I Forgot I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
I’ve had the hardest time concentrating the last few days and weeks.
My energy is low.
I feel like I’m losing interest in activities I usually love.
Sleeping and eating are far too easy one day, then surprisingly difficult the next.

At first, I thought I was doing too much. Trying too hard to get new clients. Working too many hours. Writing too much. Then, in the last couple of days, it hit me.

I’m experiencing the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I forget this nearly every year. It wasn’t until a coworker mentioned his struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, that I thought about it. A quick Google search reminded me that I am experiencing all the symptoms.

Before you judge me for using Google to diagnose myself, I have been to a therapist for this. The research was just to confirm what I had suspected was going on, and remind myself of the condition. If you need help, see a therapist.

It’s comforting to have an explanation for the way I’ve been feeling. Especially knowing that I’m not as close to the edge of burnout as I thought. I knew it wasn’t burnout when I still felt low after my big wins in self-care this week.

I started going into the office at 9 am instead of 7:30 am.
After dusting off the N64, I played Star Fox 64 for an hour and a half the other night.
And this morning I let myself sleep in, forgoing my normal routine.

I have to admit to myself that no matter what I do it may take time to get out of this rut. I can’t force myself to get better. That might sound discouraging, and sometimes it is.

But the reason I have to keep this truth at the forefront of my mind is critical to my getting through it.

The way that I feel right now is not my fault.

I did nothing wrong to deserve the lethargy and distractedness and everything else that comes with SAD.

If you’re reading this and feeling the same way, please know that it’s not your fault either.

Opening up to the reasons we feel down, regardless of whether they are our own doing or not, is essential to dealing with the feelings.

It’s okay to be sad.

It’s okay to feel lazy, distracted, or agitated.

Your mental illness is not your fault.

There are multiple ways to treat depression, in whatever form it may come. Some days, however, we can barely manage to make it out of bed. It feels like we’ll never get through the rut.

A lesson I learned in the last few years is always my first line of defense in times like this.

I give myself permission to feel down. I admit that the pain is real, and agree that it’s not my fault.

I stop fighting the depression so hard and let it run its course.

To me, that’s always the first step to getting over any mental illness — to admit that it exists. That can be hard to do without succumbing to the lie that it will last forever, but this next step is vital.

It’s in admitting honestly the way that we feel that lets us remember that the way we feel is not permanent.

Which is exactly how we can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.