I have a love-hate relationship with autumn. Here in the high desert, autumn is often the most beautiful time of year, and it can be hot until the end of October. On the other hand, snow flurries on Halloween aren’t unusual. So, I appreciate the warm days of autumn. Summer is winding down and kids are back in school (well, maybe). Harvest has been completed for the year and farmers are busy planting next year’s crops. Hopefully, the roots get a good head start before cold sets in.
My Seasonal Affective Disorder Begins in Fall
I hear people talking about how fall is their favorite time of year, but it’s incredibly bittersweet for me because it means winter is on its way. I dread winter because I have what is probably the world’s worst case of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), or at least it seems that way to me because nothing helps very much. As the days get shorter, my energy lags. By the time January rolls around, I feel like I’m walking through jello.
I’m resentful sometimes because I feel like a good chunk of my year is wasted, but I try to make the best of it. I read. I take my dog for short walks so I’m exposed to a little thin sunlight. I walk, even when its miserably cold, as long as the surfaces are free of ice and snow.
Yes, I’ve tried lights for overcoming SAD, and they help – a little. I’ve discovered that regular lights work as well as expensive full-spectrum lights, as long as they’re bright. I joke that my house can probably be seen from Mars because I keep so many lights in my office. I even have a visor-type thing that shines lights directly into my eyes. Like everything else, it helps a little and I try not to mind that I look like a raccoon.
Lights allow me to get my work done each day, but sometimes it takes me hours just to get started. I have to fight the urge to spend entire days napping or reading, but then, I’m angry at myself at the end of the day because although I’ve finished my work, there’s no time left for playing music or many other things I enjoy in my spare time.
Not surprisingly, I dread winter. I like spring because the days are getting longer and summer is coming. I adore summer when the days are bright and long and my energy is high. I really hate that I hate winter. I would love to like winter. Instead, I just try to be gentle with myself and remember that the sun will return and I’ll be out in the garden again soon.