I work hard at maintaining good self-care habits. I run every day. I make a concerted effort (most of the time, anyhow) to eat healthy food. I try to get to bed at a decent hour most nights. These are all things that I know work together to make me a happier, healthier person. I’m not perfect when it comes to self-care; some days are a greater struggle than others.
I’ve written before about my yearly struggles with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I do what I can every year – exercise, vitamins, a SAD lamp, early bedtimes. These things are always a struggle, and I still always end up feeling pretty rotten by about March. By the time spring arrives, I feel like I’ve survived something.
This past year I didn’t feel like I bounced back 100% from the winter. I struggled through the spring and well into summer before I started feeling like my old self; even at that, I still didn’t get to where I wanted to be. Fall was pretty good, as far as fall goes but now that it’s winding down and I see winter looming on the horizon, a big part of me was absolutely dreading those cold dark days and the low mood and exhaustion that go along with it.
I saw my doctor last week and together we made the decision to put me on a low dose anti-depressant. I’m not normally one to take medication; I was on anti-depressants years ago when I was going through a particularly tough time, and I didn’t find them to be all that helpful for me. Of course, the problem back then was more the situation that I was in, and once the situation changed, my mood dramatically improved. Go figure.
This year I decided that I didn’t want to drag myself through the next three or four months, feeling terrible all the time, holding my breath until the weather got warmer and sunnier. I recognize that meds aren’t the cure, but my hope is that they will help me feel good enough to keep up with all the other self-care stuff that will definitely help – the exercise, the vitamins, the positive attitude…blah blah blah.
I know that medication isn’t the right answer for everyone. And hell, it might not even be the right answer for me, but at this point, I’ve tried everything else outside of eye of newt and tongue of bat, so I figure that it might be time to finally explore this as an option. It’s not a decision that I came to lightly, but hell, if I can make it through the coming winter without feeling like I’ve fought a hard battle, then I’d call it a win. Time will tell.