I don’t often talk about this part of my life, in fact rarely if ever. The simple truth is, for me some days are just sad. Seasonal Affective Disorder is the clinical term, but I just call them sad days. – If your not familiar with it, it is in very simple terms a form of depression that surfaces in some people, from lack of sunlight, typically in the Winter months. – I tend to be in the camp of thinking that people now a days are way to quick to give everything a “label”, which is partly why I don’t like talking about it. Many, many people struggle with the Winter blues and I dare say it’s very similar, but SAD has some more physical symptoms that can leave you feeling flu like.
The positive side of having a high functioning form of this, is that I am very good at compartmentalizing it. My husband once joked about how the inside of my brain would just be like rows upon rows of open filing cabinets. Everything has it’s place, but it’s so acceccable that things come out in a seemingly random fashion. The downside is, i hide it so well that it becomes burdensome. Its like the elephant in the room that I don’t want to acknowledge. Unlike others who struggle very deeply with SAD, mine is now mild, and I have become good at recognising the feelings early enough to avoid triggering things through the day. I will get dressed, do my hair, eat a proper meal and put on chipper dance music to help me along. On the outside I really try to put on a happy face, because I know how blessed I am, and forcing myself to find the beauty in the mundane can certainly help.
I’m a mom to three little people, who watch everything I do and depend on me for their own emotional balance. I’m a wife, and my husband counts on me to laugh at his quirky jokes and appreciate his flirtiness when I’m making coffee. I’m needed, and for me that really motivates me to overcome when I really want to give in.
I have struggled with SAD and depression as long as I can remember. In elementary school I was taking personal health days, before that was even a thing. Growing up I was very blessed to have a father who understood exactly what was going on. Although we never formally talked about it, he just seemed to understand – which I would later learn was because he struggled too. I use to call home from school, maybe once a month and ask for him to pick me up because I wasn’t feeling well; and he would come, in his work truck, grab my hand as we started driving as say “are you actually sick, or do you just need a day to yourself?” to me this meant everything! I never felt like I had to hide what I was feeling or lie to him, it made me feel so understood and supported, and I attribute it to my strength today.
This morning after being home for about 20 minutes my husband asked for the third time if everything was okay; and I said honestly babe, I’m okay, everything is fine. The frustrating thing is, I really am fine. I’m okay, and nothing is wrong… It’s just a sad day, and that’s my only explanation. I get dressed, tidy the house, I sing and smile but everything has a blue hue to it. I often get really cold, like the cold in your bones that you just can’t warm up, achy muscles, brain fog, sleepiness, and a general melancholy, on these days. Then just like that, the sun shines, the vale lifts and I feel like I have more energy than I could possible use.
For people who don’t experience this it can be really hard to understand! Just be happy, don’t dwell on negative things, or my favorite, it’s not even a problem some Dr. Just decided to put a name on it… yeah. If it where only that simple.
I am at a very healthy place where I haven’t needed medication to mange my symptoms for many years now, and I am very thankful for that. For those mamas out there though that are on medications, or are struggling on days like today or for months on end; You are not alone!
I know how isolating it can feel when you feel like nobody understands. Can I just let you in on a secret? Parenting is freaking hard! There is no manual, or pdf that downloads to your brain to tell you what to do. Sure there are thousands and thousands of books, but do you seriously have time to read through them and sift through all the conflicting schools of thought. Not likely. If your also the type of highly sensitive person, who will overanalyze every single decision and conversation from the last year, and a year into the future, it just makes it that much harder. See I’m one of those people too. For example, this post, I will probably read 20 times before I post, and 20 times after. I will see who’s seen it, wonder what they thought, wonder if they think less of me, wonder if they will look at me differently, or if I offended them in some way. It’s just the way I’m wired, and if that’s you and you can relate, then please take comfort in knowing you are not crazy, I get it!
This yucky twisted thing, is hard enough on it’s own; Thinking back to the days I would lay paralyzed on the floor from a panic attack 3 hours before going to work, or laying awake the whole night counting down the hours until I had to go back – gosh it’s awful, and once you have kids it only gets harder. I am so thankful for support and prayer. I have come a long long way from those laying on the floor days, and by God’s grace the worst days for me usually only involve a few pointless tears in the shower.
So there it is layed bare, something about me that most people would never know.
My takeaway is this:
If this is you, if you have sad days. I get it. You are not alone. I know how precious your sweet babies are, and I know the guilt you feel for having these days. I know your exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling like you could never be good enough. I know you feel like you have no right to complain, no right to be tired, no right to be sad, because outwordly there is no reason. But, I also know inside you are battling a storm that you feel like other people can’t understand, you feel crazy and hormonal, and like you are broken. But you are not broken. You are not damaged. Your journey is different, your path has a few more hills and valleys. But mama, you are strong. You are passionate, and you love fiercely and with all your heart, and that is not a fault. That is beautiful. You are beautiful. And the fog will lift ❤
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).