Winter Makes Me S.A.D.

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by Aviari, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    So. Reading up on a few threads in here has made me wonder if I have seasonal affective disorder.

    For the last few years I've had downswings that I attributed to Thyroid Fuckery, because symptomatically it it made sense. (I have/tend to have bolded symptoms)

    • Fatigue
    • Increased sensitivity to cold
    • Constipation
    • Dry skin
    • Weight gain
    • Puffy face
    • Hoarseness
    • Muscle weakness
    • Elevated blood cholesterol level
    • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
    • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
    • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
    • Thinning hair
    • Slowed heart rate
    • Depression
    • Impaired memory
    But I've spent the last three months with a specialist getting my thyroid figured out. My thyroid is On Point. However...

    • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
    • Feeling hopeless or worthless**
    • Having low energy**
    • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
    • Having problems with sleeping
    • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
    • Feeling sluggish or agitated
    • Having difficulty concentrating
    • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
    Fall/Winter S.A.D. Specific
    • Irritability**
    • Tiredness or low energy**
    • Problems getting along with other people**
    • Hypersensitivity to rejection**
    • Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
    • Oversleeping
    • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
    • Weight gain
    **Some of this could be attributed to work stress but eh? Not all of it.

    Can I get some advice? How would I go about presenting this to a doctor? They have me on file as coming in every winter whining about my thyroid. Sometimes it was, sometimes my bloodwork came back normal. WHAT DO?! HOW FIX?! I'd love a Q&A session with people who do have it.

    The "needs bright light" thing isn't an issue, all the lights in my house are "daylight" bulbs because apparently I like blinding myself in the morning.
  2. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    Shouting into the void that I made an appointment with my GP to talk about this.
    • Like x 3
  3. Mercury

    Mercury Well-Known Member

    I have SAD, and it's basically a huge bitch that I have to slog through every year. Even with a lightbox, an alarm clock with a wake-up light, eating well, getting exercise, and trying to get actual daylight, I'm struggling. (It's better with all of those things than without, though.)

    The bright light thing - I can't remember exactly but the daylight light bulbs may not cut it. My lightbox is a 10,000 lumen thing that I sit in front of for a half an hour. I also try to get actual daylight, for both vitamin D production and because real daylight makes me feel better than any indoor lighting. Regular exercise is also a must, even as hard as it is for me to get when SAD has knocked me flat.

    Other than that, I just try to persevere. I let people know I'm withdrawn and grumpy because of SAD, but try to make some time for socializing all the same, because I get even more withdrawn and grumpy if I let myself go into the kind of hermitage SAD would have me do. I also try to get out of the house (I'm on disability so I don't have anywhere I have to be), which goes hand in hand with the daylight and exercise thing. Even if I don't manage to get out until after it's getting dark (a real problem when the sun is setting in mid-afternoon), getting out a little is better than nothing.
  4. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    It seems like I get irritable, fatigued and generally feel worthless/hopeless etc.

    I get exercise from work, I walk between 4 and 6 miles a day but then it may not be enough because I swim during the summer.

    Also sorry about the previous post holy hell that was passive aggressive
  5. Mercury

    Mercury Well-Known Member

    Heh, don't worry about it. SAD does that to people.

    You get waaaay more exercise than I do on the regular, so you'd probably fine on that front? I'm coming from a place where I will grind to a complete halt during the winter if I'm not careful, which is why I brought it up.

    Some people have success with vitamin D supplements, but since I haven't I don't have a lot to say about them. Your doctor will probably know more.

    As for talking to the doctor about SAD, I had success in talking about when the downswings happened and how long I could remember them happening for, my SAD specific symptoms, and when each year I've noticed they improve.
  6. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    They have record of me coming in every winter for the last three years whining about fatigue and whatnot, so that should help.
    • Like x 1
  7. liminal

    liminal I'm gonna make it through this year if it kills me

    See, I am pretty sure everyone in my immediate family, including myself, has SAD. My dad was actually officially diagnosed. My brother self DX but he never actually goes to therapy or anything. my mom jokes about "hibernation".

    It's one of the main reasons why I moved down south. I really miss a lot of the scenery in NY, but 8 months or so of winter when you have both general depression and SAD is fucking brutal.
  8. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    Yeah our next duty station has 50/50 odds of "Fucking Nowhere, Connecticut" so if I *do* have it, I want to get it under some sort of control before I end up in an area with long-ass winters.

    ...Especially since I've never lived anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line that wasn't California.

    Of course this could be fuel for "Honey are you sure you don't want to be stationed in sunny, beautiful SCUBA-diver's paradise Hawaii? *bats eyelashes, squishes cleavage together*" (spoilers it's not working)
    • Like x 1
  9. prismaticvoid

    prismaticvoid Too Too Abstract

    My mom has both SAD and standard-issue depression and I suspect I have the same. Unfortunately, her lightbox is a massive sensory NOPE for me. I promised my psych I'd give it a try while I'm home for Thanksgiving but ugh I hate it I hate it
  10. Vacuum Energy

    Vacuum Energy waterwheel on the stream of entropy

    That's still good data!

    Although if you're still willing to try, you can aim the lightbox at a white wall and just work off the reflected light, so long as the total distance from lightbox to wall back to eyes is less than a cubit or so.
    • Like x 1
  11. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    And now we've entered the "feel horribly inadequate and simultaneously unappreciated in my relationship" phase of the winter.

    Pay attention to me. Give me affection. I'm going to be a bitch to you in return. Your cute pranks and teasing are neither cute nor teasing right now. Try an hour later. No not that kind of affection, the other kind. I wanted that kind yesterday. Fuck off. Leave me alone. Wait where are you going? Why won't you talk to me? Hey I want your advice/opinion on this thing. No, I don't, how dare you.

    • Like x 1
  12. prismaticvoid

    prismaticvoid Too Too Abstract

  13. Xavius

    Xavius Suit Monkey

    As someone who probably has S.A.D. and definitely has bipolar stuff kicking me straight into depressive phases, I can attest to how bad this stuff gets when they combine into a smorgasbord.

    The only real advice I can give is to hang on and try to be extra-mindful of your rationality at any given moment. Personally, I check myself constantly when winter rolls around before I say anything, even if it leads to awkward two or three second pauses before I respond to simple sentences. Better for people to wonder what's taking you so long to say anything than for you to bark out something furious, undeserved, or self-loathing, I think - at least it is in my case.

    For my part, though, definitely witnessed. I hope you can work through this.
    • Like x 2
  14. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    Doc says "Three years? *flips through file* Wow, yep that is definitely some seasonal affective disorder. You have a shrink? Good. Want some Prozac? Have some Prozac. Go get a flu shot and some blood work to check vitamin D and anemia. See you in three weeks."

    Bless military medical.
    • Like x 6
  15. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    Vitamin D was down too. Off to the vitamin store. Is there anything that helps Vitamin D uptake?

    Also you have no idea how hard it is not to make "I/She wants the D" jokes.
    • Like x 1
  16. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    you have to take Vitamin D with fat so ideally you would take it with food/directly after eating. Otherwise its one of the few vitamins the body can produce on its own, but you need sunlight for that, which is why vitD and SAD are linked
    • Like x 3
  17. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    Upd8: Meds appear to be working. I'm definitely less irritable. It's weird to try and judge medical effectiveness by "am I back to normal" but ehn.

    Things that have set me off on a tirade don't seem to do that anymore. It's only two weeks in but it's a good start
    • Like x 4
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