Wednesday, September 22, 2010

S for Sad (or SAD)

I’m beginning to wonder if a choice I made back in April was the right one. That’s the nature of choices though, isn’t it? Some of you might remember that I decided to go off my antidepressants back then. I’d been on them for a few years and felt as though enough time and healing had passed for me to take a stab at life on my own without the help of chemicals. My doctor developed a good plan for me to gradually taper off, and everything worked out well. I didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms, increased depression, or really any side effects at all.

Now, though, I’m beginning to wonder if I wasn’t a little too quick to make the decision I did. As the weather changes and we move further into fall, I find my mood changing as well. And not for the good. As the days get shorter and darker, so does my patience and mood. I’ve been feeling down a little more regularly lately, and I find that I either want to sleep way too much or I have trouble sleeping. Today, I feel downright sad and weepy. That’s not cool when I’m stuck at work. And it’s frustrating, because I really have no reason to be sad. Well, let me rephrase that…

There is no immediate cause for my sadness. Nothing in particular has happened recently to upset me. I’ve long suspected that I have SAD, and the way I’m feeling lately confirms this self-diagnosis. Of course, this will always be a bad time of year for me. October brings the bittersweet anniversary of the trial and sentencing of Zachary, the man who ended my sister’s life, and December brings an anniversary I’d rather never have to acknowledge. Yes, it’s safe to say that this will always, always be a bad time of year. And, of course, it just happens to coincide with the season that brings colder, darker weather. It’s just not a good combination.

I try not to focus on it or think about it, but the hole created where my sister used to be is just as much a part of me as she was when she was here. I want so badly not to forget her, and I fear that I am. That I do. Or maybe I just try to force myself too hard to try to remember her, and that compounds the feelings that I’m a bad sister for forgetting. I wish there was a way to remember her but to forget the pain. I know that’s not possible. And while the pain isn’t as ever-present and hard as it used to be, because it’s true what “they” say about time healing, it’s still there. It will always be there. And at this time of year, it seems to push harder and becomes a more forceful presence. That sucks. Really HARD!

I suppose it doesn’t help that I spent last night writing a post for tomorrow that stirred up a lot of not so good memories, but it was cathartic for me, and I look forward to sharing it with you tomorrow. Then, I sometimes wonder if this being a bad time of year isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy. Am I choosing to focus on the pain, thus making this a bad time of year? Is this something I can control?

I don’t know. I don’t think so though. If I were my mother, the answer would be a resounding, “YES!” Because my mother lives for attention and seems to crave pity. I, however, do not.

It also doesn't help that, because Psychology class runs for three and a half hours every single Saturday, I don't have as much downtime as I'm used to. So, I'm not resting and recharging as much as I'm used to. I’m not entirely sure how I want to deal with this seasonal depression thing right now. I think I’m going to just try to be gentle with myself for a bit. No undue pressure to be the best I can be for everyone else, but instead focus on taking care of me the best I can for me. And, of course, I’ll let MusicMan help out with taking care of me too.

I think that maybe I need to release this by just having a good long cry. What do you do, lovely reader, when you're feeling down?
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  1. Amanda {Enchanting Havoc}September 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. My heart aches for your loss.

    A good long cry always helps... always helps me.

  2. A good, long cry helps me, too. Escaping into a book or a good movie. A long walk on the beach(it's a cliche for a reason).

    But, I also believe that some people do need meds. That it's not really a choice, it's something that they have to have in order to get through their depression.

    You have me completely intrigued about your post tomorrow.

  3. I know July always sucks for me because of having my daughter but we will both make it each year. Every year it will get better. It may still hurt but the sting of it will ease as the years go on. She wouldn't want you to be super depressed you know that. Keep your head up. I am here if you need or want to talk.

  4. I'm so sorry you're feeling this way! I know what it's like to not be in control of your emotions anymore.....I want so badly to be calm and happy but sometimes no matter how hard I try it just won't happen. I hope things start looking up for you!

    When I'm sad I usually take a drive and turned my music up super loud. Driving by myself aimlessly has always helped me feel a little bit better.

  5. I think you are very clever. Clearly you know yourself very well. I can't assume to know what dealing with depression is like, but you certainly seem bound and determined to battle it gracefully. This post was very inspiring.

  6. Thanks so much. A good cry usually helps me too, and every now and then I think we all just need to release all those emotions that just build up.

  7. Thanks, Shelly. Unfortunately, no beaches nearby (even though I'm in the "land of 10,000 lakes") and the weather isn't quite conducive to it, but I agree that taking a long, quiet walk and spending time in nature can be very healing. It's just good for the soul.

    Your comment on the meds is correct too. I agree that some people just need them; biology dictates it. I've begun to consider if I just might be one of those people.

  8. You are, of course, right, Margaret. It's true that each year gets easier, and I know she wouldn't want me to be depressed. In fact, she used to HATE it when anyone she knew or loved was down. I try to remember that when I get especially sad. Thanks for your support and friendship.

  9. Thanks, Wendy. I'm so glad to have found your blog. Though I'm a relatively new reader, I've caught myself up on your posts, and you are one strong, inspiring lady. Thanks for stopping by to show your support and lend advice. Driving with music super loud, and singing badly (very, very badly) at the top of my lungs is usually a great stress/emotional release for me. I hadn't even thought of that!

  10. Wow! Thank you so much! I figured this post was a major pity-party and quite self-indulgent...I wasn't expecting inspiring. I've always thought myself to be pretty self-aware, and people always tell me I seem to be. I'm surprised it comes through in my writing as well. Thanks for pointing that out.

  11. Elle, I'm sorry to hear you are suffering. Such a loss is monumental and we can't put a time limit on grief. Your sister lives on in your heart and in the many ways she impacted your life and shaped you as a person. Thus she will never be forgotten. You need peace and that would not dishonor her memory at all.

    I also find water soothing when I am sad. I ususally take a loooooong bath or shower to feel as if I'm cleansing the sadness away. It always helps me. My heart is with you.

  12. Thanks so much, Viv, for the support and encouragement, but most of all, for reminding me that it's not dishonoring her memory to live life and to enjoy peace and happiness. Such an important reminder, and I forget it far too often.

    Thanks for the recommendation on having a bath or shower...both are so relaxing, and the symbology of washing away the sadness cannot be dismissed.

  13. When I'm down...I don't do much of anything. Just the bare minimum to get through the day. Shower maybe, eat, work and go to bed.
    Is there a script for SAD? Maybe not a daily, year-round kind...just one for either the first few weeks of the season, or something as needed? Wouldn't that be awesome?

  14. Thanks for the HUGS! (and right back at ya.) I'm the same way when I'm down! I just don't have any energy to do very much but the bare minimum, so that's what I do. I wish there was a seasonal medication for SAD, but there doesn't seem to be, because depression drugs are long-term deals. I've been thinking about trying light therapy though. I've read that that can be very successful.


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