Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The end of S A D ness...

Every year I'm surprised by it, and yet every year it's the same.

Sometime between September and January is my death. (It depends on what kind of year I'm having. Bear with me.)

But March 1st is my resurrection.

I tend to suffer from something called Seasonal Affective Disorder... or SAD as "they" like to call it. This is a condition where your brain (particularly your hypothalamus, which controls mood, energy, etc.) is affected by a lack of sunlight. In some people, it is worse than others. I'm one of those people.

Some common symptoms of SAD are:

* Depression
* Hopelessness
* Anxiety
* Loss of energy
* Social withdrawal
* Oversleeping
* Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
* Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
* Weight gain
* Difficulty concentrating and processing information

Yep, that's me in a nut shell. The first time I experienced it was in January of either 96 or 97. I woke up the first Sunday or the year and felt paralyzed with the thought of walking out of my apartment door. I just couldn't do it.

When we lived in Texas, my condition wasn't as bad - and especially when I was pregnant for some reason. I never had it when I was pregnant. Hmmm.

The worst experience I ever had with it was the year after we moved back here to Tennessee from Texas. See, TN is situated very near the time change "border", so it gets dark here WAY earlier than a lot of places in the Central Time Zone. Texas is further away from the Central Time Zone line, and as such gets more sunlight.

Anyway, the year we moved back to Tennessee, several things happened in the Fall of that year. I believe I have blogged about this many times before but I'll quickly repeat it. In September of that year (2003) Aaron's dad passed away rather unexpectedly. I was pregnant with Lincoln and Shelby was pregnant with the twins. A month after that, Aaron's grandmother passed away. Then, of course, 3 weeks after that, Lincoln was born and that was a nightmare. He was so sick he almost died and ended up spending weeks in the hospital and had to be fed by a feeding tube for 5 months. It was a LOT to handle, on top of full-time ministry and 2 other lively children.

ANYWAY... we made it through that year - if you can call it "making it through" considering I was pretty much in a fog. BUT, when the next September rolled around, I began to slip into a downward spiral. I couldn't get enough sleep - during the day - and couldn't sleep at night. I couldn't remember what month or season it was. I would catch myself putting the cereal in the fridge, leaving water running, etc. All the while, my own dad was in the process of dying from the effects of early-onset of Alzheimer's.

I couldn't understand why this was happening at this time of year - whatever time of year it was since I couldn't grasp the concept of what time of year it was. Finally, I went to the doc and told him I thought I had a brain tumor or was dying of something horrible. He figured out that I was experiencing SAD, just earlier because of everything that had happened the previous year during the same months. Crazy!

But there is good news, boys and girls.

Something happens to me on March 1st. I come back to life! It's wonderful!!! It's like turning on a light switch. I don't know that it's always been March 1st, but for the past 3 or 4 years it has been. What is so weird is that when I'm under the effects of SAD, I have the hardest time keeping up with what month, day, etc. it is. But then, one day I feel myself feeling REALLY good... and then that feeling lasts for more than 24 hours and that makes me take notice and look at the calendar and - ALAS! - it's March 2 or 3!!!

SO, I'm really happy right now. It's March and I've come out of my seasonal coma. The sun is coming back to me and I love it. I'm going to try and make the absolute most of this year. I will have to say that this past season has been the TAMEST I've had in many years. I attribute that to all the festivities surrounding the merging of Sumner Life with the Hope Center Fellowship. The more I'm busy, the less I have time to wallow in my dumps. However, it's a vicious cycle because the dumps usually sneak up on me and take over before I have a chance to defend myself.

Now, I DO want to add that I absolutely put my faith and trust in God and I know that He has the ability to remove this from my life. And I believe that will happen. I will overcome this. But until then, He will sustain me.


carriewithslah said...

Beth, I want you to come to London with me! It's not exactly Tennessee, but then what is? I'd love to go and sit and have coffee and a sticky toffee pudding with you. That'd knock that SAD right on it's arse! Love you girl!

Maci said...

then should be pregnant that time every year and it will go away...but then people might think you are mormon or something...that would stink...but you could make more Abbey's, Luke's and Lincoln's and it would make me happy, but you out of your mind. We can just pray about it =)

Margie said...

Thats what your freakin problem has been...... Totally Kidding!

Isn't March a beautiful month. The warm breeze and the sunshine reminds you to lift your head and really see what is around you. I love it too!