Goodbye, Summertime.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

1. recurrent winter depression characterized by oversleeping, overeating, and irritability, and relieved by the arrival of spring or by light therapy.
Abbreviation: SAD.

Or if you prefer, from the Mayo Clinic definition:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.

As if dealing with regular old depression wasn’t enough, now we have a seasonal version. It is the mental health equivalent of pumpkin spice everything. With the end of daylight saving time, we now have the opportunity to venture down the rabbit hole of deep, dark evenings, lack of motivation and the beginning of terrible eating habits that will surely contribute to the fall of summer health initiatives and sun bathed recreational activities. Sunset runs are now dark and frosty torture events. Paranoia over sinus pressure and the chance of catching a cold become overwhelmingly annoying qualities of mine. I fear sundown when camping; I can’t decide what layers will be the warmest. I balk over wearing three pairs of pants and still tuck hand-warmers into every pocket. My wool hat is my best friend.

I will see my breathe and shed a small tear and feel a soft ache in my heart.

Good-bye, summertime. You will be missed. My already low energy levels take it down a couple of notches. My productivity wanes. The holidays come and I feel the extreme end of the spectrum on which the feelings of missing my family lie. As always, there are good days … and there are very bad ones.

Winter arrives, some things speed up, but for me — many things slow down. Many of those around me are spending time with their families, and I am gently reflecting on my life. Amidst the boxes of old photographs, books of memories, handwritten letters and old cards, I find myself. I am given a beautiful opportunity to reflect; to feel quiet. To feel peace. I have an amazing opportunity to turn inward and dust out the symbolic cobwebs in the deepest places of my soul. It is my gift to have extra time to reflect on my life and the joys within it. The challenges of this season do not need to consume me — this is a wonderful time for me to re-calibrate, to reinforce the habit of being gentle with myself, to really absorb the love and good fortune in my life and allow it to overwhelm me; to become so consumed with these positive emotions and this positive energy, that I may take this beautiful opportunity to love those around me, to be kind and gentle to others.

Winter is always a struggle for me, but this year I vow to turn it around. I will take the opportunity. I will make the most of it. It is possible.

Good-bye, summertime. Until we meet again. 

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