Winter time kicks my ass every year, and I’ll tell you why. Have you ever heard of a little thing called SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder? For those of you who haven’t heard of it, here are some of the symptoms:
- increased sleep
- loss of energy and ability to concentrate
- loss of interest in work or other activities
- social withdrawal
These are pretty much the symptoms of clinical depression, and in all actuality Seasonal Affective Disorder is it’s own form of depression. So, what is the point of all of this, you ask? Well, during the winter, because of the lack of natural sunlight and being susceptible to depression anyway, I fall apart. Every year it’s like clock work. You would think that after living in Montana and Idaho for most of my life, I would be used to shitty winters, but it’s the same thing every time. Usually around the fall, I think to myself, “Self, this year it’s going to be different. I’m going to go tanning, take my vitamins, work out, and get a hobby.” By November these resolutions have gone down the toilet, and I’m done for.
I’ve pushed away friends and family members, suffered academically and in my work life, and lost a lot of great opportunities because of all this. The thing I feel the worst about, are the friends that I have pissed off. When I slip into a depression, I tend to disappear. Even though I have lost some friends over my inability to keep in contact, fortunately, I do have some very supportive people in my life who totally understand, and don’t hold it against me.
Here’s the thing about depression that most people don’t understand. It just happens, and it has nothing to do with willpower or attitude. Sometimes there’s just some wacky things going on with chemicals in the brain. Did you know that 1 in 10 people report having had depression at one point in their life? I can’t count how many times people have told me that I just need to exercise more, eat more bananas, take more vitamins, read my scriptures, pray harder, or just will myself to change my emotions. Every time I get this spiel, I just want to punch those morons in the throat and flip them the bird as I run away. I’ve never done this in real life, but you better believe in my mind it happens all the time. I mean, I guess those things can be helpful, but how the deuce are you supposed to get to the point where you can function normally, if you don’t even have the willpower to get out of bed before noon, or the attention span to watch a movie, or read even a paragraph in a book? A lot of the time unless someone has experienced depression personally, or have seen someone close to them suffer from it, they just don’t get it. And people who don’t get it have no right to judge, or give advice about something they have no idea about.
I don’t know why I decided to share this much on the internet for all to see, but I just feel like maybe someone needs to hear this. It’s not your fault the chemicals in your brain are going haywire. It just happens, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is an idiot. Depression sucks, and eventually it will get better, but sometimes you just have to ride it out until you can feel good again. Don’t beat yourself up, and take advantage of the things that will help you feel better like therapy, medication and the support of your friends and family. And the most important thing, don’t let the man get you down!