Opening lines

Confession: Um. I have a propensity toward seasonal depression.

The fancy word for it is SAD—Seasonal Affective Disorder—an elaborate way of saying I have trouble handling winter. My body and mind react to the lack of sunlight in the winter months, resulting in varying levels of despondency.

I hate this bent in myself. I want to outlast the winter with charisma, energy, and hope. This year I have nice chunks of all three left to me, but I feel the diminishing, the exhausting, like a salt block set out in the fall licked by too many deer and raindrops. I need sunlight.

I was asked to share my SAD story with a class tomorrow, maybe 15 people, and I’m excited and worried. This week I’d like to share parts of it here as well–give you a few snapshots from the darker places Jesus has met me. I would so much rather chaff with you, keep it cool and make you fall off your chair laughing. But I can’t just now.

It is hard to write when I feel gray. It is hard to get out with people. It is hard to focus, to make decisions, to care about stuff, to engage.

Yet I bless Jesus for the healing I’ve experienced. He brought me out of intense darkness into this resting place of grace.

Do any of you identify with my tendency? Maybe you or someone you love has struggled with a similar issue?

Click “Next” at the top of this post to read the rest of the story.

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Mom Coblentz
11 years ago

Can’t relate at all on a personal level, only by walking with friends/daughter, but I think you’re a mighty brave lady to talk about it in class and here. You may never find out how much your courage and words help another. Blessings tomorrow!

Janelle Glick
11 years ago

I am totally with you. After each baby, I have struggled with post partum depression – and it increases dramatically in the winter months. I eagerly await your posts this week. I am cheering for you as you speak in class and here on your blog. You are a gutsy lady – I say that with great respect! 🙂

11 years ago

Blessings as you share your journey, Shari. I think more ladies struggle with this than want to admit it. We all want to be viewed as lovely, vivacious, and energetic. No one wants to be thought of as discouraged, lazy, draggy. I’ve had real experiences with this– and it seems that people don’t understand WELL, until they’ve gone through it themselves.

I’m with you on the phrase “give you a few snapshots from the darker places Jesus has met me.” Just prior to my depression via Lyme Disease, there was a new song called “If it takes a valley”. I loved the song, but months later, I regretted singing the words. I meant them, but didn’t realize where they would take me.

“If it takes a valley, to really know your grace
And if it’s in the desert where I meet you face to face
Then turn this path I’m travelling to some dark and lonely place
Cause if it takes a valley, then a valley’s what I’ll take.”

I met Jesus in my valley. In a way I hadn’t experienced before or since. Jesus is close when we are tried. Even when we don’t feel it.

11 years ago

I can’t wait to hear what you are going to say… I really wish I could sit in on that class.

Depression has hit me in the last three years and it has been such a foreign struggle. I never, in all my wildest imaginations, expected that I would be faced with this – and not even just seasonally!

I could almost cry thinking that you are going to share bits of your story. I know I will learn from you.

11 years ago

I would love to listen to you talk to the class. Grace to you…
Your story draws me nearer to Jesus even though I haven’t had to walk in this particular valley.
Love you!

11 years ago

Yes, I identify. I struggle with this also. I am looking forward to what you have to share and to learning from your experience! Blessings in your openness and vulnerability! You are brave. May you have grace and freedom in sharing tomorrow.

11 years ago

I would love to hear your talk, and look forward to reading what you share here. I struggle with SAD myself, and it’s a million times (exaggerating for effect) worse when I am pregnant and sick, or have a baby and can’t get out much. I think you live in a area that’s comparably gloomy to our area, and that makes it even worse, I think.

11 years ago

Yes. I identify with your tendency. But you already knew that.

Why isn’t PA closer to Alberta? I want to hear you speak about SAD. All the best. And thank you for sharing about it here too. I’ll be checking in.

Joanna Yoder
11 years ago

Wishing, too, that I could sit in on your class! SAD has been a real part of my life for a decade, combined with PPD following my 2nd pregnancy, and depression surrounding two subsequent miscarriages. It’s no laughing matter. It’s real, it’s frightening at times, and it hurts. Last winter was the best I’ve had in years. We don’t know if it was because of the mild winter, or because I’ve been taking Vitamin D every day for about 2 years, or if my hormones were finally leveling out—or a combination of the three. Whatever it was, we thanked God for the break. But I still feel like SAD has stolen part of me, and I wonder if it will ever come back.

11 years ago

SO many things I could say and ask. SAD is not a joke. Neither is PPD and its unkind little friends. Healing is a huge journey in my experience.
A “happy light” made a huge difference for my SAD tendencies! Think I’ll buy insurance for today and go read under it for a few minutes. I have not seen the sun in about 5 days. At. all.
I don’t know if you know where all I have been in the last 3.5 years. I blogged about it occasionally. Join me if you want… solacemama.blogspot

11 years ago

Proud of you, girl…

11 years ago

Well, ditto to every comment about wishing I could be there to hear you speak. I get a version of this as well, but for me it’s the opposite – in the summertime. I’m serious. By August, I’m tired of the heat, the sunshine all the time, being uncomfortable, etc. I just prefer the cold months and being indoors. I can’t complain to anyone because everyone thinks I’m nuts and they love being outdoors, etc. and they minimize the way I’m feeling so I zip a lip. Facebook is filled with people saying they wish the summer could go on forever, but I’m not one of them. I do love springtime and fall, and even the summer months for a while but I’m pretty much over it by the end of June. I’m happy we’re able to both live in areas where the seasons change (I’m in St. Louis) so I know it won’t last forever – even though it may feel like it.

11 years ago

Yup. Got that SAD at our house too. We are wiser about how to manage it, and understand it better than we used to, but it still whips us sometimes. . . . Were we able to afford it, we would vacation for two or three weeks down South every winter. Alas, that is but a dream. So we plod onward, knowing and believing that spring is coming . . . and that we will feel better then–just in time for our seasonal allergies to kick into high gear. Needless to say, some of us are NOT moving to the Northland. Nor clear deep down South. We are trying to strike a happy balance between needing sunshine, and needing the cold to kill off pollen for a few months.

11 years ago

I’m with you. This year has been a bit better since we’re gone for several weeks to a Bible school. I love being with people and so that has helped bring me some life this winter. But typically winter is a dark time for me and yes, it often feels like people think I’m strange. I could really relate to what Renita said above: We all want to be viewed as lovely, vivacious, and energetic. No one wants to be thought of as discouraged, lazy, draggy.

10 years ago

Shari, I was in that class last winter, and you have no idea how much I’ve pondered your words since then. The doctor’s questions, your anger, your tears, your fight to conquer your demons… It was all so very pertinent to me. When I walked in and saw the photo of your son in the culvert, I had a serious battle not to burst out sobbing. That picture says it all. (Ok, gotta confess. When I found it on your blog a while back, I took a screen shot, and it’s now the wallpaper on my phone home screen. Blush…) I think it’s safe to say that that day in that class was life-changing for me. It helped me understand my own feelings better, understand how seriously to take them, and realize the need to share/confess my battle and the power that carries. I hated being just one of the line of polite thank-you’d that filed out the door past you, because I wanted you to know for real how desperately meaningful it really was to me PERSONALLY. Thank you forever for being brave and vulnerable enough to get up there (in those oh-my-goodness-adorable little boots) and peel open your soul to us. To at least one jumbled girl in that class, Jesus spoke and is speaking yet.

10 years ago
Reply to  Kendra

Now you’re making me cry.

I always love your comments here and had thought to myself – now there’s a girl I’d like to meet in person. I had no idea I already had, sort of. Thanks so much for your brave words. Let me know the next time you’re in town…

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