Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Beginning of the Blues

Some people, like my husband, take immense pleasure in the shift from summer to fall. He loves the crisp air, the colors of the leaves as they change. My son loves the winter and snow. But for other people, like myself, when the days are shorter and the sun barely makes an appearance, the blues creep in.

Blue is my favorite color,
but not my favorite season.

My blue season started to hit me last week—dark when I get up, dark shortly after I get home from work. There’s a little sliver of light on the drive to and from work. But in another couple of weeks I’ll be driving in the dark. The only daylight I’ll see during the work week is through the cafeteria windows for half an hour at lunch time. I’m so thankful there was sunshine this weekend.

Within the next couple of weeks, the blues will hit me full force. No daylight. No sunlight. Dark when I leave for work, dark when I get home. And the weekends will be dark and overcast more often than not.
It doesn’t help that baseball season will be officially over in a few days. Every year, I jokingly blame my blue feeling on the end of baseball—especially if my team doesn’t get to the play-offs.

Of course, I’m only teasing about the end of the baseball season being the culprit. In all seriousness, it really is the lack of sunlight that affects my moods. There’s a name for it: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Some of the symptoms of SAD are:
 Depression
 Hopelessness or sadness
 Anxiety
 Loss of energy or interest
 Withdrawing socially

If, like me, you’re affected by SAD, there are ways to battle it.

First and foremost, though, if you experience feelings of depression and sadness for more than a couple of weeks, I would highly suggest you see your doctor. Seriously. A day or two here and there when you feel sad or depressed can be manageable without medication. But if it goes on for any length of time, seeking medical help is a must. Especially if you have any thoughts of harming yourself.

One of the best things you can do is to get plenty of exercise. Exercise boosts your mood. If you can take walks outside, even better. You’ll be getting a double benefit. Exercise relieves stress, stress increases symptoms of depression. Since lack of sunlight seems to be one of the main factors in SAD, walking outside in natural light is better than walking indoors on a treadmill. Even though the sun might not be out, some of those rays that stimulate our mood will hopefully get through. Plus, there’s always something truly invigorating about fresh air.

Find things that interest you. When baseball ends, I start watching figure skating. The season actually started a couple of weeks ago, and with the return of Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko, and the excellence of Japanese skater Nobunari Oda, it’s shaping up to be a great season. It soothes my soul to watch these talented skaters jump, spin and glide on the ice.

Try not to shut yourself off from your friends and family. This is one of the fastest ways to give in to SAD and sink into an even deeper depression. While it can be hard to socialize with others when you’re feeling this way, it’s vital to your mental health. Talking, laughing, simply being with others can lift your spirits.

Do things that stimulate your mind and make you happy. Reading a good book serves both purposes for me. (If you need a recommendation, just let me know!) Writing, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and weekend drives are all great activities. If I could take a vacation to sunny California every winter, I would. But since I can’t, I try to get outside as much as I can during the weekend. The days I don’t are the days I feel the worst.

Talk to a doctor before trying any herbal medications. Many herbal drugs interact with other medications you may be taking.

I don’t know a lot about the full spectrum lights that are available, other than they are supposed to help by exposing you to the natural light you’d normally get on a sunny day. They’re a bit pricey, but they’re supposed to work, so I’m going to try and buy one this year.

Last, but in no way least, pray. Talk to God. Sometimes when we’re depressed, it’s hard to even summon the words. But God knows what’s in our hearts. The Holy Spirit interprets for us when we can’t find the words. So don’t ignore this most important and wonderful resource.

Also, it never hurts to have your friends and family pray for you. If you want me to pray for your, if you want to pray for me, send me an e-mail and we can support each other.
(glorybooks [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Knowing the problem, recognizing the problem, is the biggest part of the battle. When we’re armed with knowledge and a plan, we have the ability to fight our way through it.

Please be aware that this is not medical advice. This is merely my experience, my opinion, and my offer of moral support.

God bless you, and I pray we can all get through these fall/winter blues and rejoice and take pleasure in these darker months. Then, before we know it, it will be spring again.


  1. Hey Suzie, Have you seen the Ott lights. They are supposed to really simulate natural light and have done wonder for me Mom in law. Put one at your desk and maybe you could have a sunny little oasis even in the midst of winter.

  2. Thanks, Lisa. I did a search and I see that they are far less pricy than the others, so I'm going to order one. I really appreciate the tip!

  3. Oh, Suzie, what a wonderful post! My doctor told me that the irises of certain folks' eyes react strongly to the seasonal changes.

    Yeah, I'm one of 'em!!! It's occasional meds here. The turning point came when I realized NOT EVERYONE reacted the way I did to fall...

    LOVE this blog, with its edgy issues but soothing layout. Hope you will visit my attempt to do new tricks at



  4. Hi Patti! Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the compliments. :-) Our sweet and talented Lisa Richardson is the one who designed my page. I just love it. She does such a great job. Yes, I'll come visit your blog, and in the meantime, I know we'll both get through these dark gray days with smiles on both our faces.