Tag Archives: S.A.D.

Guest Post II by “My Life as a Zombie” Dealing With S.A.D.

Introduction:

JLLopez1006 is the creator, writer, and designer of the online blog My Life as a Zombie, a blog for those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)– those who understand. Likewise, the blog is also for those that are lucky enough not to suffer from S.A.D.– those who do not understand, but seek to.  Her blog was started to increase awareness and understanding of S.A.D., as well as to be part of a support system available to those who suffer.

JLLopez1006 is self-employed as a Freelance Writer and Blogger.  After being self-diagnosed, she was professionally diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in Spring 2008, and counts it as a blessing every time that she survives another northern United States winter.

This is the second installment of  Fighting the Good Fight  jllopez Guest Post giving you tips on how to deal with S.A.D.  I trust the previous post was helpful for you as it was for me! I am very honored to have her as my guest here on my lil blog,  thank you so much jllopez! So, here goes! 


  • Supplement for lack of natural light— Even if you get natural light, you may still need to supplement with artificial light. Choose a light that simulates sunlight and is designed to treat S.A.D. A regular light will not do the trick. Use it in the morning to start your day off right, or in the late afternoon or evening to keep yourself awake and going. If you have insurance and have been professionally diagnosed with S.A.D., check with your insurance provider to see if they will cover the cost of a light box in lieu of prescription antidepressants or regular light therapy visits. I was able to do this—I just had to have my therapist write a prescription for the light, and my insurance covered the cost in full.
  • Keep shades to a minimumI am speaking about two types of shades here. First, when you get out and it is sunny, remember that you need the light to reach your eyes. Wearing shades may block the light. I choose to forgo sunglasses for the sake of treatment during the winter. Though I cannot speak on the long-term effects of doing so in regards to cataracts or damage to the eye, I do know that when you use a light box, the light must go into your eyes, so I apply the same concept with natural light. Second, when in your home or office, keep window shades, blinds, or curtains to a minimum by opening them during the day. You will get some added natural light, plus you will save money by heating up your space naturally and not having to turn on so many lights.
  • Take a vacation from S.A.D.—If you are able, it is recommended to take a vacation to somewhere that receives more natural sunlight (think south) to help break up the long winters. I have done so at the end of March for a couple of years, and it helps me to get through the time when my collective sun deficit is at its worst. One word of caution, though: Coming back to where you live may cause a dramatic “let-down.” I heard one story told of a woman who did the same thing, came back to her home in Europe, was unable to deal with her situation after a dramatic “letdown,” and she ended up committing suicide. Though this is an extreme example, I have experienced a similar effect, so please be prepared for the possibility, and do not let it take you by surprise.  If the reaction is strong, make sure to get help.
  • Get a little helpI used to just deal with the overwhelming fatigue on my own. More recently, I have learned to take supplements and use caffeine in order to help myself through this time. Bananas are supposed to be helpful in treating S.A.D., in addition to Vitamin D. You may be able to find vitamins that specialize in providing added energy. As long as they are not harmful, don’t feel shy to use things that can help you get through winter.
  • Keep yourself busyThough I know some people choose to reduce their workload during winter, I have found that getting involved with activities that I like helps to keep my mind off of the long winter days.  In particular, working from home in a creative field has allowed me to stay productive in a therapeutic way.  Try to find activities, whether work-related or leisure, that help to pass the time.  The key is to stay busy, but do not overload yourself or force yourself to do things that will only exacerbate your S.A.D.  Stress can be a contributing factor to causing a breakdown due to S.A.D., so you should avoid it as much as possible.  In addition, staying busy with activities that you enjoy can help to keep your brain sharp as you fight the mental fog that S.A.D. often brings.

The mentioned methods are just some of the ones that I personally use to survive winter as someone who is fairly severely affected by S.A.D.

Please note that I am not a medical professional, and it is always recommended that you consult a doctor or therapist prior to attempting any form of self-treatment.

Likewise, what works for me may differ from what works for you, so it is a good idea to figure out what helps you to make it through the day.

Learning what works for me has helped me to get back to being a fairly normal and functional person in spite of the winter season.  Before I was diagnosed, I was a mess, barely able to get by in life. Now that I know what I am dealing with, I am able to handle it more effectively.  When it comes to surviving Seasonal Affective Disorder, knowledge is truly power.

Don’t forget to visit  My Life as a Zombie  and give some comment-luv to my special guest!! Thank you!

Photo credit 1

Photo credit 2

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Guest Post I by “My Life as a Zombie” Dealing With S.A.D.

Introduction:

JLLopez1006 is the creator, writer, and designer of the online blog My Life as a Zombie, a blog for those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)– those who understand. Likewise, the blog is also for those that are lucky enough not to suffer from S.A.D.– those who do not understand, but seek to.  Her blog was started to increase awareness and understanding of S.A.D., as well as to be part of a support system available to those who suffer.

JLLopez1006 is self-employed as a Freelance Writer and Blogger.  After being self-diagnosed, she was professionally diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in Spring 2008, and counts it as a blessing every time that she survives another northern United States winter.

Today and in a second guest post next week you are getting advise from a “pro”!  Thank you so much jllopez1006 for your contribution on this topic!! I am sure it provides you with useful tips on how to deal with the S.A.D. elements in your life or,  at the least,  understand someone else who does.

Fighting the Good Fight

Seasonal Affective Disorder is one of those things in life that you can simply do without. Until you have it, you don’t get it; and once you have it, you sure wish that you didn’t.

S.A.D. affects you mentally, emotionally, and physically, temporarily numbing who you are as a person, dumbing down your senses, and turning you into a shadow of your former self. That is why I named my new S.A.D. blog “My Life as a Zombie,” because very often, in my opinion, “being affected is more like being infected.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder can disenfranchise you from others during this difficult time of year, can cause your brain to work at a reduced level, and make even normal physical functionality tough to handle. You may find yourself retreating away from others and activity; and likewise, others may feel the need to distance themselves from you, because they think you are a “downer,” that you are negative or pessimistic, or that you just like to be depressed.

This time of year demands that you learn your own personal rules of survival in the fight against Seasonal Affective Disorder. Here are some of mine:

  • Step into the light — Though days are short and natural light is minimal, try to take advantage of sunlight when it is available.  For me, that means getting out during the day and enjoying the sunlight as I do my errands. I also started working from home to allow myself the freedom to get out during the day rather than be stuck in an office with minimal light.
  • Get ample rest — It may seem simple, but it is vital to get enough sleep during this time. You know that you will still feel sleepy throughout the day, but sleepiness is different from sheer exhaustion because you have been succumbing to late nights and early mornings. Make sleep a priority, even if you have to take naps to get it all in.
  • Eat, drink, and be merry — Though you do not want to overdo it, make sure to get enough to eat and drink. Hunger or dehydration can cause you to experience fatigue, and considering how prone to feeling tired that you are already, you don’t want to make it any worse.
  • Do what cheers you up — As you struggle through the long winter, allow yourself to experience comfort and joy in ways that you can. For me, I like to read, eat out, go online, and watch movies. Despite what others may think or doctors would recommend, I do not choose “feel good” movies or books. Rather, many of them are actually very emotional and possibly depressing. But since I feel less during the winter, it actually helps me to feel again, so for me, it is a positive thing. Since I abhor cold weather and snow, I avoid being outside as much as possible, which, in turn, shelters my psyche.  Do what makes you personally feel more alive.
  • Be social on your own terms — For those suffering with S.A.D., it can be hard to keep up with the social requirements that may be expected of you. Rather than cut yourself off from the world for a few months, learn to relate to others in ways that you are comfortable with. I find social networking to be even more vital during the winter, as it is a great way to stay involved with others in spite of my own personal funk.  Same goes with email—since I like to write anyways, I am more likely to converse with people if I do not have to speak to them in person or on the phone. This is also helpful because I can do it when I want and when I have time—if I get overwhelmed, it is easy to leave it for later.

Look for the second installment here next week!  In the mean time don’t forget to visit My Life as a Zombie and leave some comment-luv for my special guest! Thank you!

Photo credit

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Are You Affected or S.A.D.?

Hang on!

Photo credit

Habits.  Routine.  Having a mode of operation.

Those things come in so handy when you are swinging around on the mood swing!

Since a couple of months I have been able to implement some basic habits.  They are pretty simple really.  Like making my bed everyday.  Having breakfast every morning.  Hanging up my coat,  my purse,  my scarf,  each in its own place when I come in.  Putting my shoes away.  Having my laundry organised.  Going to bed and getting up about the same time every day.

Talking about organisation – I finally ‘organised’ the shelves and desks in my back room,  tidied up my bedroom,  created order in my kitchen.  And you know what?  It makes such a difference to my daily life!

The kitchen happened first,  because a new kitchen cabinet was placed where one obviously had been before.  Now all my stuff disappeared from my window sill and counter top and it suddenly looked so neat and tidy!  I gave my window sill a new look and every time I passed my kitchen I stood still and simply enjoyed the view…

The rest is history,  as they say.  Soon the other parts of my house followed.  I started to feel at home for realzzzzz!  An awesome experience 🙂

After arranging everything I somehow managed to even put some order in my daily habits.  I am determined to keep my kitchen uncluttered.  To stay on top of my laundry and not ‘forget’ to put it away (i.e. dump it in my bedroom and ‘fishing’ in the huge heap for clean stuff).

I honestly don’t know why I was able to get on top of things this time.  I have tried before,  real hard,  to no avail.  But what matters most is,  it is happening!

Behind me is a period of doing really well.  It took me by surprise.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Nearly got used to what I started to think of as my new ‘normal’.  That is when SAD hit me.

SAD,  or Seasonal Affective Disorder,  is a type of depression that comes with Fall.  As the leaves are falling, so am I 😦
I actually thought I was going to miss out on it this year.  I am taking my vitamin D (since I am officially low on D),  was energetic,  my social life was on the up.  It couldn’t have been better.

Then one day I woke up in a funk.  For no reason whatsoever.  Really.  No rhyme or reason.  The next day it was a little worse.  The next day,  still worse.  Then it started to settle.

Sluggishness and tiredness followed.  I am fighting to go to bed at a reasonable time.  I am struggling to get up in time for my activities.  I need more time for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. which is totally annoying and irritating.  My proper eating habits that have served me well (I lost weight,  a story for another post if I don’t gain it back) are flying out of the window.  I want to eat junk food and snacks.  I don’t feel sociable.  I sit behind the laptop doing mindless games,  wasting time I should spend on my study and some other projects.  This irritates me to no end!

Keep hanging on!!!

Photo credit

BUT.  I am hanging on to my habits.  I am still making my bed,  doing my dishes,  doing my laundry,  keeping order in my house.  I try to cook every day and eat regularly.  Will have breakfast.  I am going to work,  I do my activities.  I will celebrate St. Nicholas with good friends on Sunday and they will be my guests.  So I am sociable and I am determined to enjoy it as much as possible.

I don’t know when this episode will pass.  The only thing I know for sure is that it WILL pass.  That’s the nature of my illness.  Till then,  I have to hang on with all my might.  Even if I am hanging by nails,  I will hang on!

What do you do to get yourself through such times?
Help me by answering in the comments.

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized