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S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and Me (Part I)

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

S.A.D. and Me (Part I)

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash


The Struggle Before the Struggle

Well, it’s that time of year. The time where most are looking forward to the leaves changing, comfy sweatshirts, pumpkins and bonfires. I get it, I used to be that way as well but then SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) started happening and now this time of year leaves me with looming dread. I know what could lie ahead and I never know the intensity this time around. Yes, it also happens to be the time of year that my grandma passed away, 4 years ago. I think that plays a huge part in it. I feel like there was a time when I did not dread the season change and I thought that sweatshirts and jeans sounded warm and cozy and favorable.

It’s so hard because I am a person with a brain that is racing a mile a minute. Therefore, even when I am being lazy because of the pain of depression or fibromyalgia, I feel so much guilt over all of the things that I should be doing for the house or my family or our lives. I don’t really know how to get past that, it is something that I try to work towards so that one day I won’t feel so much guilt. It’s really hard to be a mom or wife or really, anything else, when you are dealing with depression. I know this will pass but it feels like it’s hard to think past it when you are stuck in the cloud of negativity and remorse. Anyone that has dealt with true depression knows this feeling, it cannot be mistaken for just sadness.

It’s common during these seasons of my life to hear the “I’m not enough,” phrase echo over and over again in my mind. I try to push it away but sometimes the resounding words keep playing in my head until they make me cry. Yet again.

I hate coming back to this place. I feel like I shouldn’t be here. I should be happy. How is this fair? I have this beautiful family that loves me, a home with room to roam and all of the things I need. Yet, here we fucking are again.

I know there are some that think I should be happy or maybe, even, that it is an act. If they only knew. If they only knew how I feel inside and the thoughts that are rushing through my head.  Maybe if I let them peak inside they will understand that it does not matter what tangible things that you have, when you have mental illness working against you.

All of the things that I had found enjoyable fall to the wayside when this illness comes to visit yet again. Thankfully, it doesn’t come around as much as it used to and it comes in waves during it’s season. A highly unwelcome visitor that is too stubborn to stay away.

Why

The more I think on it, I already know what one of my biggest triggers is and I almost hate to say it out loud. When Grandma died I went into a deep depression. I was feeling suicidal. I was so upset that I had not talked to Grandma in the few weeks before she passed and it bothered me so much that I had a hard time not thinking about the regret constantly. I know Grandma would hate for me to be reliving this year after

Photo by kilarov zaneit on Unsplash


year but I am just not in a place to know how to make it go away yet. Maybe one day, with the right therapy I can get through this time of year without this constant fog of depression following me around. For right now, I am doing the best that I can.

I feel like I have so many things working against me at this time in our lives, I just don’t know how to make it go away. If only it was that easy.

Shannon and I often reflect on all that we have going on in our lives and when you put it all together at once, it seems like a lot. I want to be stronger, I want to be able to handle it all with ease but I don’t think that is possible, for anyone really. The worry and dread and self-doubt resurface constantly.


Some of Our Stressors

The Kids

I wish I could say that it is easy to just focus on me and my mental illness but it’s not. You see, we have our seven-year-old boy that is dealing with his own mental illness. I worry about him every damn day. He is currently taking meds for his depression and ADHD. It has been a tough road. For all of us. I never wanted to go the meds route, but after trying many different things, we just had to and honestly, I am so glad we did. I can say that Prozac has brought my son back to us. The sweet empathetic, thoughtful little boy that is sometimes hidden behind harsh thoughts and actions because of his mental illness. The little boy that we didn’t see for quite some time and it really worried us. He just completed his outpatient programs for mental health at Columbus Springs. Does that mean the days are easy. Nope, it sure doesn’t. However, sometimes we are able to talk him down and he even uses some of his coping mechanisms that he learned to calm himself. I still worry about him every day.  He doesn’t eat like he should when he takes his ADHD meds and he knows it. He fights us on taking them. I hate it because I don’t want to make him and I absolutely hate that it suppresses his appetite, but I also see how much it helps him to get through his days with much less anger and aggression. He is a happier kid. Who doesn’t want that for their children? It was our hope for so long. In reality, he is actually pretty darn healthy, but being Momma, I will just worry about his weight gain and eating habits until I don’t have to anymore.

My oldest, the boy that most of the teachers don’t believe me when I tell them he has ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) and anxiety. He has had his own set of problems and setbacks as of lately. Now, he is not totally rundown by them and a big part of it may be Mommy overthinking and analyzing everything like I shouldn’t, but I do. He has been having a major attitude and I know, he’s ten, it was bound to happen, but still. He has been having to stay in a bit more at recess because he talks out when he is not supposed to, he doesn’t finish an assignment in the allotted time or something along those lines. This is not normal for Tristan. Yes, I am worrying. Is he getting in trouble for attention? Is he getting in trouble because there is something he is trying to avoid at recess? Is he displaying his own mental illness and we have not been paying enough attention because we have been putting so much emphasis on Grayson and getting him help. See? I overthink and I can’t help it. My boys have been a source of anxiety since Tristan was about one and a half with extreme behavior. I know it’s a Mom’s job to worry but with them, it may be just a little more than what is considered the norm. Lord help me, we haven’t even made it to the teenage years.

Lastly, my youngest…Don’t get me wrong, I love that my little one wants to be Miss Independent and wants to do things for herself, it just gets in the way when she wants to do absolutely everything on her own. Yeah, kinda hard. You could say. She also mainly just wants Mommy most of the time. So when Daddy tries to help out to lessen the load, she throws tantrums and tries her hardest to get her way. Not gonna lie, when I am struggling emotionally, she gets her way more times than she should because I just cannot handle the gosh darn high pitched screaming.

I love my babies so much but Shannon and I often wonder why our children can be so difficult. I know God gave them to us for a reason but, for lack of a better word, it is just hard. My children are the reason I get out of bed every day but lately, it has been really really hard to find that motivation. I don’t feel the joy at the moment and I want to, I do, but I constantly get this agitated, sad, uneasy feeling in the morning (and off and on throughout the day). Sometimes, later in the day, it gets a bit better and I have started to feel like the fog is lifting a bit, so that makes me hopeful.

Photo by Michael Heuser on Unsplash


Overwhelmed

I know I take on way too much. Always have and probably always will. I am trying to work on this but it seems when I eliminate one thing, I just take on another to make up for it. Then, when I have to let one thing go, I have this constant pit of worry and regret util I finally give the final word to let it go and then maybe a little later, some relief. It is ridiculous and I am pretty sure it goes hand in hand with the feeling that “ I am not enough.”

I won’t go into detail with all of the things I take on but let’s just say part-time Stay at Home Mom that tries to make it to every event and be involved, meal planner, main grocery shopper and anything child-related buyer, med monitor, blogger, auction fixer upper/reseller and on and on. I am also extremely hard on myself and if I am slacking in one area, I will continue to beat myself up over it in my head. When I am struggling with depression, I feel like I am slacking on all of these things, you can imagine how much that adds to how I feel. No one does it to me but me.

No Self Love (but working on it)

If I am going to be completely honest, I spend about 75% of my days, especially when I am feeling down, looking down on myself. I do not have anything nice to say to me, inside. It’s really sad.

I hate that my anxiety sits right on top and it can really ruin the day, sometimes I focus on it and it really takes over. The spinning continuous thoughts of all that is bothering me turns into worse case scenarios and dread. If you don’t work to stop it, it can get really loud.

In Conclusion

Do I know that this season will most likely end? Yes.

Do I still constantly worry that it will be longer than the norm and that it may never end? Always.

It’s just hard. Until you have faced the feeling of hopelessness and constant lack of motivation or hope, you cannot know what someone going through a state of depression is facing. Be kind to yourself and to others. You just never know what hill or even mountain someone may be climbing to be where they are at this current point in time.

If it is you that is facing this depression, take time for you, take the nap, reach out to those that are closest to you but please do not give up on yourself. There will be better days ahead, you just have to get there. One day at a time.

One. Day. At. A. Time.

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash


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