Monday, November 20, 2006

Pushing back against the darkness

For those of us with seasonal affective disorder, Thanksgiving thru Christmas is usually a rough time. I am trying some new ways to push back against this darkness.

Accepting physical lethargy: instead of feeling ashamed of how slow I am, just realizing that's the way it is. Maybe I get so overheated the rest of the year, I need this slow time at some deep level.

Putting one foot ahead of the other: Literally and symbolically. Walking seems to be a calming exercise, and is easier than going to the gym right now. Symbolically, just trying to keep going with work, but slowly.

Reaching out to friends: being honest with friends who want to know how I am has been liberating. I try not to lean on people too much, but maybe we can take turns.

Caring less about "what people will think." Even when I'm not deep into winter depression, going to the grocery is almost as hard as working in Russia. [Hence, might as well work in Russia.] But as I contemplated the sorry state of my manicure and hair this morning, trying to work up the energy to buy Thanksgiving food, I had a revelation: People here already know I'm mentally ill! I've given speeches to thousands of people here. If they see me look a little under the weather, they will know why.

Preparing early for Christmas with the children: The more I can do in November, the less anguish I will experience in December. Of course it helps to cut expectations, cut the greeting card list, cut back on activities. Just rest...what a concept.

Trying to keep a sense of humor:. This darkness and lethargy will come every year, despite having a psychiatrist, being on meds, and getting lots of interpersonal support. I'm trying to find the humor in the little humiliations of daily life in November-December. Hey it's probably good practice for being old.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to my fellow bipolar folk, hang in there, this too shall pass.

11 comments:

egregious said...

As advertised on FDL

Highlights:

(1) Embracing your lethargy

(2) Finding humor in daily humiliations

………good practice for being old!

(3) Being more “out” about being mentally ill.

egregious said...

This is as fun as building ziggurats!

egr on fdl thread:

My friend says her old dryer has 3 settings: kill, maim, and off. Being mood swingy is kinda like that.

Anonymous said...

Greetings, egregious! I've long enjoyed your comments on FDL, but didn't know you blogged until I saw it mentioned there just now.

I've bookmarked it, and will be back. Another bipolar pilgrim, here. Diagnosed in 1989 and, despite two crash-and-burns since, relatively stabilized with meds. This time of year is still a bitch for my brain chemicals, though, and every day is a struggle.

All best wishes to you; hang in there.

Anonymous said...

egregious ~
I first met you on FDL last year. I was taken with your spirit and your soul. I hope this fall is less debilitating and that your steps to a more tolerable Christmas are effective. Your efforts are inspiring to me. Your honesty and integrity have always been apparent.

Anonymous said...

Well, here's my theory - those of us of northern european background are genetically programmed to do something similar to hibernating - huddle in the longhouse or whatever with the rest of the village, stay warm, eat the food you put away in summer, and wait for spring. At least that's what I tell myself.

Anonymous said...

Well, here's my theory - those of us of northern european background are genetically programmed to do something similar to hibernating - huddle in the longhouse or whatever with the rest of the village, stay warm, eat the food you put away in summer, and wait for spring. At least that's what I tell myself.

Anonymous said...

I think Fern may be on to something. When I lived in the north I dragged around like a zombie in the winter. After coming down south it's somewhat better, probably because the days are longer. Hang in there, egregious, all of us at FDL are rooting for you!

Margot100 said...

This is a very hard time of year for me too, Egregious. Black hole time.
Thank God for Vita-lite; it's not a cure-all but better than nothing.
Best wishes to you and yours.
--Margot

Anonymous said...

eg

As the mother of a daughter with PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder (along with the resultant depression), you give me hope. She has made great strides and is currently living a life that her illness prevented her from living before.

I see your ups and down, your openness about it, your efforts and struggles, and I feel a connection, even though we only know each other from FDL.

Thank you, eg, for all that you do. But a special thank you for this post. Tis good advice even for those of us who do not suffer from a severe case of SAD.

TeddySanFran said...

Tanning salon will probably get me through another SAD winter. Hoping for the best for all of us, and Happy Thanksgiving. Is your Giving Thanks list as long as mine? I doubt I'll finish listing my Things I'm Thankful For before the bird's ready to eat, even if I start right now!

So glad to have discovered this haven, egr!

Anonymous said...

Egregious - This may not be practical for you, but one cure for SAD is to "winter" down under and thus have eternal summers. More practically I read about some bright lights you can buy that have the same color temperature as sunlight (6000 deg. K as I recall) and used at home can help offset the lack of daily sunshine. I have no clue what they cost but probably less than a trip to Queensland.