Summer is winding down. Despite the ponderosa, we’ve had some great fun and enjoyed living in a way that felt like it might never happen again. But that means Moody Emo Spooky Libra Sweater Weather Season is right around the corner!
While I love spooky season, it also signals the start of my annual decline into a depressive episode that lasts until somewhere near the spring equinox. Some people call it seasonal affective disorder (SAD); I call it hell. Though it is torturous to live like a zombie for 6 months a year, I’ve found ways to make my ride down the river Styx a lot more comfortable.
For example, our Fall releases are usually our best of the year because it matters more than any other time of the year. These creations are more than just new stuff to sell, they're a reason for us to take care of ourselves, remain sensual, creative, continue our rituals, and honestly stay alive.
But that’s just one part of this 1100-word article on beating seasonal affective disorder aka SAD aka Seasonal Depression aka the Fall fall. Since I personally deal with this shit, I’ve learned a ton to make this crappy season feel a lot better and I’m as excited as I can be to share them with you all!
Change your meds
"Treat yourself like a child or wild animal in a zoo. Plan activities or even just new stimulation for yourself. "
The change in seasons causes a change in brain chemistry. Even if your meds had been working previously, now might be the perfect time to increase your dose, add a helper or take a break. If you’re not on meds, it might be a good idea to think about. Talk to your doctor and see if there’s something you can try.
8 years ago, around my birthday, I started taking anti-depressants for the first time - Wellbutrin 100mg daily. A couple years later, I asked for a switch to something different and she added Zoloft 50mg daily. Which helped me regain my sense of optimism, creativity, and imagination. It’s been a long time; I’m glad to have them back.
Invest in a 5500k or higher lightbulb
Light therapy has been a great treatment for SAD and major depression for people closer to the poles for a long time. Light boxes are an easy but kind of expensive option – cheap ones start at $50. Whereas you could install an outlet timer and fluorescent bulb over your head to wake you up with a burst of “sunlight” every morning for about $25. You could also spend less than $10 and buy a specialty CFL (compact fluorescent) or a LED equivalent bulb that’ll fit in any standard outlet.
Keep busy, be useful
Because I like projects and fall on the frugal side, I prefer the DIY options for the tip above. Even if you have the cash for a light box, it’s always a great idea to aid your sense of accomplishment with a series of short projects or a long-term hobby. Although I have found some types of tasks, projects and hobbies work better than others.
For my depression, getting a useful hobby with measurable results has been a life and mind saver. Having something to care for, watching something grow, getting better at something, these things keep me connected to the world and people around me.
Give yourself a break
My depression feels like nothing, and everything is happening at once. The result is an exhausting mixture of behavior that is at times frantic, tense or eerily still – sometimes all at once. A bitch gets tired from time to time and when that happens, I give myself the time to rest up, even if that means sleeping for 24 hours straight.
Even under ideal brain conditions, rest is necessary. Autumnal depression or SAD has a way of zapping our energy like nothing else. It’s important to know when it’s time to rest. You’re not a failure for needing a nap or some solo Netflix and chill time.
Now, I’m not a doctor or an expert on this. So, this is just some personal experience, not advice.
For me, the morning is a crucial time. If I can find a way to just start my mind right when I get out of bed, I can usually rev up to a functional level of energy; if not, I’m fucked. Previously, I fixed that with some not so legally acquired Adderall, but it raised my blood pressure too high. Now I start my day with a cup of coffee or two.
There’s something in the getting up and doing a useful thing plus ingestion of a stimulant that really seems to help me. I also like smoking cigarettes for the same reason. If you don’t like coffee but do like cannabis and tobacco, a spliff with a tobacco and a strong, energizing sativa might be a great option.
Novelty & Enrichment
Treat yourself like a child or wild animal in a zoo. Plan activities or even just new stimulation for yourself. Change up what shows you're watching, what you're wearing, the fragrances of butters you're wearing, the bath bombs you're using, the color of the light in your room, reorganize your space, change what you're eating, and who you’re fucking.
"It’s important to know when it’s time to rest. You’re not a failure for needing a nap or some solo Netflix and chill time."
Maybe also trying some new things, even something you might think of as traditional and boring. Something like playing cards, board games, drawing, painting, taking a dance class, bingo, or working out.
Look I understand that you already know this is a fact and if you want it to work out, you'd be working out already. So, this is going to be a very short section. But just know that exercise will make you feel better, moving on.
Stay away from downers
Whether it’s joy sucking people or intoxicants, it’s important to minimize the things that are zapping your energy and spirit. If you’re a weed smoker, stay away from indicas as they will make you sleepy. If you’re on SSRIs ask your doctor if adding a stimulant to your meds might help. If you’ve got a case of the fake people, say goodbye, goodbye to all the fake people your life.
Being selfish gets a bad rap. Usually, though, selfishness is actually healthy. We often overexert ourselves trying to be there for everyone. We need to spend more time being there for ourselves. Selflessness and sacrifice are valuable features in martyr, but martyrs die and you’re trying to live. Be a little selfish, sacrifice less of your soul and you’ll have a greater ability to lift yourself, which, funny enough, will still help to lift others.