Originally from the Midwest, you would think that the “winter blues” would be no big deal for me. However, as a child or even a teenager, I do not ever recall the dread or depression that winter now inspires. I always knew that I did not belong where I was, but that was a different story.
I was officially diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder by a therapist in the spring of 2008 after a particularly long, hard winter. Prior to that diagnosis, my husband suggested it as a possibility after conducting some online searches, and I later checked out a book from the library on the subject called Winter Blues by Dr. Norman Rosenthal, MD, who also suffers from the disorder. At that point, I was totally unfamiliar with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but the book completely opened my eyes to the disorder. I spent a good portion of my time crying while I read others’ experiences that described what had been going on with me personally. I learned about S.A.D. through the eyes of the afflicted, as well as the family members and friends who suffer right along with them.
After learning about the disorder and going to a therapist to be professionally diagnosed, I learned some methods of prevention and treatment. Knowing what was wrong with me helped to empower me. I managed to get our insurance to pay for an expensive light box in lieu of anti-depressant prescriptions. I changed my work situation and began working from home to achieve more control over my day, in turn allowing for increased self-treatment, including more natural light as available.
Regardless, the fight for me goes on, so this blog is deeply personal. Until you personally experience this condition, you cannot fully know the severity of it. I consider this a zombie syndrome, as that is how I feel throughout most of the fall, winter, and early spring– still moving, still living, still here, but a diminished version of my former self. Someday I hope to be free from this affliction permanently, but in the meantime, this is my life as a zombie.