Every single year, I become victim to the infamous seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or winter depression. According to Mayo Clinic, SAD is defined as a type of depression related to seasons. It usually occurs around the same time of year, beginning in early fall and lasting throughout winter. For the intent and purpose of this blog post, it is merely caused by a lack of sunlight.
Most working individuals like myself, spend majority of their days in an office. If you are like me, this often means very little to no sunlight throughout the entire day. The lack of sunlight can be detrimental to one’s well-being because sunlight gives off vitamin D, which often produces energy. This is why most people tend to be happier in the summer, rather than in the winter. However, that is not to say winter depression is to fully blame. In fact, my frequent winter blues are at a much deeper level year round.
I am a master in the art of self-deception. I am not quick to acknowledge qualities about myself, especially bad ones or ones that further explain why I behave in certain ways. I am someone who tends to deny the truth in a statement or idea or definition, even if all evidence and logic says otherwise. I especially ignore these definitions when I fall under them. One of those definitions is general depression. I spent years of my life trying to deny that I struggled with depression, let alone that it even existed. Although I have never been diagnosed with depression, nor do I take any medication, it is a real and deep concern in my life.
I never wanted to admit that I had struggled with depression, and continue to do so. Depression is just another stigma topic in society. Everyone knows it exists, but no one wants to talk about it. Sadly, I became part of the stigma. I ignored it and I never talked about it. If I did, I always said, “Jesus is enough. If you fully trust in Jesus, you should never be depressed.” While on the surface that is accurate, in my experiences, depression is so much more than a lack of trust in Jesus.
For me, depression consists of a never-ending losing battle with my worst fears and thoughts about myself. In my depressed states, Jesus is entirely gone. In my depressed states, I am not myself. Often times, in the wake of a depressed state, I call myself “Satan’s minion.” It sounds horrible, I know, but it is true. When I am depressed, I am Satan’s pawn. He has complete control over me. Although, I can so desperately feel Jesus fighting for me. Oh, how He fights for me. It is the fiercest, most confusing battle that I am a part of.
Instead of fighting Satan with God, I usually give up. When I say usually, I mean 99.5% of the time. I become a sack of potatoes. Nothing and no one matters to me at the time. The only idea or thought that consumes my entire being is how worthless and unimportant I am. I escape the best way that I know how—sleep. When I am depressed, I sleep just to say I slept, not because I am tired or need the rest. At least in my sleep, I can escape my reality. Or so I think, anyway. After I wake up from a depression induced nap, I feel even worse than before. The idea of waking up from a bad dream and realizing it is your reality is ten times worse.
It makes sense why I feel this heavy weight of no accomplishment following said nap—I did not deal with the situation. I just buried it. Instead of fighting off the evil in my heart and mind, I let it control me and bury me in wallow and pity. I know some of you are probably thinking, well, just snap out of it. Rid yourself of your vice and you will be okay. I truly wish it was that easy. But, much like alcohol and nicotine, depression can often act like a drug.
I have struggled with depression for probably about three or four years. For three or years, I have fed off this drug of depression. I have listened to the lies in my head. I have tried nearly everything that I can to get rid of it. Thankfully, my depression is not too frequent. However, when it does occur, it is horrible. Sometimes, all it takes is one bad comment or bad afternoon, and I begin the all too familiar downward spiral.
Honestly, I do not know if there is a factual medical reason behind my kind of depression. I really do not know. With the advancements in the medical field, I am sure there is. Nevertheless, I do know winter depression does exist. I do know it is very real and very active in my life. While this season may be much harder than the last, I have to keep reminding myself that this is not my battle to fight. This is the Lord’s.
As a follower of Christ, I can combat the lies in my head with the power of His Word by meditating on it day and night. To be honest, that has been a struggle in my life. I can also keep myself from being stagnant and break the typical routine, even if it means walking outside in the cold just to get some fresh air and sunlight. Right now, I am at the point of just trying to figure out WHY it occurs. I am trying to pinpoint the lies or the previous actions that tend to lead to my depression, so I can stop it once and for all. No matter how I far I have left to go, I praise God that He is present and faithful, although I may forget or ignore Him when I need Him most. Time and time again, I say, He is not finished with me yet! He who began a new work in me, will continue to until the coming of Jesus.
Honestly, I do not know why I am telling all of you this. Telling anyone that I struggle with depression is always super awkward for me. Heck, I am still trying to make sense of it all myself. Nevertheless, I know I am not alone in this cabin fever-winter depression-where is the sun-season of the year. By the grace of God, I hope and pray these words may be an encouragement to someone.