About Me

I'm a married knitter, crocheter, and newbie spinner living in the Maryland suburbs with my photographer- computer geek hubby, 3 cats, and 3 dogs. And yarn. A LOT of yarn. Just ask my hubby.

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This May Be TMI

Not THAT kind of TMI, just maybe a little more than you want to know about me.  So, if you are just here for the fiber, click away, and I swear to you I will not be insulted. I just need to vent a little bit about this, I’m not even sure what I’m looking for other than getting it out of my head.

I have SAD*.  I’ve had it pretty much forever.  Even before I had heard of it, back at least to junior high, you could track my grades like a graph every year.  First 9 weeks, good.  Second 9 weeks, starting to slip.  Third nine weeks, bottomed out.  Fourth nine weeks, recovering, most of the way back to where it was at the start of the year.  (I should note that in my house growing up, “bottomed out” was not worse than a C.  My parents would have killed me.)  College was the same way.  After college, it was work – it was harder and harder to get out of bed on time and make it to work.

My danger zone for the year?  Usually November – February.  Some years, though, it’s bad.  And those years, it starts in October.  Guess what this year is!

It started right around my birthday, and is probably, in combination with the trips down memory lane via videotape, what started all the introspection that led to me messaging Bob on FB.  I’ve just felt… off.  Like something is wrong, but I can’t put my finger on anything specific.  Finally, last weekend, I just broke down.  I sobbed for about 15 minutes.  Poor Kris didn’t know what to do.  He was so worried that he had done something.

I’m not sleeping for shit, and when I do sleep, I have massively fucked up dreams.  I’ve had at least two nightmares in the last two weeks, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I had one before that.  I have zero energy, no interest in doing anything productive most days.  Of course, then I have these weird almost-manic days where I feel like I can tackle anything.  I’ve lost my appetite, although I’m not too upset about that one.  Here’s hoping it does some good for the diet.  I’ve bailed on Dawn more times than not lately for our morning workouts.  Last night, I finally told her I need a break from it.  I’ve felt so guilty about not being able to stick with the commitment we made, and it’s not fair to her to keep canceling at the last minute.

Everything has me emotionally right on the edge.  I looked at the list I made of what we got done on the porch yesterday, and if I can separate myself from it logically, we actually did ok, pretty typical for a home improvement job.  But yesterday, it felt like we worked ALL day and got NOTHING done.  I almost broke down in tears more than once.  Over a fucking porch.

So, yeah.  I’m bummed that I’m missing out on Rhinebeck and SAFF this year, but I’m not sure I’d be all that fabulous in terms of company anyway.  Lord knows what kind of breakdown I’d have if all the STR was gone before I got there.  (Kidding, kidding – I have tons of the stuff.)  I’m trying to keep as much light in the house as I can during the day, and keeping busy with the show is helping.  And if I can catch one of the downward thought spirals before it gets too bad, I can sometimes logic myself out of it.  But if you see me, and I just don’t seem like my usual goofy self, I’m not upset with you, I promise.  I’m just… off.

*And for those who insist that SAD isn’t real, or that people get depressed in areas of the country that get lots of light all year long, kindly keep your mouth shut.  I KNOW what I feel, and I KNOW it is real.  And in years like this, it’s hard enough to deal with without people telling me that it doesn’t exist. It’s about as helpful as telling someone with cancer to “just snap out of it”.

48 comments to This May Be TMI

  • Actually, you might want to rethink taking a break from exercising with Dawn. Now might be when you need that exercise routine the most, as well as the social aspect of doing it with a friend. There’ve been all kinds of studies and whatnot that have shown that exercise really does help to relieve depression. It’s also good that you have the show to get you out of the house. All of the things that it’s hard to do — get out of bed, exercise, be social, eat well, etc. — are the things you most need to do to try and if not break the cycle, at least make it less bad.

    At least that’s what my counselor tells me. It does seem to help.

    *steps down from soapbox*

  • All I can do is give you big hugs. 🙁

  • Hun, I know what you are going through.

    I suffer from it too- and it’s made so much worse (for me) being in a place I detest.

    I am going to try one of those lights that AmyKnitty blogged about a few posts back – to see if it helps.

    I am so UV and warmth dependent, maybe if I crank the heat in the house, put on shorts and flippies and use the light it’ll work!

  • Not sure what to say but you know you’ve got our support in whatever you need.

    Much love-

  • Better indoor lighting (in early morning and early evening) helps.

    buy an OTT (or some no brand equivent) A full spectrum light.–the moveable desk one, or 2 or 3 full size ones.

    also buy some low voltage (and therefore, low Wattage!-but lots of lumins) halogen lights. (Ikea is a good source for these)

    There is a tendence to think of bulb as watts (a 75 watt bulb) but the real measure of a light is the lumins (candle power!) —

    3 10watt low voltage halogens give off as many lumins as a 100 watt incandecent (and use 30 watts, or about 1/3 the electricity!)

    (so the high cost (fixture/bulbs cost about $35 to 50 to start–is made up in the savings (cost of use)

    and halogens, like Ott/full spectrum florescents, give off ‘white’ –light that is closer to natural light.

    I find i am less cranky in the evening when i have ‘white’ (vs standard incandesents, or standard florescents around)–and that i sleep better.

    a good lamp store, or some internet searching, and you’ll be able to find reasonable/attractive sources for white/full spectrum lights. (and these work even if you are so zonked out that you fall asleep–if you can sleep with the light on, do so! get a timer, and turn light on an hour before you have to get up.. you’ll find it easier to wake up..)

    if you get a medical diagnosis of SAD, you can ask your boss to order you an Ott (full spectrum) type light for your desk.. its a cheap fix that they can write off tax wise.. and it will help you feel better.

  • rebel

    I was going to suggest a full-spectrum light too. If you can’t get genuine sunlight – it’s the next best thing. Check online for SAD and Light therapy – you’ll find what I’m talking about. SAD is real, I’m sure it has to do with melatonin levels and all that. I would get it at times… my mood improves *radically* with regular doses of sunshine. Seriously.

    ((((hugs))))

  • etcgirl

    Darling, the power of SAD is not to be underestimated. Helen’s advice on getting a lamp is sage, as usual. But will you consider doing one other thing? Go get your thyroid tested. Get a TSH test. You may find you have some easily fixable (with medication) hypothyroidism – that would explain a great number of symptoms. Take care, doll.

  • Sunnyknitter

    Just wanted to send you some understanding (grew up in Canada), hugs and sunshine from California. Sometimes you just have to take life an hour at a time when the days seem too long. Hang in there.

  • I would gladly fill your house with all the SAD lamps I could find until you felt like you were living on the surface of the sun. SAD is a big problem over here too, we don’t get that much sun during the summer and it pretty much takes a 5 month vacation during ‘winter’.

  • Darlin’ I’m so sorry you’re struggling. Wish you could come down to sunny Florida and stay with me until spring.

    I love the full-spectrum lighting ideas. I’ve struggled with depression and low energy all summer (adrenal exhaustion, not SAD), and I’ve found recently that some vitamin and omega supplementation genuinely helps that Riding the Ragged Edge of Sanity feeling. I use a packet of Emergen-C (lotsa C, B12 and B6) to wash down some Vitamin D and Flaxseed capsules every day.

    If none of the suggestions we busybodies are offering help, please go to a doctor (I hate doctors, and I’m saying this). This isn’t normal, and you deserve better than to accept it as the status quo. Love you.

  • I was going to suggest looking at that light that AmyKnitty was talking about recently too.

    It’s tough (I think I get it sometimes too), but you’ll get through it. and we’re all here for you

    (((hugs)))

  • Magatha

    I have lived in the east and midwest and having those day upon day of dismal gray skies and low light is depressing. I know SAD is real, just not the only reason that a winter depression can occur. Since you’re sure that is what it is and I believe you know yourself pretty well, I suggest you actively seek professional treatment for SAD and religiously follow the regimen.
    You could possibly benefit from some counseling. You’re a bright and shiny ‘giver’ and I have found that your sort of person has a very deep well of cheerfulness, but it does run out and needs refilling. It is time to take care of you and let everyone else slide for a while.
    Also, things are scary right now. All you have to do is look at the stock market and you can see how everyone is feeling scared. That suspends a whole miasma of doom over everything that does not help your bout of SAD.

    (I’m going through it now myself. Without making it ‘all about me’ I will summarize to say that I should be very happy to have my new mansion, but I am so not comfortable here. I feel like I’ve been dropped into a hostile alien environment. Cried and cried over the loss of my old house’s trees and pool. Cried like crazy over the sale contracts for that pile of old crap that is my old house. I am going to get counseling.)

    Do something about it, don’t just sit there and suffer.

  • Sweetie, I’m gonna ditto Mag.

    You help everyone and maybe this time it’s time for you to help you. This stuff IS real, regardless of the root cause, and there are ways to help you cope/resolve/etc.

    We just want you well.

    If there’s anything I can possibly do, holler. I’m not that far away.

  • ((hugs girl!!)) Hoping that you can figure out what works best for you, lots of great ideas here!! We’re here if you need us, ALWAYS know that! 🙂

  • There are good suggestions here, but since I don’t suffer myself, I’ll leave the solutions to the experts. What I will offer is a great big (((((HUG))))). Hang in there. you have Kris and all of us to give as much support as you need!

  • Trust me, I understand ‘the blues,’ so whatever we can do, you just name it. 🙂 And I’m cool either way on the exercise front– no need to stress yourself over thinking about how I feel!! No worries!

  • *hugs*

    We need a girly day to compare notes because I have SAD too – was diagnosed when I was 18. I just don’t talk about it because my ex-husband thought I was crazy and said it was all in my head,,we fought, then it became taboo, and old habits are hard to break. Not going into all kinds of details here, but we can talk about it if you want, just let me know.

    Love you & Kris bunches,
    ~A

  • I feel your pain. I suffer a touch of the SAD, though not as severely as my mom. Medication has done wonders for her. Hopefully you’ll find a treatment, pharmaceutical or otherwise, that works for you. Hang in there.

  • I have no idea about SAD, but I know that getting meds has helped me with ‘regular’ depression. Also, your garden looks GREAT. How about sitting out there with your knitting for an hour or two every day? Or is it too cold?

    I agree with others about definitely doing a little exercise at least during this time.

    Like I said, I don’t know, but I wish you the best with this condition :0)

  • bezzie

    I suffered from Reverse SAD in Texas. I swear it’s real!!! All that effin’ sun and no discernable seasons, I imagine that’s how normal SAD is…

  • I had mild SAD for a few years. Hang in there. Mine went away (and while I know it can come back)…I’m sure you’ll get through.

  • I know others have mentioned this before, but you might want to buy one of those light therapy deals. Even though we’re here in FL (and probably getting more light than you), getting up in the dark is still tough. (I’m considering buying one of those light therapy boxes for J. It has taken me this long to see the connection between the changing seasons & his lethargy. SAD is definitely real.) Amy talks about hers here: http://knitty.com/blog/2008/09/how-i-know-fall-is-here.html

    {{{hugs}}}

  • Sending lots of hugs your way. Hope you feel better soon.

  • Fiberfool

    I have to ditto Bezzie but in CA. Unless it’s raining, it’s hard to know what season you’re in out here.

  • thatfarmgirl

    I’m so sorry…I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. This year, it’s a combination of plain ol’ life and SAD for me. If you ever need a shoulder…

  • Not that I like pushing drugs (well, I can’t wait to get my script pad… ) but if the lights don’t seem to help and your thyroid isn’t an issue, you may want to discuss medication with your physician. I had a friend who went on the drugs in October and off every April.

    I’ll miss you at Rhinebeck.

  • I’m so sorry you are SAD 🙁 I wish I had a magic wand to help all my friends so afflicted.

  • ((HUGS)) I wish I could help you. I would be there in 7 hours if I could afford to right now. But I will support Carrie’s suggestion. Don’t back off the exercise program. If you don’t want to commit to the time schedule – fine. But don’t back down. Get outside and walk around the block at least once a day. If anything, you can compare how your neighbors pattern their lawns when they mow. You got one guy right behind you that is pretty interestingly anal with his. Could be amusing at least.

  • huh… I never knew. Why do I feel so terrible about that?

    Ya, welcome to my world is what I WANT to say, but what I’ll say is that I love you SAD and all. And that you are imperfectly perfect right where you are this moment.

    And I’ll share sad space with you anytime. I’m sure we’d giggle through it, tears and all.

    You know Pam, I hate to tell you this, but this post is the first like omg she’s human and not a super woman post I’ve read from you. You’re overall positive attitude and smiling demeanor and good god the pictures… you have more joy oozing out of you than all of my friends wrapped up in a bright pink bow. I love that about you too.

    So I think it’s ok to be sad too once in awhile. Don’t you? I don’t know.

    This doesn’t read as heartfelt as I really am trying to make it be. What I’m trying to say is that you amaze me and are amazing and I love you so and am here for you if need be.

    and, and, and… I’ll go looking fro some of those magic happy pills first thing tomorrow. 🙂

    {*(SQUEEZE)*}

    kiss kiss hugg hugg giggle snort giggle haapy sad tear tear giggle tear sigh.

    me

  • peri

    Even more [[[[hugs]]]] I don’t have SAD though I have a maladjusted Cicadian rhythm which can have a similar effect – especially with my sleeping patterns and I empatise with just how much that can effect you emotionally – really saps your vitality. I hope one of these suggestions helps you – you’ve been given so much love and advice and that your grey clouds pass soon.

    Much love

    Peri (Lainch) x

  • HB

    Defintately check in with your MD – ask to get full panel blood work done to make sure it’s nothing else. My doc told me that as we age -the coping mechanisms we used to use don’t work anymore and we have to re-adjust. Don’t under-estimate depression – you’d encourage any of us to take care of ourselves – do the same & get to your doc ASAP!

  • whichendisup

    *hugs* I think I understand… I don’t think I have SAD (tho anything is possible), but I do get wicked mood swings from feeling like a puddle of goo on the floor to totally manic and getting 50 things done. I think the lights are good idea too, and a good investment for a future of battling this ookiness. *hugs*

  • Lots of great ideas here – I’ll spare you the repetition. Just wanted to add {{hugs}}. Thanks for saying something about it.

  • me again…

    I was reading last night, a book that has nothing to do with depression, and came across this paragraph and thought that I’d share it with you.

    “To me, depression is similar to a sponge that has become too heavy with water. To wring out the sponge, the person frequently needs a period of rest, contemplation, and orientation towards Spirit (god, the universe, insert your own word here) to sort out all that just happened. Instead of allowing depressed individuals a cycle of, “being,” we tend to feed them Prozac so they can rapidly get back to a stage of doing. This is not to say that Prozac can’t be helpful… But sadly, just like we shove mothers who have just had children rapidly back into the workplace, we shove people who need rest, healing, and contemplation too rapidly back into the “do” place.

    Maybe just just need some time to “be.”

    Here’s to a healthy healing. 🙂

    Love and support.

  • Yorkie

    As one who’s battled depression since she was about 13 (and now fights overwhelming anxiety), I would never doubt that what you’re feeling is real.

    I think forces are converging on you right now, and there’s much change…you may be overwhelmed in ways you’re not even aware of…

    Yes, exercise does help. I resisted that notion for ages, but then I realised that a build up of toxins in your body (just from every day existence) can depress your brain and body. And exercise releases them. Plus all the inhaling and exhaling of fresh air helps tremendously.

    Also make sure you’re drinking enough water. Low-level dehydration can depress you too.

    Having said that, don’t feel like you’re a failure if those simple solutions don’t help. Obviously there’s a lot on your mind that you’re not going to put on your blog which is probably where the deepest feeling runs. Fall is a season of change, and it can take some people unawares.

    BTW, your hubby Friended me on Facebook. Does this mean we’re going steady??

    *hugs*
    Yorkie

  • Hey Pam! I agree with all those who mention light box therapy (or even just a good full-spectrum lamp). Also try Vitamin B12. Not just the does in the daily multi-vit but at least 1000mcg a day. I find the pills upset my tummy but you can also get those funny little strips that disolve on your tounge. I don’t understand the chemistry involved but I know that this is crucial for me to keep my energy up and my anxieties under control.

    Hope that helps. Mostly just be kind to yourself and reach out when you need to!

  • have you seen a doctor? You should consider medication, it may make a night and day difference and there is no shame in it.

  • No advice, just many, many ((((HUGS)))).

  • Lots of good advice above, so just hugs from me. And if anyone tries to put you down for it, we’ll pelt them with yarn.

  • Jo

    I don’t know how I missed this yesterday. ((hugs))

  • Brittany

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. You’ve got warm and fuzzies winging their way to you from China.

    Are you still at the same address in Bowie? xo

  • Kay

    I don’t post here much at all…not sure why, just don’t, but I want to give you big hugs. I know excactly how you feel as I experience or suffer the same thing. I swear I tell my husband and peeps I work with if I could go into a coma starting in October and wake up right after Christmas, I would love it. This always becomes such a depressing time of year for me.

    ((Hugs)) Pam

    Kay

  • I was out of town last week and am catching up and just wanted to add my hugs to the many others.

  • JulieM

    Big hug from me! SAD is real and it isn’t fun. Even if you know it is coming and what will happen, there doesn’t seem to be much you can do about it, does there? Hang in there and do what you can when you can!

  • How the hell did I miss this post?
    Love & hugs & get thee to a big damn light!

  • You’re brave to write about it. Mine’s starting already too.

  • It’s as real and physical as any other disease or disorder. It’s not hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have it, but it’s hard to make them really understand. Even my mom is guilty of saying, “But it’s not foggy where you are!” Yeah, but the sun’s lower in the sky, and the strength of the rays is much weaker. The sun can shine all damn day in the winter and it won’t be enough to help me. I don’t “feel a little down because it’s raining”. I literally go crazy every winter and, like you, it’s been happening to me since I was a small child.

    Exercise makes a huge difference for me, as does having the big lamp. I can send you the link to the company where I’ve bought my last two lights if you want it.

    Have you read “Winter Blues” by Norman E. Rosenthal? I remember reading the case studies and crying with happiness because finally I was reading about people who sounded like me, who had what I had, and who understood what I was experiencing.