Seasonal depression is more than just the winter blues. My world becomes filled with problems that seem so very hard to lose. Seasonal depression is exactly as it sounds. Thoughts in my mind of worthlessness and uselessness go around and around, telling me it would be better if I wasn’t here. The sun who was once my good friend has disappeared and the world around me has turned cold and dark, and nothing seems fun anymore, and so I stay inside, pushing through thoughts of suicide, and not doing anything due to the lack of motivation that begins to crawl into my mind. I have no interest in doing my favourite things, and my sleep is always disrupted, like being on a swing, back and forth, in and out of sleep. I begin to struggle with eating, but I feel like not eating is cheating, that I’m giving into my evil mind that is telling me that to win the winter, I must starve my body.
I become exhausted, but my mind still tells me I’m doing a good job and that winter will be over soon. The lack of sun, food and activity causes me to be nauseous, which further makes me sleep till noon. I become snappy and agitated, because this is what my depressed mind has created. A body that no longer responds positively to food or sleep, but instead forces me to stay in bed and grieve, over a positive mind I used to have a few months ago. A positive mind that told me that I was worth something and that I was enough. Christmas presents are easier to unwrap than unwrapping the part of my mind that tells me that nobody loves me and that everyone is against me and I’m unworthy of feeling cared for. Eating up my vitamins seems easier than eating the Christmas meal at the table in front of my family, where they are all talking and laughing and having fun, describing how it’s been such a great day. My anxiety works with my depression, trying to force me to go upstairs to lie down, but I must fight back against them.
That’s why I know there are ways to deal with this.
I don’t take medication because it’s not on my preferred treatment list, though there is absolutely no disgrace to those who do take it.
I always make sure that as soon as I wake up, I get out of bed before the depressive thoughts start, because if I stay in bed too long, the thoughts come marching in, and it becomes so much harder for me to get up. This also includes staying off twitter for the morning instead of grabbing my phone and clicking on the app as soon as I wake up, because twitter can sometimes trigger my depressive thoughts. I always go downstairs, get a nice cup of tea and a good, healthy breakfast that will support me during the morning when I go for a walk. Going for a walk helps to clear my mind and reminds me that even though dark nights are here, I can still enjoy the beauty of the world during the day, and when the dark nights cloud over me, I can tell myself that I have seen the beautiful frosty grass and the shiny iced pavements that glitter in the little sun that we have during the day. I remind myself constantly that I am enough and that all the love I give to others, I can also give to myself. I make sure that I talk to my friends and stay close to my pets, and I also write down how I feel after every day has passed. I fill my days with self-care and self-indulgence, such as warm, nice smelling baths, hot chocolate and a nice book to read. I tell myself that brighter days will come soon as I read through my self-help books, and use objects in my self-help box such as my stress balls and my stress teddies. A favourite night-time activity of mine is switching on my glitter ball globe and lying down on the floor, watching the glitter flutter around in the ball as it lights up in colours of blue and green, red and orange, making it look like thousands of fireflies, or even quickly moving stars, are flying around me on the walls, floor and on the ceiling. It’s easy for the mind to attack once you’re still and quiet, but the firefly effect of the glitter ball fills me with peace and hope for something beautiful to happen in my life.
To all those who suffer with depression during the cold, dark days, just know that you are not alone and we will get through this together.
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