Monday, December 15, 2008
Years ago, an astute psychologist noticed a trend: I would call him around the end of October/early November because I was feeling very depressed, then would end our sessions around April because I was feeling fine again. After a few years of this, he decided that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a mood disorder where people who feel fine in the spring/summer experience depression in the fall/winter. It is suspected that light, or lack of light, is the culprit. As a result, I now use a Light Box about this time of year (see picture) to compensate for the lack of light outside. Light therapy helps a little, but I'm still struggling right now.
Yes, this is real. I recommend that you visit the Mayo Clinic's web site on the subject if you think I'm nuts.
In addition, the majority of Multiple Sclerosis patients develop depression. At a recent lecture, one doctor reported that it is believed to be caused by the physical changes happening in our brains, in addition to the situational stress of having a chronic illness. So add that to my SAD and this is NOT the "most wonderful time of the year." I am feeling low and miserable and depressed, but am constantly bombarded with people telling me to "be of good cheer." To which I silently mutter, "bite me!"
One problem I experience with this chronic illness is that I get fatigued from too much stimulation. So being around lots of people who are talking and laughing is difficult for me. I get exhausted when I'm in a room with more than 3-4 people. I get exhausted when exposed to a lot of noise. I'm exhausted after shopping or after driving long distances. Yet with the holidays, I have to shop, go visiting, drive in heavy traffic, and be jolly and happy and joyful. To which I silently mutter, "bite me!"
It is unfortunate that at this time of year when I am physically down, I am expected to be "up" and happy. I need to move to Australia in the winter so that I can actually enjoy the Christmas season. It's summertime there. Sun. Sun. Sun. Ho! Ho! Ho!
at 8:33:00 PM