Good evening! When I started this blog, I was very clear that I wanted it to be not only a place where people could come for information, but also to get a more personal perspective on managing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Winter Blues symptoms. I want you to know that you’re not alone in feeling the way you do.
I’ve shared a little bit with you already of how I used to feel before I was diagnosed with SAD. I’ve also told you that in general I have my symptoms pretty well managed now. What I’ve not done so far is tell you what it’s like when I’m not managing my symptoms very well! There’s a reason for this; I don’t want to be too self-indulgent and I don’t want you to get pulled down while you’re reading. I’m by nature quite an empathetic person, easily affected by other people’s emotions, so in recognition that other people are like this too, I’m trying to be careful on this blog to keep things reasonably upbeat.
That said, I don’t want to give the false impression that I’m always okay (no-one ever really is, I find!). I’ve had a funny old few weeks; I feel like I’ve been on a see-saw! Besides having a few things on my mind, I’ve realised that I haven’t been managing my symptoms very well. My poor brain can’t seem to work out whether I should be bouncing around like Tigger, or curled up on the sofa with my book and a hot chocolate!
Part of the reason is that I don’t think I should have to be managing SAD symptoms in June and July – I can’t get my head around it! I normally jolly myself along in January and February, thinking about spring being ‘just around the corner’ and trying to plan nice things to look forward to. Problem is, with confirmation that the UK has just experienced the wettest April to June on record and double the average rainfall for June, I’m struggling to find that kernel of hope that there’s going to be a longer run of sunny days.
I’ve had just about all the weather I can handle in the last two weeks! After finding my walk in the pouring rain quite funny the other Sunday, I can assure you that being out in the storm up here in Newcastle and Gateshead last Thursday was really not funny. I was very lucky compared to many of my friends and colleagues.
I got a soaking going to an appointment and was then stuck on a packed bus for 2.5 hours – but I was safe and sheltered! I did, however, feel really anxious, which I’m pretty sure was heightened because I was already feeling fed up with the rain. It took me ages to calm down.
A bit of sunshine at the weekend while visiting my family in Leeds had me feeling hyper again, with my Mum laughing at me talking ten-to-the-dozen, hardly pausing for breath!
Then - argh! - I felt so flat early this week. I awoke Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday mornings to grubby grey weather and felt thoroughly fed up!
So, given that I’ve had some things on my mind, how do I know that I’m suffering with SAD symptoms? Well, yesterday and today have been the perfect indicators. After waking for the third day in a row feeling miserable, I used my SAD light in the office yesterday and felt almost instantly better. A good laugh with my lovely colleagues helped plenty too! Today, I sat out in the sunshine (yes, really, there was some!) for an hour at lunch and felt great. Nothing has changed in terms of what’s on my mind, but the bright light gave me a very perceptable lift.
The silly thing is, I know that I need to use my light on dull days, but perhaps I’m more of an optimist than I give myself credit for! I kept thinking that it might be brighter on the way home, or the next day.
A day or two of dull weather in summer isn’t normally an issue, but a run of several days or weeks can very easily leave you feeling as bad as you do in winter, if you’re a Winter SAD or Winter Blues sufferer. Once you’re feeling bad, it can be harder to lift yourself back up, so please – don’t make the same mistake I’ve made this last couple of weeks – get your SAD light back out of the cupboard!
If you’re supporting friends, family or colleagues who suffer from SAD, please try and be patient with them; what can seem like baffling mood swings really can be a result of what the weather’s doing!
One last thing; I thought I’d let you know that Lumie has a sale on at the moment. If you’ve been thinking about buying a SAD light for a while, now might be a good time to invest in one!
How are you managing with the summer rain? Can you relate to my see-saw analogy? Does anyone fancy emigrating with me to the Canary Islands?!
Image credit – children playing – http://www.sxc.hu/photo/884206