Living with Seasonal Affective Disorder
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SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard.

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard
SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard

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Living in the Pacific Northwest is Hard

Almost four years ago my little family and I returned to the Pacific Northwest. This relocation has been a struggle for several reasons, but one of the biggest struggles we’ve had to deal with is my ongoing battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder–SAD. Although the struggle didn’t start out as hard as I expected it to be, it has recently gotten worse.

I spent four years living in the desert, a place where it was sunny almost every day. On those rare occasions when it wasn’t, every part of me knew it. Those days were miserable for me, and made me grateful for each and every sunny day.

I also realized how blessed I was to no longer be living in the PNW.

The LORD had other plans for my little family though, and one day we packed up and headed back to the trees and mountains I’d grown up around. The PNW is beautiful. There is no denying that, but to be beautiful it spends quite a bit of time gray and dreary. For someone who needs the sunshine to be mellow and happy, the trade-off comes at a high price.

Summer Makes Me Come Alive

Today is beautiful. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there is just the right amount of breeze rustling the trees. Spring is here, and summer is approaching. I’ll be honest and say summer makes me come alive.

The past few months have been hard for me. Our family thrives on schedules and routines because, when it comes to me living in a state that spends close to six months a year with little sunshine, routines help me to not completely become a hermit. It also keeps the SAD from getting so out of control that I end up becoming a shadow of myself.

Sadly, this year those schedules and routines haven’t helped as much as they have in the past.

Making the Connection

I can’t really lock down when this ongoing battle became noticeable;  when the depression started interfering with my life. All I know is one day I realized I’d started putting off going places. I’d started finding reasons to not leave the house–to excuse myself and my family from social events because they felt like obligations–and that feeling stressed me out.

During the winter months I struggled with this a lot. Since the loss of my father and the suffocating feeling I had from the bleakness of the weather, I found myself leaving my home less and less. I’ve stepped away from several things I enjoyed doing, because I couldn’t convince myself the recovery time it would take me afterward was worth it.

The only things I’ve managed to maintain throughout this time are things directly involved with my children. No matter how hard it is for me, I don’t want to let them down. They enjoy their time at AWANA and Classical Conversations community day.  It wasn’t (and isn’t) their fault that I have a hard time functioning without glorious sunshine.

I’m Worried Too

My husband worries about me, and my friends worry about me. They’re afraid I’m not just going to become a hermit, but a full-fledged shut in.

If I’m honest, I’m worried about that as well.

You see, I love my church, but when this suffocating sensation turns to panic at the thought of leaving my home Sunday morning and facing people, I know there is reason to be concerned.

Today, I’m feeling great, and that knowledge can lull me into a false sense of security. It can cause me to forget the way I feel when it isn’t sunny and beautiful.

Sunlight therapy isn’t enough (though, I highly recommend adding it if you suffer from SAD!), and neither is the medication I gave in and started taking four years ago.

I need God to help me through this, the same way I need Him in every aspect of my life.

Blessings, 

Sare Signature

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I am Human

Anxiety can make you feel like you’re all alone in a room full of people, while simultaneously drowning you in wave after wave of everyone else’s needs and wants. I’m not sure when I first experienced anxiety, but I’m pretty sure I was in elementary school. Possibly as early as first grade. It likely reared up the same time as the pecking order at recess.

I do know, it hasn’t gotten better with time or maturity. Instead, it ebbs and flows, but never really goes away. The older I get, the more I notice it in my everyday life. It is no longer confined to the moments of show-and-tell, reading aloud, class projects, or being called on to answer a question. Now it is present anytime I have to be around people other than my immediate family. It happens when I know I have to run errands, change my routine, or participate in a social engagement for my children. It even happens in online discussion groups in college. The day I found out my school was moving from chat boxes to video conferencing for our class meetings, I had an epic anxiety attack. I don’t do videos, or anything that requires me to record my voice. At least not voluntarily, or without a whole lot of stress and, you guessed it, anxiety.

Though I pray about it continually, the panic and anxiety rarely disappears completely. Since the birth of my youngest, what once started out as a moderate inconvience has become something almost debilitating in its occurance. Sundays have become a struggle, because I’m torn between the need to fellowship and worship the LORD, and the desire to hide away because of the panic squeezing my heart.

Add this anxiety to the SAD that plagues me, and there are many days when the only place I want to be is curled up under a warm blanket. This might seem like a good way to spend a day, and it is when it is a choice. When it isn’t a choice the joy that would normally come with it is missing.

I have faith the LORD will help me through this season of life. He will give me the strength when I am weakest. I just need to remember to give it to Him. I am only human.

Blessings,

Sare

Faith, My One Word, My Walk, The Kiddos, The Kiddos

Why I’m Not a Perfect Mom

Photo Credit: Pinterest (Unknown)
Photo Credit: Pinterest (Unknown)

There are many reasons why I’m not a perfect mom, and why I won’t hold out hope that someday I’ll suddenly become that mother who ‘does it all’. You know the kind of mother portrayed in Leave it to Beaver. Perfectly dressed, make-up on, and not a hair out of place. The house would always be neat and orderly, the kiddos would always be polite and presentable, and I’d be excited to host dinner parties for my husband’s business associates. This of course would all come after I made three course meals for my children and made sure they were involved in all the right social circles.

I’m honest enough and realistic enough to know that won’t happen. Not only am I more comfortable in a pair of yoga pants than I’ve ever been in a dress and make-up, my hair tends to remain in a messy knot on my head. I don’t like the feel of it on my neck and I don’t have the patience to create some intricate style that wouldn’t stay in place while I chased my eighteen month old son around or snuggled with my seven year old daughter.

As for dinner parties, those are so not going to happen. I’m almost positive God’s plan for me doesn’t include being a society maven. My idea of a party is snuggling under a blanket in my pajamas, reading a good book and drinking tea.

There have been times in recent years when I’ve wished I were designed for perfection. Where I wish I didn’t have my quirks. In those moments I spent too much time cataloging the reasons I am not a perfect mom.

I’m not a perfect mom, because I’m a perfectionist. I’m very ‘type A’ when it comes to the completion of anything. From projects to keeping the house organized. I often feel sorry for my daughter (and eventually my son), because I’m the mother that requires rooms to be neat and toys to be returned to their proper place when they’re not in use. The house is not a bounce house designed for jumping and screaming, and there is no playing outside without supervision–regardless of what the neighbor kids get to do.

I’m not a perfect mom, because I am an introvert. My perfect home would be far away from neighbors, have a lot of land for my children to play on, and have a fence to keep people away. Now, I’m not saying I’m completely a hermit, but the ability is there. Whenever I’m around people I seem to internalize their emotions and their energy. It takes me days to recuperate after any social event. My daughter on the other hand is an extrovert. She loves people, and going and doing. She very rarely needs time to recharge away from people, and is happier when she has social interaction all the time.

I’m not a perfect mom, because I am hormonal. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and that means living in a state where people forget what the sun is makes me melancholy and irritable.

I am not a perfect mom, but I also know that’s okay. I know that the LORD has a plan for me, and that he’s in control. He knows what I need, even if I don’t.

I’m not a perfect mom, but  each day I strive to be a better mom than I was the day before. Each morning I pray for strength, wisdom, and guidance. I pray for help navigating the path of parenthood. I pray for understanding and that my children and I will grow together in our faith.

I’m not a perfect mom, but I am a forgiven mom. I am a saved mom, and I am a faithful mom. Every day may not go the way I hope it will, but it goes the way it needs to go. Each day I learn something new.

Each and every day I try to be a little less of a perfectionist. I make the effort to get my daughter into social situations so that she can thrive. I do what I can to control my hormones, and to control my mood. The point is, I’m not perfect, but I’m me. I’m following God, and doing what I can for my children.

“As for God, His way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 18:30

May the LORD bless you,

Sare