Seattle's weather goddess is a cruel, cruel mistress.
April 26, 2011 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Help me deal with my debilitating S.A.D. that is worse in the transition between winter/spring (now!)

My anxiety/depression is HIGHLY exacerbated in the grey winter months, but only recently have I realized that this time of year is even worse for me. On saturday, the sun came out and it was warm and beautiful and I thought I might die and go to heaven. Yesterday, the temperature dropped back into the 40's and it poured and poured all day.

After walking home from campus and arriving at home looking and feeling like a drowned rat, I had an anxiety attack that led me to the irrational place of "oh god its going to rain forever its always going to be like this the sun is never going to come out again oh god oh god."

I think the element of the tease is really contributing to this. During the winter I can count on it being cold and grey (I live in Seattle), and therefore I can be mentally prepared for the next day. I check the weather report frequently, but the weather here is so dynamic this time of year that it often switches between sun and rain several times in a day. After enduring the disgusting Seattle winter, I am in desperate need of some sunshine, and at this point my mental well-being rests upon its presence. As you can imagine, this is leading to constant disappointment and regression in my mental health.

In the summer months, my depression/anxiety is well managed. I am leaving Seattle this summer so this is the last time I will have to deal with this nasty transition, but in the mean time I would really appreciate any advice on how to make it through the next few weeks with my (sort of) sanity intact.

On a final note, I do have a 10,000 lux therapy light that I use regularly, but this is more of a psychologically rooted dilemma rather than a pure lack-of-vitamin-D biological ailment.

Thanks in advance, mefites!
posted by Idafolk to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Can you get away for a weekend to California, or somewhere that's a little sunnier?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:53 AM on April 26, 2011

Vitamin D. Exercise and a therapy light changed my life. MeMail me if you like.
posted by Fuzzy Dog at 10:47 AM on April 26, 2011

It doesn't have to be Chanel, but this is a perfect situation for shopping therapy, even if you aren't a girly girl. Pretty lipstick, bouquet of flowers (tulips!), cute summer shoes if that's in your budget. Especially the flowers. Your spirits just need lifting for a little while. Good luck!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 10:53 AM on April 26, 2011

a friend once did a study about SAD in people in Iceland. Turns out, more people attempted suicide right before and as winter was ending, then during winter. Why? Right before because, "OMG, I can't take another one of those", and as it was ending because people were starting to re-gain their strength back so they have more willpower. I AM NOT telling you to even consider suicide!!!!!! I'm just saying that it's normal that through the winter you get used to feeling like crap, then when you have some hope (a sunny day), it gives you strength to loath the yucky weather with more passion. Just keep in mind that it a very temporary period. The sun is coming back soon!
posted by Neekee at 11:23 AM on April 26, 2011

I can get like this too, especially if spring takes its sweet time getting here. I get so excited about spring starting in late February, and then around this time I start shaking my fists at the heavens and yelling, "But you promised!" It is common to get this way at the beginning of spring, and knowing that can help.

I do all sorts of stuff to manage my depression, but if I'm craving light and color, there's really no substitute. So, if spring's not readily available, I start aggressively seeking it out. If it's overcast, there's still a little bit of light and at least it's not raining, so I make sure to look out the window or step outside and get what I can. Instead of idly noticing the leaves on the trees as I walk by, I have to keep my eyes peeled for them, and if there aren't leaves, I look for the scraggly patches of grass. I'm the dork who walks around wearing flip-flops and drinking iced coffee when it's 50 degrees, because I can.

And if there's absolutely no evidence of spring outside, I'll paint my toenails some happy color, wear my freshest spring-iest perfume, and go look at all the bright tank tops and shorts at Old Navy, because spring always comes early at the mall.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2011

As an Alaskan, I will tell you, the only thing that has saved my soul is exercising for at least an hour a day. Take tennis lessons, join a local sport league, ease into a running routine, whatever. Make a plan and then do it, and go hard at it. It produces changes in your body and brain that you won't regret.
posted by amodelcitizen at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

After ten years in the northwest (Seattle and Vancouver), I finally fled, in no small part due to extreme SAD. This past winter and spring have been glorious in comparison.

I normally don't give this as an answer, but you note you're moving in the summer anyway, and I just want to cheer that on and say that's the best remedy.

As for this spring: hop a train to San Francisco for a bit? Good luck.
posted by criacow at 12:50 PM on April 26, 2011

Mega-doses of Vitamin D3 have done wonders for my husband's SAD. You either do 2-5kIU daily or like 30-40k IU once per week.
posted by bookdragoness at 1:54 PM on April 26, 2011

This is a Medical Prescription: any time there's a cloudy or rainy day (or part day), you MUST spend some time among flowers--go to a florist shop, garden department of a big box home store or supermarket, botanical garden, whatever. Buy yourself some flowers, or seeds to plant in a pot, or a plant to take care of. Don't let yourself weasel out of this by saying that you don't have the time or money--this is your health. It's medical therapy. So your spring season will consist of (1) nice sunny days, and (2) flower days. All good!
posted by Corvid at 2:20 PM on April 26, 2011

« Older Learning to use computers in Spanish.   |   ISO Jesus for Dummies, Jr. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.