Mental Health

SAD and Me

Autumn

Every year, around this time, I feel compelled to write about the weather and about depression.

It gets a bit repetitive.

I have severe Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD, a form of depression triggered by the shift in seasons. The worst times are when Summer turns to Autumn and then when Winter turns to Spring. At those times, you are most likely to find me bleary-eyed, hiding in bed and crying over the state of the world: depressed, in the most clinical sense of the word.

Now there are many things I can do to help, like seeing a doctor, exercising and surrounding myself with positive, caring people.

But the truth is that even on days when I do EVERYTHING prescribed and suggested for dealing with my SAD – spending hours outside, exercising, taking a myriad of vitamins, eating healthy, etc – sometimes I still feel like a zombie, I want to hide inside my house and I cry and cry and cry. There are just days like that.

It is impossible to be constantly on the go when you feel this way. You can’t multi-task like an octopus on Red Bull, you can’t have twenty deadlines a day and you can’t be everything to everyone around you. Superwoman and Superman are no longer viable role models.

SAD imposes a rhythm to my years.

In the summer I fly high. It’s when I fell in love, it’s when I got married, it’s when I spend the most time with friends.

In the Autumn I start to hibernate. I only want to spend time with my husband and family. Autumn is when I remember all that is wrong with the world, it’s when I weep.

In the Winter, once the transition is well and truly made, I creep outside again and enjoy Christmas. There is some solace with the snow.

Then the slow march to Spring, which is just that, slow and excruciating. The transition to Spring has seen me trying to break up with my then boyfriend (now husband), wanting to quit school and feeling like God is cruel and unloving. I despair.

And then Summer finally, finally comes. It feels like meeting an old friend after years of separation. I feel like the real me is back.

I can fight this rhythm or I can accept it.

Fighting leaves me exhausted and usually neck-deep in unfinished assignments, broken commitments and ignored relationships. Going with the flow means I slow down, stay home more often than not, and need a lot of help and grace from those around me. It is by far the better option.

We live in a world that teaches us that weakness is the devil. And yet God tells us that it is in our weaknesses that He is our strength.

We need to reconsider weakness.

Instead of fighting my SAD, resenting it and feeling sorry for myself (I throw pretty epic pity parties), I can accept it. Do what I can to manage it and work around it.

After all, it’s not so bad to slow down, rely on God and trust friends and family to see you through.

2 thoughts on “SAD and Me

  1. Oh ashlee, you are so strong! i think you have SAD for a reason. Othere people need to understand that this is no joke and who better to listen to then you?

  2. Do everything without complaining or arguing, Philippians 2:14. In this verse, and in many other places (like when the Hebrews grumbled against God in the desert, etc, etc.) the Lord teaches us that learning to live life without complaining is a Biblical mandate. It’s a good thing. I join Em in saluting you for your strength.

    Praise the LORD, O my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
    Praise the LORD, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
    who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
    who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
    who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
    Psalm 103:1-5
    This verse, and many, many others, teach us that God is not OK with us being sick. We are to keep praying for healing, and that is exactly what I am going to keep on doing. I speak the healing of Jesus the Christ into your body to be completely healed of SAD. And I believe He can and will do it.

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