This year summer seems to be over as soon as it began for the school age children. All the good sunny weather happened before they broke up but I am pleasantly surprised that it remains light for so long in the evening still, 9pm last night. I know this specifically because I went to bed for a nice afternoon nap at 3pm having got home from work and a lovely lunch catch up with a friend. I woke up at 8.30pm and was completely confused, I thought it was morning because of the daylight outside, I was in a completely disorientated panic which lasted about half an hour. Horrid adrenal pumping head ache inducing way to wake up.
But I know that soon the evenings will be drawing in and eventually I will find myself in a subterranean like world of leaving for work in the dark and returning home in the dark. I am a huge fan of autumn and winter, of Christmas and lamplight (so good on the complexion), of cosy blankets and bed socks but equally I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
The NHS define it as follows:
“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter.
The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They’re typically most severe during December, January and February.
SAD often improves and disappears in the spring and summer, although it may return each autumn and winter in a repetitive pattern.
Symptoms of SAD
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- a persistent low mood
- a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.”
If I am not mindful then it can end up utterly flooring me. It doesn’t happen over night, it is the slow creeping in of lethargy, equaled to the diminishing of day light. Life starts to feel flat, if I don’t start dragging myself back up he hill at that point then the feeling can remain with me for months.
I have no magic remedy, though I have found SAD lights to be very effective, 10 mins a day while at work. I have been lucky enough to have at least one exceptionally hot and sunny holiday each year so I feel I stock up on sunshine and energy. But I am also kind to myself, darkness does produce lethargy, that is normal, just as the spring sunshine makes us want to throw on coats and go on long fresh walks.
I’m not trying to wish summer and sunshine away but I know from experience that now is the time to start thinking about where I put my SAD lamp, time to transition into the new season in the healthiest way I can.
Marking the transition of seasons, as ridiculous as it may sound, helps too, so it isn’t just the long stretch towards Christmas (the best time of the year ever) that we are waiting for. And I love an excuse for a celebration. One of my favorites is the Autumn Equinox, Mabon, it happens around 21st-24th September, the The White Goddess tells us the story behind it:
“Mabon marks the middle of harvest, it is a time of equal day and equal night, and for the moment nature is in balance. It is a time to reap what you have sown, of giving thanks for the harvest and the bounty the Earth provides. For finishing up old projects and plans and planting the seeds for new enterprises or a change in lifestyle. Mabon is a time of celebration and balance.
This is the time to look back not just on the past year, but also your life, and to plan for the future. In the rhythm of the year, Mabon is a time of rest and celebration, after the hard work of gathering the crops. Warm autumn days are followed by chill nights, as the Old Sun God returns to the embrace of the Goddess.
The passing of Mabon is inevitable and The Sun God should be mourned. We too, must remember that all things must come to an end. So the Sun God journeys into the lands of winter and into the Goddess’ loving arms, but endings are a good time to celebrate our successes, thank our selves and those who helped us, and take part in the balance of life!”