In Which I Might Have Seasonal Affective Disorder

This winter has been pretty rough so far. Fall was great – just married, just graduated, new job, new apartment, and life was an adventure! When December hit, it was Christmas time! Yay, Christmas! Winter! Snow! Hot chocolate! A violent sledding incident! Fun and joy and grand winter adventures!

And then Christmas was over, and I pretty much just wanted to move to New Mexico. I don’t like being cold. And I really don’t like being cold for extended periods of time. I don’t really like being inside for extended periods of time, either – but it’s better than being cold.

On top of that, we’ve discovered that “cold” to me is nearly synonymous with “dark.” As in, it can be 80 degrees outside, but when the sun goes down, I start shivering, no matter what the temperature is. Uncontrollably shivering. I also get instantly tired when it gets dark. And the days are even darker in a basement apartment. So this winter, I’ve spent a lot of time being cold and tired and socially isolated.

I kind of thought this was normal until my husband started talking about how much he loved the winter. And even then, I just said to myself, “Well, winter’s his favorite season. He must love being cold.” And then a few days ago, I told somebody his favorite season was winter and he corrected me: he likes summer best. He just also likes winter. How can this be? I thought. They’re complete opposites!

We’ve been considering for a while that I might have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is basically a type of depression that comes on every year in the same season (usually winter.) I hadn’t considered it too seriously before, because I hadn’t considered it too serious a problem. Doesn’t everyone spend early January figuring out how much it would cost to pick up and move to Southern California? Doesn’t everybody slow down and reluctantly drag themselves out of bed when it’s cold outside?

Apparently not.  I think the turning point was yesterday, when I was having a bad day, I was sick to my stomach, and I didn’t want to get off the couch. So I didn’t. I sat on the couch for a few hours, tried to do a 1000-piece puzzle, gave up after about 100 pieces, then burst into tears over a facebook post. Ethan helped me calm down, then gently suggested we see a doctor.

I don’t really want to take medication – but seeing a doctor doesn’t mean taking drugs. It means seeking professional advice. It took me a while to wrap my head around that. But we’re discussing the options we’ve got (for free!) on campus, and if we need to, we’ll even swallow the co-pay and go somewhere else. At this point, I’m getting myself through the winter on orange juice, nachos, some exercise, and happy thoughts. I need to increase my arsenal. ♦



2 thoughts on “In Which I Might Have Seasonal Affective Disorder

  1. What really helped me is Vitamin D–the doctor told me to take 1000 mg a day. It’s made a huge difference–I don’t love winter, but it’s tolerable and I can function.

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