Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real and not uncommon form of depression. And it's the reason I moved myself to the Sunshine state.

Every fall, it would start slowly. I'd cancel plans and put things off. Avoid the phone. In general, I'd start isolating myself. I didn't feel up to doing anything. All I wanted was to be left alone. I'd snuggle under a blanket with some hot tea and a book. I avoided leaving the house.

I was sad and tired. I couldn't snap myself out of it. My very persistent friends would drag me out of the house and I had a nice time hanging out with them but was happy to get back home.

I lost my spark, my fizz, my pizazz, my panache, my perkiness for about 3 months out of the year. I found out about SAD and immediately realized that's what was wrong with me. I took some of the recommended steps. I went outside more. Soaking up the rays helps with it. If not just for the sunlight for the peace you find being out in nature. I forced myself to say yes when I felt blah and went out anyway.

The small changes helped but not all the time and definitely not entirely. That's when I decided to regain my winters. I packed up and moved in the dead of January. I went to Florida. I  left snow and came to sun and sand.

After a week, I felt like myself again. I laughed easier. I talked more. I went to the beach and watched the waves. I was home.

I've been down here 8 or 9 years now. The dreaded Winter Blues have only hit me once since the move. It scared the hell out of me. I wasn't expecting it. I only realized my behavior was changing because friends started commenting on it. I caught it fairly early and it didn't last as long this last time around.

I was honest and open about it and explained it to my friends. I'm still me. I'll still laugh if you say something funny. I just need to be drawn out more. Hassle me about going out. I'll have fun when I'm there.

Depression comes in many forms and most of us will be affected by it at some point in our lives. It's not something to be ashamed of. It's just something to be dealt with.

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