It’s been about 4 weeks now since the clocks were changed for daylight savings. It’s dark in the morning when I leave my house for work and it’s dark in the evening when I leave work to go home. For a person with depression, knowing that this is just the start of the dark months, is a truly daunting prospect.
I’ve lived a great many Canadian winters. Having just turned 50, I’m facing my 50th winter. As a person with chronic depression, I’ve also been diagnosed with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). It’s all part of the same chronic disorder, if you ask me. Chronic depression is merely heightened during the dark months. I’m also perimenopausal so I’m at an even greater risk of letting the darkness swallow me up. I must be cautious, and very aware of my symptoms. Depression symptoms can come on very quickly. I’ll be doing fine (well, “fine” for me) and then BAM, ignored symptoms will knock me off my feet.
So, I have a dark months checklist:
- Take vitamin D.
- Use my SAD lamp (see video below).
- Avoid oversleeping.
- Try (try) to get some exercise.
- Practice gratitude at least once a day.
- Go easy on myself.
It’s a short list. But so important. Especially that last one.
My husband laughed at me today because when I come downstairs in the morning, I open all the window blinds. He prefers to keep them shut. His reasoning – it’s so grey and ugly outside, why would I want to see that? My response? Simple. I need to see the daylight.