Up until 1995, I was pretty normal.(I think) In the spring of 1995, my then husband dropped a bombshell on me. He wasn't in love with me anymore, and yes he was seeing someone else. The months that followed were the darkest, most difficult days of my life. My clinical depression was so bad that at times, I forgot to feed my 4 year old. I stayed with my brother's family for awhile, until some meds could get me up off the floor. I have struggled with depression ever since.
I have been on meds now for going on two years after my last bad bout with a round of depression. It helps keep my moods from swinging so severally. But even now, while on meds, I still have the winter blues. I live in Illinois, and the sun rarely makes appearances during the winter months. Even today it is just gray and gloomy. It sends me back to bed.....lots.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression or winter blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or, less frequently, in the summer, spring or autumn, repeatedly, year after year. SAD is not a unique mood disorder, but is "a specifier of major depression".
The US National Library of Medicine notes that "some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. They may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up." (from Wikipedia)
I hate wasting so much time sleeping, but some days there is just no motivation to do anything else. I had been beating myself up about it, when my husband said, "Well if that is your only symptom of depression right now, we can live with that." What sweet relief that simple statement had for me. I'm sure he had no idea the grace that was laced through those few words. It allowed me to just relax about the whole thing. I am still trying to limit my sleep, but some days I just can't fight it off.
The interesting flip side to this is that during the spring and summer, my husband frequently has to ask me to sit down! I am on the go from morning until night. I am outside as much as possible, long after my family has abandoned me for reasons like, heat, bugs, boredom, etc. My hubs has to call me in some nights! I love my garden, my dogs, my gazebo, the summer air, and the sweet summer sounds. The differences in my personality are night and day. It is hard to reconcile within myself.
How about you? Do you feel the winter blues? Does someone you love? I'd love to hear how you combat those long days of winter. (yes I have a sun lamp!) But most of all, if you have a dear one who struggles through the winter, offer them grace. It is the best gift you can give. We are already hard enough on ourselves!!