Let me just start off by saying DO NOT lick a Target receipt. Take my word for it here, just don't. ever. do it. (I typically don't make a habit of licking receipts but in the process of spitting out my gum, my tongue grazed the paper and oh holy Jeezus did it taste awful.) I'm not sure if it was from the paper, or the freshly printed ink, but this was poison on the tongue. Poison I tell you!
Ok now where was I.
Oh that's right I was shoving these chips into my mouth. Have you ever tried them?? They are insanely addicting so don't come crying to me if you end up hoarding 200 bags in your pantry because you just can't get enough of them. And I am willing to bet my life that most people who love chocolate could finish an entire bag in a 24 hour period.
You know that saying, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today?" Well I've realized that doesn't apply to a sun lover in Seattle. Today I had work that I needed to get done that could only be done in the office so as I'm getting my bag and keys to head out the door, I notice the sky starting to lighten a little. I rush to the window and realize it didn't look like much so I headed for the door. When I drove to the top of the hill in our town I notice more breaks in the clouds. I think, "Hmmm ok, well if that sun pops out and I'm stuck inside this will not be good because God know when we'll see it again, yet if I head home and it doesn't pop out I'm screwed because I'm not prepared for tomorrow!" (new class starting up) So what do I do? I say F it and turn around and head home. And the sun is gone. I start to think that this is what being in an abusive relationship must feel like. The false promises, the "I promise I'll change, I swear" these anxiety filled moments make for an exhausting way to live. I went back into my car, received a phone call and while I was chatting the sun started to re-appear so I said F it again, headed back in the house onto the deck to disrobe. I fell asleep in the sun.
We've lived here for 1,016 days. I've probably felt "present" for about 200 of those days. I have lived the past 3 years anticipating summer, or any sort of change from the darkness that loves to settle over this tiny pocket of the world. And during those days it's impossible to live in the present when you're always hoping or waiting for things to change. Motivation and perspective are difficult to find when a sense of hopelessness lingers just beneath the surface. It's true that lots of people suffer from S.A.D. during the winter months but lucky for us, our dark days can last a good 9-10 months so when your serotonin levels are out of whack for that long, it's an open door for the D word.
I am thankful to get my health on track and now understand why the Candida grew like wildfire. I swear all I did was crave carbs and eat sugary starchy meals upon our arrival.
"Recent evidence has also linked light exposure to the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is thought to influence mood. People who are affected by SAD appear to have difficulty regulating serotonin levels in their blood. That these levels can be increased by a diet rich in carbohydrates explains the intense carbohydrate cravings of many SAD patients. This theory also accounts for the success of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, such as Prozac and Zoloft, when administered to patients suffering from depression."
And reading about suggested treatments for S.A.D. makes me even more SAD! But whatever it is what it is...
"The only known way to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder is to live in a warm, southerly climate. But that doesn't mean that those of us who have chosen the north as our home must suffer endlessly at the hands of winter. Following some of the these suggestions can help alleviate many of the unpleasant symptoms associated with SAD: 1. Get more natural sunlight by doing outdoor chores and keeping windows and blinds open in the home and office. 2. Go outside and walk briskly (even in cold weather) once during the course of the day-particularly effective at midday. 3. Sit near a window, preferably in the sun, whenever possible. 4. Join a support group with other similarly-afflicted people. 5. Try phototherapy. 6. Go south for vacation!"
The support group is key, as I've met and made many friends who also suffer from weather related blues. Some have lived here less time than we have and either moved back to where they came or opted for warm, sunny climates. It makes me happy to see them enjoying life again and I do not consider it a weakness on their part to move away. It takes a strong person to make a change no matter what the situation is and no more justification should be needed.
It sounds like fluff to say that living in a sun filled climate would alleviate stress and worry but some of my most challenging moments in life happened prior to living here and during those times I was able to rationalize and keep perspective of those situations. There was no undercurrent of anxiety since I was mentally motivated to push through. My dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 while we were in Chicago and then died in 2006 while we were in California. Those six years were filled with stress, worry, fear, anger all the things that come along with terminal illness. But there was never that sense of hopelessness. I was still able to function and stay present and aware of our blessings. I started this blog shortly after he passed because I recognized the goodness in in my life and wanted to journal my happiness with my family and friends. I CRAVE TO GET THAT BACK. (healthier than craving carbs I guess.)
As I sit here 3 years later, that S.A.D. lingers even as we near the end of July. I tried so hard to mentally prepare myself for this change but until you actually live it, you never know what it's going to be like and how it's going to affect you. But today as I slept in the sun I felt a glimmer of my old self and that gave me some hope.