This may sound strange and it’s hard to explain, but there is always a moment around this time of year when I sense a definite change from summer to autumn. It’s not as simple as the cooler temperatures or the fresher breeze; I actually feel totally different.
For a short period, the sensation is almost one of euphoria—it’s a brief trip back to the innocent days of collecting conkers and kicking a football around the garden. But as the nights draw in, those feelings are soon replaced by symptoms of what is now commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it wasn’t until I was well into adulthood before I realised this had been part of me and my life since my teenage years.
Of all the recognised symptoms, I do feel anxious (hardly something new), and often feel the need to withdraw—I was tempted to say suffer in silence, but I don’t really class SAD as something from which I “suffer”. It’s simply something that I have, and after so long, I have my own ways of coping when the clouds of negativity gather.
Down the years, I’ve tried various supposed cures, although I’ve never gone down the light box route— St John’s Wort probably had the most positive effect, but it doesn’t mix with the other medication I now take, so there has to be an element of recognising the symptoms and just getting on with it.
I’ve heard the condition can have quite debilitating side effects and SAD is now recognised and classified as a type of depression, but from a purely personal point of view, I’m miserable most of the time anyway, no one would probably spot the difference that September brings!
The good news is I’m feeling reasonably strong at the moment. I’ve got a few things on the go that are keeping my mind occupied, but when the darkness does descend (as it inevitably will), I reckon all I need to do is go and find a horse chestnut tree. It might not solve every problem, but surely SAD
is something I can conker?!