There is a time for everything.
“a time to be sick and a time to heal”
I started this year sunken with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes known as “winter depression’. “It’s a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Its symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter.”
Quick facts: I experienced my first full-fledged winter for the first time earlier this year. So once the symptoms started creeping in, I had no idea how to handle myself.
On most mornings, just after I celebrated my 32nd birthday, I remember waking up feeling confused & extremely lethargic. My bones started to hurt all over—I was completely drained. This time around, it wasn’t bodily pain that troubled me, it was my mind.
It felt like my whole being was getting sucked into a dark vortex.
I just had the best Christmas, so I couldn’t understand my new frame of mind.
I woke up every morning wishing I had died in my sleep.
I will turn off my Mobile Data so no one tries to contact me.
People started to irritate me!
This’ new mind’ felt strange; because all the while I was physically sick I never felt the dark cloud that was hovering around me. It was so confusing.
Because I couldn’t comprehend what was going on, I started to avoid most people. I left my phone on (mobile data off) & stayed in contact with very few family/friends. Then, as an escape therapy, I used my iPad to tweet/Instagram/ general use of social media.
The moment I opened my eyes in the mornings, I hurriedly played my audio bible— mostly The book of Psalms or worship music, as that was my lifeline—I had hope the ritual will evoke The Holy Spirits presence. I desperately needed God to spring me back to life.
This time praise/prayers/worship didn’t help me! That’s when I started to give up because nothing about life made sense. I was tired of existing!
Once I tasted a stint of life in the early hours of the day, I will get so furious with God, asking why I was alive— It was a constant wrestle. I felt consumed.
I craved death!
The bravest thing I did was getting out of bed to use the toilet/put some food in my belly. I had to compulsorily eat because I was on immunosuppressants medication. I will rush a fruit that I can easily chew, swallow my pills and rush back to bed.
My eldest sister started to notice that I was living outside my essence. She brought my attention to the knowledge that I showed signs of depression & needed help. We immediately contacted my General Medical Practitioner, and after a general consultation, my Doctor pointed low levels of light, plus the disruption of my body clock as the major trigger. This knowledge eventually pulled me out of misery. It propelled me to take pragmatic steps to heal my body, followed by my mind.
The first step I took: was an overdose of sunshine/ staying in a light-filled-room. This was my No 1 therapy!
Then I gradually started exercising daily + eating a high amount of dark-leafy greens & fruits. (especially those rich in calcium and vitamin D)
Another helpful step I took: I guarded my space/energy—placing myself in a circle filled of people that nourished me—they filled my soul with love, peace & joy.
Mental Illness can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, income, social status, geography, religion/spirituality, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, cultural identity, background. It’s a medical condition: just like heart diseases, diabetes/cancer.
We should not be ashamed to talk about it.
Please seek help if you notice a significant change in your thoughts, emotions and/or behaviour.
Friends/family, please be alert & look out for your loved ones. Watch out for signs of withdrawal, anxiousness, hopelessness and general irritability, Be kind!
Having the slightest knowledge of what’s troubling the mind/body is a huge step to recovery.
This awareness will aid your healing & hopefully raise a community of helpers to support you.
Another point to take to remain balanced is; take note of your triggers, then realign yourself to centre.
Photo Credit: @hellomrcolour on Instagram
Please note: not every feeling of intense sadness or hopelessness is a “Depressive Disorder.” But if you are feeling out of place, (experiencing intense emotions of anxiety, loss of interest/pleasure, negativity & poor concentration for an extended period of time, contact your nearest Medical Centre and seek professional counsel. Do not self diagnose yourself.