Tag Archives: seasonal affective disorder

So Basic

This is an admission of sorts. The kind of thing that I am owning up to in the hopes that someone else can benefit from my honesty.

It’s no secret that I am struggling this winter with Seasonal Affective Disorder. One component of it that is driving me completely crazy is my inability to focus. It is something that plagues me at times, but this is a whole new level of it. Mornings are the worst. When the morning goes wrong, the whole day heads south – where I wish I was.

On and off, for many years I have turned to Flylady.net and Side Tracked Home Executives for tools, tips & resources to manage my day – and my life. There were times when I adhered to their advice and models very strictly and these things saved my life. I have learned habits and behaviors that have stuck with me and carried me through some very rough patches. Lately, I’ve reinstated many routines and I have begun using a very basic list.

DSC09059 (1)My list is the same every morning. It is laminated and I use a dry erase marker to cross off my tasks. Sitting in front of my therapy light, re-starting the laundry, unloading the dishwasher, getting some form of exercise and getting dressed to my shoes are all on my list. There are others. Some are too pathetic to mention – but they need to get done. These tasks are things, that through trial and error, I have identified as tasks that start the ball rolling in the right direction and I seem to be able to gain some momentum.

If you can do the basics easily and as a matter of habit – good for you! If you are someone who finds yourself in your pjs at noon with not a whole lot crossed of your ‘to-do-list’ – AND YOU LIKE IT THAT WAY – carry on 🙂 But, if you are in my boat – and I know I am not alone – and you could use a little hand holding to pull you through the mundane mornings of life – make yourself a list and cross things off it like your life depends on it.

Because sometimes it does.

It’s The Little Things

The really, really little things.

I continue to battle the winter doldrums. I have found some things that are working for me and I am grateful for that. There are also tiny little joys that I am clinging to tightly in an effort to bring little snaps of happiness and comfort to my currently monotonous days.

DSC08690 DSC08685I have been bringing flowers home. Yes, me. Don’t be harsh on Dennis. He is more the ‘brought home a paycheck’, ‘got you new tires’, and ‘here’s some cash for coffee’ kind of romantic. It’s all good. Someone smart and deliriously happy suggested I get an orchid because they are beautiful and tropical. Who am I to argue when the universe brings a message to me through Facebook?

DSC08709 DSC08706 (1) DSC08522I am enjoying complicated, labor-intensive baking. This carrot cake required carrot grating and sifting of ingredients. I made a lemon curd layer cake (that I forgot to photograph) that required zesting,  juicing, whipping egg whites, and a double boiler. Several of my recent cakes have come out of Cake Ladies and they have turned out bakery-worthy. Try some of them. When I am doing this kind of baking I cannot think about my to-do list or personal problems. Ah, a mental break that ends in sweet treats!

DSC08661 DSC08659I’ve left up the white lights we used to decorate for New Year’s Eve. They’re just so damn festive.

DSC08658 DSC08657 DSC08656 DSC08654I hung cheap, little ‘crystals’ I bought at the craft store in my front windows. They randomly cast small, streaky rainbows on furniture and walls. I find it glorious. Really. Little. Things.

DSC08723I’m buying dreamy cleaning products. Yes, I am able to attach the word ‘dreamy’ to cleaning products. I find that wiping, washing, and organizing assuage my anxiety. Good stuff.

DSC08663 DSC08321I enjoy burning candles and incense. I love the warm, woody, sacred feeling they give to my house.

DSC08681 DSC08680The Making of The Bed Meditation.

I have not always espoused the value of bed making. But several things have caused me to rethink my stance on it. Apparently, yes, you can have a stance on bed making.

First, I have returned to Flylady.net and the SHE websites because I have been distracted and attention-challenged lately. Routines and tools from both sites are proving valuable to me right now. In the past, they have been life-savers. Flylady presents a good case for making your bed and I’m going with it.

Second, I have been reading quite a lot of Anne Lamott recently and came across this quote in Help Thanks Wow:

“When you crawl between clean sheets after a hard day, you are saved. You feel like you are the best sandwich ever. You’re being taken care of from the top and the bottom, with not a crumb or lump or a wrinkle. Wow: you can’t believe you felt so low and lonely till you thought to change the sheets.

It resonated with me the moment I read it and prompted me to search youtube for ‘How to make a hotel bed’ and ‘the right way to make a bed’. Tiny investment, big payout.

Third, I take the amount of time it takes to make my bed to be thankful and grateful. Can making your bed change the course of your day? I’m going to find out.

Sometimes focusing on minutia for me, can straighten out some of the big things. It’s like if I put the ‘little’ in order, they ‘big’ has a chance of following suit.

I’m SAD

No, I’m not going to complain again, but it’s my blog and it’s my prerogative.

I have recently been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s not a surprise. It’s always been tough – this year is the toughest it’s ever been. I saw it coming. It’s like a switch was flipped – because in the summer I’m nailin’ it – but now I feel nailed to the floor. The good news is that I am not going to stay here. I just can’t.

I am employing a mufti-faceted approach to battle this ugly, black dog. It is a most difficult challenge when your concentration is poor, attention is short, and mood is low. My doctor made several recommendations, as well as dear friends, and some are helping already. Protein is my friend, and sugar is most likely the enemy 🙁 A several mile walk lifts my mood and soothes frayed nerves immediately. I have my hands on some books that have solid nutritional advice and I’ve never felt so strongly about a vitamin before! I felt its effects the first day I took it 🙂

I’ve also gotten myself a therapist. She is super shiny and meets me in the kitchen.

DSC07776 (1) DSC07778 (1)That’s right – 10,000 lux of goodness. It’s an effective treatment for SAD with a well-established track record. I sit with my light at the recommended distance while I read, watch the news and drink a cup of coffee for 15-30 minutes first thing in the morning. The light needs be pointing passively into your eyes, without looking directly into it. The forced sitting still might be good for me too. I have to admit – I am feeling positive effects of this rather quickly, as well. Sleep, oh how it eluded me!

I recognize that there is truly a chemical change in my brain when the sun leaves the summer sky for me. Like I said, it’s like someone flipped a switch – or at least took my sunny orb of happiness. But, I believe there are lots of good ways to fight the winter blues that threaten to side track my holidays, my marriage, my relationship with my kids, my productivity and generally being able to be happy.

Bring on the Serotonin! Please.

I have friends who have done some really nice things for me recently – from bringing a gift bag full of relaxing teas and treats to providing me with lots of info and research that they have already done on SAD and depression or sending me encouraging words

~ thank you!