Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dealing with Darkness

The past two or three winter seasons have really caused me to struggle with depression. I was afflicted by what I would call the winter blahs. Doctors have come up with more erudite terminology, calling my condition or attitude seasonal affective disorder. When I would wake up it was dark. When I came home from work it was dark. It seemed that by 6:00 p.m. my body would go into shutdown mode thinking it was time for bed. No matter how I tried to will myself to go about my normal activities in the evening and no matter how many cups of coffee I downed, my body always seemed to win out. I felt powerless to gain the upperhand over my own body. I found myself simply marking time, enduring the season, until the longer days of spring would finally roll around and I could emerge from my hibernation and go back to living.

This past winter has been markedly different due to a seemingly small change that I made. When I got home from work, I turned on all of the lights in whatever room I was in. I strove to flood every ounce of space with light. I wanted to drive out every shadow. My own version of light therapy helped me to turn the corner and drive away that droopy eyelid syndrome and incessant yawning and apathy that I had been suffering from. I was able to better enjoy the evenings with my daughter, time spent writing my blogs and reading books, or just puttering around doing household chores. I reasoned that this was well worth the cost in electricity that I paid.

Instead of just getting through, I have really been able to enjoy my time and make the most of it. Instead of fighting my body and its strong desire to want to sleep and battling feelings of fatigue and depression, I made a small change, and that made such a big change in my body and mind and spirit.