Monday, March 14, 2011

Here goes...

day 5 - a time you thought about ending your own life.

I'm pretty sure I have S.A.D.

I say S.A.D rather than depression because it definitely follows a seasonal pattern, and has for years. If I notice a change when spring (finally) gets here, I will be seeking professional help. In the past, I always thought I was just depressed, never realizing the link between the arrival of warmer weather and the disappearance of symptoms until recently.

In hindsight, this has been going on since my first winter in Ottawa. Prior to that, I was swimming competitively all winter, and since one of the ways to treat S.A.D is regular physical ex cerise, it's quite possible I was 'treating' it without realizing I even had it. When I moved to Ottawa, I stopped being active, and the symptoms were definitely present, only to resolve themselves come spring. I didn't know about S.A.D at the time, plus there were so many external factors going on I attributed my feelings to those factors, and failed to make the connection. It's only been in the last couple of years I've known about S.A.D as a possibility, and then it took a while until I realized a link - and, even though my life is amazing and wonderfully privileged now, the symptoms haven't gone away.

Symptoms of S.A.D.
change in appetite, in particular a craving for sweet or starchy foods
weight gain
decreased energy
tendency to oversleep
difficulty concentrating
avoidance of social situations
feelings of anxiety and despair

I've bolded all the ones I've noticed I experience over the winter months. Which is all of them. I think it's time to get some help?

I decided this would be my 'test' winter, since S.A.D is usually diagnosed when "symptoms that recur for at least 2 consecutive winters, without any other explanation for the changes in mood and behaviour". This is my 2nd winter that there has been no other explanation, and I'm just tired of fucking up my life every November to April. Everything is affected: I have wonky sleep patterns. I don't go to school. I don't want to step outside my house, and I can go days without doing so. I can sleep up to 12 to 16 hours a day. For the eating, I've definitely noticed - even with surgery, and trust me, I went from July to December without giving a second thought to starchy/sweet foods - that I've started craving them. Hardcore. I have yet to see if these cravings will disappear in the spring, but I'm guessing they will.

And then I'm just anxious, irritable, and just...I feel overwhelming sadness all the time.

I just wanted to point out that I've never actually wanted to die. I've wanted to stop being so sad. I've wanted to stop thinking about it. I've wanted to literally take off the top of my head and pluck out the pieces of the dark cloud that my brain is infected with. I wanted it to just. fucking. stop.

My attempts haven't really been attempts at all, really, if I'm looking at it honestly. A few incidents of taking pills, drug and alcohol abuse, a cutting episode when I was (much) younger. I know suicide isn't an option, especially now.

Like I said, I don't actually want to die. I just want the dark cloud in my head to go away.

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