THE TRANSPARENCY CHRONICLES: SEASONAL DEPRESSION EDITION
Living in Maine, we can usually tell when seasons start to change this time of year, yet it feels like it sneaks up on us at the same time, if that makes any sense. It gets colder outside, and it gets darker earlier. You would think we should be used to this by now, but it never seems to get any easier with each passing year. Some of us look forward to it and can’t get enough of it. Then there are those of us who don’t really have as much fun with it. It throws us off balance and puts us in a bit of a funk. Things just hit us different when seasons change in Maine.
I’m usually transparent about the mental health issues I contend with. Sometimes people are quick to write me off as a miserable person because of it, except I’m not a miserable person. I’m an intense person. I feel intensely and passionately about things. Good or bad, I feel all of it. It’s the price I pay for feeling and for having feelings.
Managing my depression has often been a challenge for me during fall and winter. I have plenty to keep busy, but I can never escape my own mind. The chaos and uncertainty surrounding a polarizing election cycle in the middle of the current pandemic has compounded the issue two-fold. Little things have a way of adding up and ruining my whole day.
My confidence takes a real beating sometimes. I haven’t always made good friends in life. I’ve had people violate my trust and take advantage of my kindness. It’s made me question my own judgment and it’s made it hard for me to warm up to other people. And let me be clear, it’s not that I don’t like other people. I want to like other people. It’s the guesswork that comes with dealing with other people that I don’t like.
Lately, seeing current pictures of friends getting together and enjoying themselves has had me on the verge of tears. It hurts to feel left out of the good times your friends are having, even if they don’t really mean to. Part of me wishes I could be where they are and having fun with them. But as it is, I feel like the odd man out in most social situations under normal circumstances, let alone during a pandemic.
I wish it wasn’t always such a struggle for me to connect with the rest of the world around me in a meaningful way. It bothers me when I don’t fit in as well as I would like. Rejection hurts. I know I have friends and that other people like and respect me. But when I’m really down on myself, I feel like they would rather hang with their much cooler friends than do anything with me and that they could easily replace me with someone better if that was what they wanted.
Sometimes I need to honor my feelings and give myself time to feel the way I feel. I’ll admit I can be hard on myself. It can be annoying going through life feeling like nothing I do is ever good enough or that my best is never good enough. But I can’t let myself spend too much time fixating on obsessive-compulsive thought patterns that aggravate my depression, especially during the winter months. I’m not as helpful to other people if I don’t take time to help myself get better. Part of dealing with my depression means learning to be okay with not being perfect and giving myself more credit for doing as well as I can with what I have to work with.
Thank you Marco for sharing on this important topic. If you are expereincing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder please reach out to one of the following locations.
Consumer Council System of Maine 1-877-207-5073
Maine Statewide Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112 (Voice), or 711 (Maine Relay)
NAMI Maine Helpline: 1-800-464-5767 (Press 1)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or Live Online Chat Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline: 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
A recent news story was done on this by NewsCenter Maine that can be found here
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