When the light goes away

It’s been almost a year since I started treatment (again) for depression. I have felt great for months, felt like I was taking giant steps forward to make my life better.

Then the last week or so things started feeling different, more depressed again. Part of it, I think, is that I haven’t felt quite right during that time. I was suffering headaches every day, and many times they had turned into migraines. And I’m also just feeling worn down. Unfortunately I always feel tired after years of not sleeping right, but this was even more so. And not feeling well and not knowing why it won’t stop is going to make anyone feel a bit off.

But we’ve also entered the time of year when we’re losing significant amounts of light every day. A week ago I was getting up in the dark to go to work, but it was light by the time I left. This week I was getting up in the dark and leaving in the dark. We’re at dusk when I arrive home from work.

I hate winter for a lot of reasons other than the cold and the snow. The lack of light kills me. Yet my favorite day of the year is the first day of winter. After that day, the amount of daylight we have grows each day.

My depression problems have lots of triggers, but one of them certainly is the amount of light in the day. I like to say I’m like a plant and need plenty of sunlight, but it’s not a unique situation. Lots of people self diagnose themselves as having Seasonal Affective Disorder (and it’s always amused me that SAD is the acronym for it).

My doctor in the past was tuned in to it and we’d adjust my anti-depressants in the winter. I feel in some ways the need for my latest round of treatment was triggered by the awfulness of the 2010-11 winter with all of its snow. I just never truly recovered from the depression the winter caused that year.

So now the light is going away again and I’m feeling down again. I’m sure there are other factors contributing, including not feeling well in general and a few other things I’m not going to write about publicly. But does this mean I need to talk to my doctor about changing my medication yet again? I actually have been wanting to chat with her about further shifting my medication from Zoloft to Wellbutrin, but do I need a higher dose of medication overall?

What I can say about how I feel this year compared to last is that I don’t want to run away and hide. I’m not crying. I feel like I can cope much better. Unfortunately all I want to do is sleep, but I don’t know if that’s tied to feeling depressed or because I just feel worn down and sick in general.

I see my doctor in about two weeks, so we’ll have a conversation about SAD. The good thing is I know I can wait until then. I don’t need some sort of emergency appointment. But I would like to not feel like I do right now.


About Jen

Jen is a social media producer and a local journalist at heart. When not trying to take over the journalism world she writes, takes lots of photos and roots on her beloved New York Rangers and Mets.


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