained it to me.
SAD stands for “Seasonal Affective Disorder”. What I understand about it is that it is related to light. Because I have moved further down from the equator, the days are shorter and the light is different. Whilst this condition seems to affect me most during winter, there are people who are affected the most in summer.
It is also thought that people with blue/green/gray eyes are most susceptible.
I felt such a relief that I knew what it was and that it was something I could work with.
So my prescription is: at least 40 minutes per day of sunlight, vitamin D drops and a banana a day (apparently bananas work well to get the magic of vitamin D happening).
My GP also had these words of wisdom: “when it’s happening, just recognise that you are not going to be productive. Let it flow, be kind to yourself, go and get a massage.” (needless to say, the GP is a keeper!)
The main reason I wanted to write about this is basically to raise some kind of awareness. I had never heard of this condition before; there could be so many of us out there who think there is something wrong with them and keep it to themselves (like I did), but in reality it is so important to nip these things “in the bud”; like that funny looking mole or that annoying little lump or anything really that is out of the ordinary.
Avoidance is never the answer. For anything. We must gather the courage and take the step to get these things seen to. More often than not we find that we were worried about nothing and then we have peace of mind. And if it does turn out to be “something” then at least we can begin to address the cause and make it all better. 🙂