OK, so any of you who follow this blog because you're interested in knowing more about depression, you are welcome to watch me throughout the next few months. I've probably struggled with chemical depression my whole life (which would explain the manic-depressive mood swings I experienced as a teenager). That is fairly well under control with the help of 2 anti-depressants. Thank God for mind-altering drugs! (Oops, did I say that out loud???) BUT, to compound my symptoms, the stinkin' sun has to play hide & seek for about 6 months out of the year. And it affects me greatly, even while taking my happy pills.
One good thing about all of this is that I finally know what's happening to me. I used to think I was just a failure, a loser, or not trying hard enough. As a Christian, I thought I just wasn't praying enough. These are mild signs, by the way, in case you suspect that you or someone you know might be depressed. I would think it's not necessarily normal for people to think they're losers, but I called myself that on a daily basis, many times out loud, in front of my kids. (And I wonder why they have issues. . . .) I finally have learned that what is happening to me is not my fault. I don't like it, and I can't just muster up enough happiness to get out of it, but it does allow me to change the way I think about myself. Instead of thinking, "I'm a loser because I'm always so tired that I can't get anything done. I must really be a lazy, good-for-nothing. . . .", I now choose to think, "Here's this dumb-ass SAD again! Why can't it just leave me alone???" (FYI, SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder). So, my tone in speaking to myself isn't much more positive, but now I can blame something else instead of myself!
But it also presents before me the task of doing everything I can possibly do to keep the blues at bay:
1. PRAY! Worship, rejoice, and give thanks because gratitude increases my joy
2. Take my meds (duh!)
3. Get enough sleep, which I can finally do, hallelujah! This is because of the wonderfully wise decision my husband initiated to send our kids out to school. They are tired enough at the end of the day to sleep all night AND I can catch up on lost sleep while they're at school, if need be.
4. Eat right and exercise. (Yeah, this makes me laugh, too, but I'm working on it.)
5. Take supplements: Optivite, a power-packed women's vitamin, Vitamin D, and Flax Seed or Fish Oil capsules.
So, there you have it. Too bad you didn't catch me at my worst, a few years back. Then you would have really had a case study in depression. I'm expecting to fare better these days, but I can definitely sense the change in my mood and energy now that the sunny days are fewer and farther between. But, to be honest, when I am in the deepest throes of depression, I probably wouldn't post anyway. So, if you notice that I go missing for a few weeks, feel free to give me a nudge.