I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It was particularly bad when I had to leave for work before daylight, came home after dark and worked in a windowless office.
I didn’t know why I went from someone whose cup was always “half full” to someone who was a pessimist.
The symptoms of light deprivation are losing interest in activities you enjoy, low energy, problems sleeping, feeling sluggish and agitated, and difficulty concentrating. Weight gain and carb cravings are also symptoms.
My doctor told me I was extremely low in vitamin D and to take huge doses of it until I came into a more normal level.
I try to take more vitamin D in the winter months than normal, and I try to do things to remind myself these dark days are temporary.
S.A.D. has reared its ugly head again during the past two trying years, even though I no longer leave for work and have the advantage of sunlight throughout the day. Illness and a troubled world have complicated things at a time I thought I would be getting back to more positive experiences and enjoying life more.
It occurred to me that ancient people possibly suffered from light deprivation too. In their superstitious minds they thought bringing in greenery, building huge bonfires, and giving sacrifices to their gods (sometimes even human sacrifice) to appease them shortened the winter months and hastened the return of warmth and fertility.
I do a few things to help myself through these months:
1. Thank God.
I thank God often. Anytime something strikes me as a blessing, I pause and give God thanks.
2. Read the Bible.
I read in the Bible daily. No matter what I read, I am inspired and reminded of the truth we have so readily available. Many Christians in times past and even today in some countries, are deprived of easy access to the Holy Bible.
3. Remember the little things.
I think on the little things that bring me joy. My family. My art. My writing. Even my little dog who is very affectionate!
4. Take lots of photos.
I take pictures all throughout the spring, summer and fall and one of the ways I look forward to springtime is by going through these pictures on the gloomy days and reliving the beauty of creation. I often do sketches of the butterflies and bird shots that I have taken. I tell myself I would not be in awe of our Creator's capacity for beauty each spring if I did not have the winter as contrast.
5. Stay organized.
I have found that keeping an orderly environment helps. No matter how I feel, I force myself to keep the house tidy and the laundry done because clutter adds chaos to my mind.
6. Make to-do lists.
I make weekly lists of the things I hope to accomplish that week. I don’t adhere to them strictly, but they do help with motivation.
We seem to be entering dark days in the history of mankind. We need to cling to the promises of the one true God and know that this too will pass. God has promised He will usher in a time of peace and prosperity that mankind has never experienced, with His Son in charge of the government of the earth.
These dark days are also temporary. Every man will someday have his own little piece of property with his vine and his fig tree and despotic governments will be punished until they decide the way of God is best.
The following are two passages that I also find encouraging:
"And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift a sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war.
Instead, each of them will sit under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid,
Because the mouth of the LORD of armies has spoken."
(Micah 4:3, New American Standard Version)
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace"