Thursday, February 4, 2010

SAD isn't so up & down for me.

I am in the company of SAD today (a.k.a. Seasonal Affective Disorder).  I have struggled with SAD for as long as I can possibly remember.  Winters have often been dark for me.  I have to admit, however, that over these last few years, and particularly this last year, my time spent with SAD has been lessened. 

I have come to recognize when SAD is at my door.  It starts out with a nagging sense of something not being right.  Just a feeling.  Like I'm happy, but not happy.  Down, but not completely out.  This is completely different from times past with SAD.  That looked more like a deep, dark black hole that I had fallen into and couldn't get out for days weeks at a time.  While in the black hole, I would try desperately to "act as if" nothing was wrong, which made me fall deeper in.

My poor family, friends and co-workers had to deal with me being up one day and down the next.  I was on a constant see-saw of up & down.  Of course, I didn't recognize any of this and I certainly wouldn't have cared even if I did.  I usually grabbed on to SAD and held on to it tight.  I had a crappy life and I deserved to have bad days.  At least that's what my mind told me.  It only got worse when I realized that what I experienced had a name and was actually a disorder.  My mind loved that.  Now I could be a mess of darkness and it was ok.

Well, it wasn't ok.  Imagine what it must have been like for my family.  They usually got the brunt of my dark moods.  My precious Littles had no clue what to expect from me day to day.  We were together ALL the time and I'm not so sure they were always feeling safe and secure.  I know they loved the ups, but I'm sure the downs probably left them feeling like they were in a black hole also.

Things are completely different now.  Yes, SAD still affects me.  Yes, I still have days when I'm feeling down.  I deal with those days honestly now.  I don't try to poo poo them away and pretend that they don't exist.  I come right out and tell my family that I am feeling a bit sad and I need some time to allow myself to feel the sadness.

I consider myself a rather introverted person.  Because of this I find myself withdrawing from people when this sadness appears.  Not because I don't want people to see me down.  Not because I am trying to hide the fact that this shiny mama's "Shiny" is a little on the dim side.  It is because I know that in order for me to ensure that SAD doesn't hang around I need to just be with "me".  I need to spend time in quiet.  I can't be completely in solitude because I have the Littles here, but they really respect my need for quiet.  I don't ask for it unless I really need it.  So when I do they honor that.  I am blessed having them here.

I am also blessed with a wonderful network of friends and family that understand my need to be with myself.  One thing I have learned over this past year, is that the person that I truely am is generally a happy, shiny person.  I love feeling that shine within. I have connected with that part of me and I am able to see when it starts to dim.  Spending time with me is just like spending time with any dear friend.

In addition to connecting with my Spirit I also make sure that whatever room I am in is brightly lit.  I light a lot of candles at night.  I play happy, upbeat music.  I tackle a project that I know will make me smile to get it done.  I read a book that I have been putting off reading.  I drink extra water.  I also sit myself down in front of a window and I look outside and search for beauty.  There is beauty all around me in this white wonderland I live in.  Finding that beauty fills me with gratitude. 

So I am grateful for SAD, for giving me the opportunity to spend some quality time with a very dear friend.  For letting me see that I need to focus on myself and honor "me".  I am also grateful that there are no more severe ups and downs.  Maybe just a small dip here and there.

I am not trying to say in anyway that SAD is an easy thing to conquer.  It can be quite severe and debilitating.  Many people need help to live with it.  I used to be one of those people.  I know how scary and dark it can be.  If you are struggling please reach out to family, friends and professionals that can help.  We all deserve to shine bright and whatever we need to do to get there is important.

Just my thoughts.


~The M.F.P. said...

I hope you and 'your friend' had a beautiful, quiet day together. Lots of love to you.

jchristin said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing.
I just think your journey is fabulous to watch and be a part of. By sharing all that you do as candidly as you do, you allow me to grow as well.
Much peace as you hunker down for a bit....and lots of good energy and love your way:)

Christine said...

Not sure if you've tried this before, but vitamin D cured my seasonal affective disorder.

shiny mamaof6 said...

Kim - Thanks for the love. My day was good.

Joy - I am so grateful to have people like you to share my thoughts with. Your journey has been very inspirational to me as well.

Christine - Doh!! I completely forgot about vitamin D. Thank you thank you. So glad that you have my back. ;)

Sandi Delia said...

As always, a great post from Jill! What I particularly needed to hear was how you honor wherever you are at as being okay. And asking for what you need. And realizing being a roller coaster of emotion is difficult on others. And, and, and. Just packed full with great stuff.

suZen said...

I love how you shared this - the whole acceptance thing! WONderful! Sometimes all we need to do is acknowledge our feelings and listen to that need to have a bit of solitude. I agree with Christine, I take vitamin D-3 and it made a HUGE difference in my ability to deal with SAD. I've had it for a lifetime so I really do relate to where you are coming from.
Hugs - and LIGHT,

Caroline said...

My Mom suffers from SAD and bought a special light that she sits by daily in the winter...she said it's changed her life. Not sure if that might help. I think it's amazing that you are so aware and welcome the challenges that this brings. Peace to you.

shiny mamaof6 said...

Sandi - I'm so thrilled that what I say resonates with you. Love having you as one of my Soul Sisters.

Suzen - You and I seem to have quite a few life experiences in common. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts here. Thanks for the hugs and the LIGHT.

Caroline - I have often thought about getting one of those "happy" lights. We changed the light bulbs in our home last year and it did seem to help. Learning to accept my SAD times has really been the biggest help. This awesome blogging community has helped as well.

mermaid said...

I offer humble reverence to your courage, Jill. To resist the black hole and contemplate really takes monumental strength. Don't let anyone fool you.

I suffered from post partum depression (PPD), but only when I investigated it from a spiritual perspective did I find the freedom I was looking for.

May you feel SAD, and may you be happy.

April said...

Wow...never knew there was such a thing as SAD. How fortunate that you have it clear and can minimize its effects.

I have 4 kids, not 6!!, but like you always try to find the bright side of things. As a new blogger, I try to inspire good thoughts, ideas and positive outlook in others on

I hate how the media, based on coverage, would have us believe our world is nearly 100% violence and bad news. I KNOW that isn't true. There's a world full of good out there.

Thanks for all your fantastic focus! I'll be back for more. Smiles,

shiny mamaof6 said...

Mermaid - Your words are always so healing and warm. Need you to know how much I appreciate that.

April - Welcome! Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts here. Its awesome that you are spreading positive energy.

Linda Granholm Myers said...

It's spring now, and I'm feeling upbeat. I use a blue light and a special supplement in the winter to deal with my SAD, which helps but not completely. I'm grateful to feel the joy of springtime.

Thanks for sharing your story.

shiny mamaof6 said...

I am so grateful for Spring as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.