Three years ago I first felt the effects of what turned out to be some kind of seasonal affective disorder. It came on in late August and, having a family history of depression, I was quick to jump on it and go to my doctor for help. It was a very literal feeling of a sinking mood and losing control of the ability to rationalize normal, every day anxieties. The worst symptoms were waking around 2 am and being unable to go back to sleep due to the snowball effect of racing thoughts of worry accompanied by a racing heart. I really did feel like my heart was going to beat out of my chest several mornings.
So my doctor prescribed what my friends call "Vitamin Z." A low dose of it helped right away and I stayed on it for two years. That and my Happy Light seemed to keep the seasonal blues away. All the symptoms of anxiety were gone. I felt nothing but normal. My old self. So I stopped taking Vitamin Z awhile back and everything was fine.
A month ago the waking started again. There is nothing worse than waking at 2 am and being unable to go back to sleep due to the racing worried thoughts. The pain of waking and knowing I couldn't go back to sleep was eased AND exacerbated by the plan to hit the alarm at 4:30 to run at 5. While I know the running helps IMMENSELY, sleep is good, too. And I need sleep.
The thought occurred to me that I could see if my running partner, Emily, who is up at all hours with Baby Arnold, wanted to run at 2:30. Or maybe I could just go over to her house and chat with her at those hours while she was up nursing. There was always the chance that my friend, Arnold, would be up. She's two time-zones away and has her own wacky sleep habits. We could text about inane TV shows till one of us passed out from exhaustion.
So I called my doctor. My new family practice doctor, Dr. Wang. I LOVE her. She took one look at me and asked, "You work?" "You got kids?" "You 45"? "You got lot on plate."
I'm not the only one with lot on plate. I have talked to more than several people who have the same trouble. We're not crazy. We need sun. We need to not be 45. We need to ease up on ourselves. We need to think happy thoughts because there is a lot to be happy about and so many things for which to be grateful. We also need a little vitamin Z to get through the f***ing Minnesota winters which do have their beautiful moments.
I'm feeling optimistic about things.