Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Birder With No Toleration for Winter

I have a tendency not to write entries that are even remotely off-topic from birding, but I noticed my entries have been not so forthcoming in the past few months. Of course, the time change and much, much shorter days do not help, as I was doing quite a bit of birding in the late afternoon. But I have also been feeling horrible since mid-October. Needing to sleep 8-9 hours a night and tossing and turning through odd vivid dreams and nightmares and waking up exhausted anyway, feeling mildly awake for about 3 hours and then being tired again by 4 PM and seriously needing a nap by 8 PM...lack of concentration, a ruination of memory, irritability, bouts of seriously intense inner rage, boredom, anxiety, depression, less desire for socialization, constantly hungry for carbs, always cold no matter what...really kills my ability to get up early to go out and enjoy what little sunlight we have and to be fascinated by the colors and sounds and behaviors of our winter birds. I sit here nodding off at my laptop over a book or bowl of food around dinnertime and am unable to function for the rest of the evening and night (unless I'm at work, and my evening job is easy as pie). Emails sit in the inbox for days and I forget they are even there sometimes. Minor errands and chores not getting done for days because I have no energy and no motivation. I dread Christmas as I have not even begun shopping because I can't drag myself to the store and the mental energy needed to decide gifts is too much. I feel like I'm drowning in a deep brain fog...

*shakes first at the sky*

Is it spring yet?


Woodswalker said...

Sounds like you have all the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, better known as the Winter Blahs. I've read somewhere that you can use special kinds of lights to relieve this depression. Check it out. Exercise really helps (dancing to R&R is best!) even when you don't feel like it. But it's also OK to hibernate, take the pressure off yourself and just hunker down. Just a few more days now, and the sun starts coming back. Hang in there!

Lindsey said...

You're right on, I was diagnosed in 2003 or 2004...this is the worst year I've had so far. I wish I could afford a light box, I think true 'full sprectrum' lights aren't sold in stores (I should have another look at Lowe's though). I certainly need more exercise overall. Can't wait for the longer days to come back!

suep said...

Ah yes, try to get outside as much as possible - even just to pick a spot in the sun and huddle down (and let the birds come to YOU) -
they say at this latitude even the sunlight isn't strong enough to help with SAD - but BEWARE of some full-spectrum lights.:
I had bought a single bulb Chromalux, and put it into a desk lamp, sinceI spent lots of time at a desk in the winter.
That was also the time I was trying out contact lenses (unsuccessfully), and sitting at the desk in front of a mirror, holding my eyelids open to get the lens out. I got up for a moment, walked away and heard this POP ! The Chromalux bulb had burst into a hundred sharp curvy pieces of glass, which were all over the desk, where I had just been sitting moments before. God was looking out for me THAT day !
But you might need a whole box of lights, for SAD. It might be worth it.

Lindsey said...

I have been meaning to be sneaky and hide near the suet feeder and just watch! :) It's right in the sun, though I know what you mean by the sun at this latitude not being enough.

That's scary! You could have had exploding glass in your eye! :o Maybe that's why full spectrum bulbs aren't frequently sold in stores, hmm...I'd definitely like to get a light box someday though.

I also wonder if vitamin D supplements would help, I know for sure I don't get much in my diet these days. Might have to go get some delicious Silk soymilk. :)