Thursday, November 8, 2012

S(easonal) A(ffective) D(isorder)

I've mentioned, a few times, that I've been feeling really, really stormy lately. Things are just off and I can't seem to get them back on again. I struggle every day with agoraphobia, social anxiety, and severe depression, but I'm trying to work through it. But tonight, I had a bit of an epiphany. I think it's possible that part of my problem is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Now, I know it's not a good idea to self-diagnose and I don't much make a habit of it. This particular thing, though, seems so likely that I can't imagine why I didn't see it sooner. It started the other morning when I saw on TV that the time change can cause SAD. Okay, that's not much of a problem for me, though. Then, tonight while I was watching the election results with Melanie & Joey, it came up again. That's when it struck me, like a lightening bolt out of the clear blue (or black) sky.

You see, when I was feeling my best I was taking Fluoxetine, working outside the house, and was function on normal daylight hours. My life was bright and productive. I happen to know that working inside the house, particularly since I don't have a car and am therefore stranded, is aggravating my agoraphobia. Being away from people is increasing my fear of going out and, well, around people. That one's easy. The social anxiety is also associated with that. I can't seem to be social without my system going into shock and freaking out. Okay, again, aggravated by not going out and being around people. But the depression, which I've struggled with on and off since I was a teenager, I think is being seriously aggravated by my current night schedule.

I get up around 3:00 p.m. and go to bed about 6:00 a.m., which means I'm a night owl in the extreme. I adopted this schedule because Matt is working night shifts 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., and I want to be asleep when he is. I want to be awake when he is, so I can talk to him during his three work breaks through the night. Yet I think that I really started to go downhill when I started spending most of my time in the dark. I have very few hours of sunlight in my life, more so since the time change. It gets dark here about 6:00 p.m. now.

So I talked to Matt about it and am trying to transition my schedule back to the daylight hours. Maybe letting some light into my life and being awake during the same hours as everyone else will help me to fight off my depression. I've climbed out of this hole before, I can do it again, I'm strong and capable. Oh, and I'm going to see if my doctor can put me back on Fluoxetine, or something like it, to help the process along. I really hope it works, I need so much to start feeling better. Wish me luck.