I grew up in the olden days when most doctors were male. They dismissed “female complaints” with an airy wave of their neatly manicured fingers. So, when I got sad and moody every February, I got lectures about responsibility and attitude. It was the same for every girl I knew. Either you kept your problems to yourself or you could expect to be ignored at best and ridiculed at worst.
Ah, the good ole days.
Seasonal depression isn’t just a female complaint—it never was, though more women than men report symptoms. Nobody knows whether this is so because men are hesitant to ‘fess up or if it’s a truly gender-related difference. Actually, nobody completely understands the reasons for Seasonal Affective Disorder. But at least we’ve decided it is a real ‘thing.’
I get it every year and every year I swear I will do a better job of handling it. About the middle of February, I know why I feel like curling in a ball with a vat of ice cream, a tub of pasta, and a bottle of Scotch and I know I’ll feel even worse if I give in. But sometimes. . . . .I do it anyway.
Which accounts for the lack of a blog post for the past two weeks K
With me, it’s not really depression—no thoughts of jumping out a window. (Actually, I would be more likely to push someone else than to jump myself. Or to hack them to bits with an axe. Or back the car over them repeatedly. Or maybe just add a little rat poison to the snacks and watch them eat it as I sip my tea and smile. But I digress.)
Through the last of January and all of February, I spend days and nights watching reruns of old movies in a darkened house as dust bunnies gather in herds and range across the laundry mountains. Unidentified items in the refrigerator achieve sentience. Everything gets on my nerves—especially the sound of other people breathing. Deliverymen, sensing the danger, gently place packages on the doorstep and quietly back away.
But in March, I begin to come out of it. It’s at this time when I shake my fist at the sky a la Scarlet O’Hara and shout “I’ll never do this again. No, nor any of my folks” which, strangely, makes more sense than most of my conversation has for the past month.
Then I make a list of things I will do in 2018 to keep the winter blues at bay next year.
Proactive Seasonal Depression Prevention Checklist
- Go to the Keys—Just two weeks in late Feb would do it, I think. Better yet, Mardi Gras on the Gulf, followed by two weeks on a secluded beach! This is Plan A. Everything else is Plan B.
- Get a lot of sunshine through the summer. I believe the more you recharge the longer it lasts.
- Take my vitamins and go into next winter loaded with nutrients. If any roaming carnivore eats me, he/she will glow with health.
- I have gotten through a few winters with minimal problems and I credit a daily walk, yoga, and exercises for that. So, I’ll do those.
- Meditation is another thing that works when it comes to any kind of depression, but it’s all about establishing the habit and sticking to the routine.
- Music! I’ve got headphones and ear buds so nobody else has to be inflicted with my obsession with bagpipes and Gaelic.
- Limit TV! TV is a soul-sucking device from Hell. But I gots to have me my PBS mysteries and my BBC comedies and my whatever it is I am hooked on this season. I DO NOT need to hear the news blasted at me 24 hours a day like some people in my house. So I’ll avoid that.
Those are my remedies. Next year, about this time, we’ll see if they worked.
How about you? Do you get SAD? What do you do to snap yourself out of it? Share your secrets.