The {Real, Raw} Truth About {Living With} SAD

Today I am having a bad day. It didn't start out so bad. Although when I woke up later than I thought it was it didn't help. I took a double dose of my anxiety med and thought I would be good to go. The sun is shining and it's in the mid 60s, the first time I have experienced such a thing in January! I had some things to get done today and anxiety wasn't getting in my way. I got to where I needed to be and completed new hire paperwork. I then had to have my picture taken for my ID badge. Looking at that picture is what sent me in my downward anxiety spiral. I looked fat, ugly, gross. My hair looked like a mess even though I tried to make it NOT look so. And now, here I am. Things like that don't typically trigger my anxiety so quickly and fiercely. That is when I remember that it is, in fact, winter. And even though I am living some where with warmer climate and more sunshine I still have S(easonal)A(feective)D(isorder) Here are the real, raw, hard truths about SAD and what it does to me.

Even though this happens to me every single year it seems to come out of nowhere. As if it's the first time it's ever happened to me before. Therefore it takes me by surprise, catches me off balance, and leaves me breathless, anxious, depressed, gasping for hair and reaching for a hand up.  When SAD makes it's appearance the follow emotions wiggle their way into my life, brain, and heart; anxiety (obviously), depression (duh), FEAR, anger, and a straight up negative attitude about everything. A feeling of being non existent fills me and convinces my brain that I simply do not matter. TO ANYONE.

What's (most) frustrating about SAD is knowing deep, DEEP, down inside of me I am a person full of joy, happiness, smiles, giggles, ideas, compliments, and ambition to do it all.

Although I torture Matthew with being cranky, moody, sad, irritable, and try to blame him for literally everything that goes wrong he is my soft landing place. When I simply cannot take anymore and I collapse into bed with my head under the covers he is right there making sure I am comfortable and doing whatever it takes to make sure I stay comfortable (pizza in bed happens during the winter a lot..) I can't count how many times I have ended up in the fetal position (with or without tears) in my bed yelling, screaming, kicking, hating everything and he is as close or as far as I want him to be. I trust him with my whole entire being to take care of me and keep me safe while letting me be. I can throw things at him, yell at him, tell him I hate it and guess what? He responds with an "I love you", and if I let him, a bear hug. How did I get so lucky to have my rock, best friend, husband, and partner in crime rolled up into one human being?! (And why can't that be enough for my brain to quit acting like it does?!)

When SAD hits me, it hits hard. The thoughts that run through my brain some of these days that I suffer most are things that would scare even me if I said them out loud. I try to keep normal routine and add in more daytime activity, use my sun lamp in the mornings (which....I left in SoDak while I'm here in TX), do things on the weekends when weather permits, surround myself with people more frequently that I prefer, exercise (usually the hardest one to NOT keep up with), and simply remind myself everyday that it will be okay, I will be okay, and the season will pass before I know it. Feeling so depressed, anxious, scared, angry, you name it, for so many consecutive days is draining on a person physically and mentally. Getting out of bed gets harder, accomplishing job tasks while at work are challenging, faking a smile can be painful, and the thoughts swirling around in my head can take my breath away and leave me in tears at the drop of a hat. It sucks. It hurts. It ends.

I know SAD won't drift too far from me this winter but a huge reason Matthew and I decided on Texas for our next move was the year long warm weather and sunshine. To me sunshine isn't so useful if you can't be outside and enjoy it, or open your window to let the warm air in. Maybe next year SAD will hit me less like a ton of bricks and more like a pile of leaves! My ultimate goal is to be prepared when seasons change and living in South Dakota I just couldn't do that. I hope living here with less drastic changes will assist me with preparing. I don't see myself ever living without anxiety right around the corner so the better I am prepared to run into it, the easier it is for me to cope.

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