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From SADness to light

No one talks about SAD. No one writes about SAD. And perhaps there is a good reason for that. It may seem odd for me to be writing about this now, just as spring has so beautifully burst into the world. But to write about it when it is current, for someone with the condition, is hard. To find the energy or the purpose is difficult in itself, and to write about it, while you are in it, can become a very dark conversation. That doesn’t make for a cheery blog. It can quickly and easily turn into a drudgery of ‘poor me’ and no one wants to read that.

But NOW… out here, on the other side, coming out of the darkness is SUCH AN AMAZING RUSH, it makes me want to sing my little heart out.

The clocks change, the days stay lighter for longer. a sudden burst of bright light, and POW! blue sky in your eyes, squinting against the sun, green nature popping, tea shirts out, bright, sun-shining weather … and BOOM, I’m powered up, I’m ready for action, ready for anything. Open to all experiences, ready to take life by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. But no wait; that’s a poor analogy. Its more like, take life, throw a saddle on her and ride her into town, standing up on her back and waving a big flag and playing ‘you make me feel so young’ on a kazoo.

And that’s my payoff for the long dark dreary days of winter.

Those of you who have never had or understood SAD will never get that high.

And while I’m here, on the subject of lack of understanding, let me just take this opportunity to give a tip to the caring, compassionate onlookers; when someone tells you they have SAD, and you say “yeah, I get a bit fed up in the winter” it’s a bit like telling a totally blind person “yeah, I get a bit of eye strain, and I think I might need glasses”. Those of you who have never had SAD will have no concept of the depth of despair, depression, and physical debilitation in brings.

SAD literally kills. Take it seriously.

…. But then comes the spring, and it feels so gloriously releasing, it makes you want to dance down the street. And that is where I am today as I write. After 6 months of being bed bound until at least 10am every day, today I was awake at dawn. Not frustrated from lack of sleep or disgruntled because I had to get up. No, I was awake and excited with a head buzzing with creative ideas, busting to get out of bed and write. Full of energy and creative juices. And I love it.

In the last few days, I have been building, planting, planning, designing, writing, and of course seeing clients!

And yet I know I must be cautious. When I was young and inexperienced, I would have been totally convinced that it was now over – but it is probably not over just yet! After dealing with this stuff for over 40 winters, I have learned a few things. I have had to work it out for myself because, as I said earlier, no one talks about SAD. I have learned to embrace the cycle of SAD. Plan for it and stop trying to fight it. (I know that’s easy for me to say, but when you have a 9 till 5 its difficult - just do your best).

On that journey, I have utilised self-hypnosis, and meditation to a great degree. I have learned one or two other psychological and spiritual practices that have helped me through, as well as an extensive use of light therapy, and with each year I have learned to cope with the SADness a little better.

This past winter, was the first in a long time that I haven’t been able to travel abroad, to grab a week or so of winter sunshine. It makes a huge difference (for us folks in the colder areas of the world) and I was dreading the effect of missing it, but its actually turned out OK.

Many years ago, I created for myself a useful acronym to remind me to do these things each day.

One of The MOST IMPORTANT things I have learned, is that days like this come along and trick you into thinking its all gone for another year. The truth is all it takes is another few days of dark, cloudy miserable weather, and you can be right back there – so enjoy this part of the cycle, REVEL IN THE BUZZ of it all, but be ready.

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