I'm very excited, but also very nervous for the coming months!
The end of the year is always both beautiful and magical, another world of nature blooms and I cannot wait to photograph it with my new camera! I also can't wait for the early drawn evenings; allowing me to relax in front of the fire with my duvet, hot chocolate and a good movie, guilt free.
I'm going to New York at Christmas time again, which I'm super excited for (can't wait to get my camera out there either!), I absolutely love NYC and I always feel so at ease and anxiety free there. And who can forget Halloween and fireworks!
However, the last two years the cold months have left my mental health feeling fairly weak and susceptible. My anxiety had heightened, my depression at it's worst; leaving me to quit my job and retreat to my bedroom 24/7 (I left my job due to my mental health both in November 2015, and also February 2017). I really hope that this does not happen this year, but I know I need to prepare for it and also work towards some coping methods that can get me through it.
There are many people who suffer with a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and whilst I've never considered it enough to seek a formal diagnosis and consider myself to be burdened with the 'winter blues', I totally understand the hardship that it brings.
"Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter. The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They're typically most severe during December, January and February. SAD often improves and disappears in the spring and summer, although it may return each autumn and winter in a repetitive pattern.
via NHS official website."
At the moment when I'm feeling depressed I tend to go out with my camera for a walk, however the rain usually starts to come in as Autumn arrives (I'm sat here staring at a window splattered in raindrops) so I'm not sure how often I'll be able to do that.
My first priority is to ensure I have a daily to do list of boring self-care, such as making my bed and eating breakfast to ensure I'm physically looking after myself. It's all too easy to let these things slip once you're feeling low and then it's a slippery slope.
I've mentioned it before, but early this year Stress No More very kindly gifted me a Light Therapy Lamp which I found positive and useful. But, I don't think I got it quite early enough for the Winter months in all honesty. I will be getting it out very soon to sit on my dressing table and also in front of me when I sit on my laptop. Accompanied with that I will take daily Vitamin D supplements and have sun-beds where I can (love a good excuse to have a sun-bed) to cater for the lack of sunshine. The lack of daylight is a very big part of the struggle.
I feel now I know this may well be a recurring problem, I can begin to tackle it before it gets too difficult. A psychiatrist I saw early this year told me that you need to practice the self-care on the good days as well as the bad, which I firmly believe. Once I've developed a routine that I find successful I will be sure to post it to help anybody else who struggles.
To anybody else who suffers like this, I'd be glad to receive any tips or advice!