(By Lois Robinson)
The statements that I am hearing a lot of these days are:
“Man, I am feeling so tired, down, and don’t want to do anything.”
“I’m feeling so yucky and overweight!”
“I just want to be left alone. I’m so tired of people and their crap!”
“All I want to do is eat.”
“I could sleep for two days if I was allowed!”
“Ugh, I’m so tired of the days being so short, and the cold is annoying!”
“I want to live someplace warm”
And the list goes on and on...
Well, we could say that the above statements are a case of not be grateful for living another day or we could say just pray about it or throw a christian-y cliche out there and insult the person. We could, and many times do, all of the above.
The above statements may be CLUES to a deeper issue going on, one that cannot be wiped away with a quick cliche that doesn’t help but serves to offend. Some may call it a chronic case of the Blues, but the truth is, this time of year is a classic time for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a real condition and actually has a name! In a recent Google search, the following list popped up, and I have copied and pasted it below. Why try to reinvent the wheel and put my little spin on it. Take a look.
People with SAD have many of the normal warning signs of depression, including:
Increased desire to be alone.
Greater need for sleep.
I would encourage you to take an assessment of your own behaviors, especially after the holidays. That is when many people tend to dip down in their mood, especially during the winter months. In the counseling room, I get a lot of calls from people that begin experiencing increased anxiety, depression and even panic disorder during this time. That is not including the added stressor of the change of seasons to shorter days and longer nights. Isolation, increased sleep, increased eating and the tiredness that more sleep just doesn’t fix! All classic symptoms of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or the Blues that won’t go away.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with this, I would encourage you to reach out to someone you trust, maybe even call a mental health professional, a counselor that can help you sort through what you are experiencing. Usually knowing it actually has a name and is a real condition is of some comfort. Don’t stop there though. Come out of isolation and begin taking action steps that are the opposite of the downward spiral.
For me, I will move toward people that love me and are safe. I know they love Jesus more than me so will tell me the truth for my own benefit and to see me grow. I also process my thoughts and feelings. The other thing I have just started doing is getting more active by joining the local YMCA. I have people pray for me, recognizing that Jesus knows (He really knows me and my struggles) even when I get the Blues! The last thing I will have you check out is this powerful verse:
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16, NIV)
These kinds of verses are found in the Bible, around the center of the book if you are looking it up.
Though it can be very hard to actually open my mouth and verbally say or sing the above verse, it is where my ability comes from to crawl out of the dark hole. It tends to happen to most of us; it is all in how you respond.
Be blessed friends!