Thursday, February 5, 2009

SAD Update

It’s been a few weeks now since I put myself on high alert for Seasonal Depression. In terms of mood I’m definitely doing well still, but I have noticed myself exhibiting some of the other symptoms of the disorder.

Here’s how I’ve done at following my own guidelines for staying mental-healthy:

Waking up 30 minutes early to journal in front of a full spectrum light
At first this was really difficult because I was having trouble getting to sleep at night, and then didn’t want to lose that half hour of sleep in the morning. But, this week I’m doing better and I find the headstart does help the rest of my day. (5/10)

Going to the gym 5 days a week
I’ve done really well at this. I take a gym bag to work with me and then just stop on my way home. Tuesday I even stopped on my way back after having dinner with a friend. (10/10)

Avoiding carbs and eating plenty of proteins and vegetables
This one I’ve only done so-so with. Breakfast and lunch have been ok most days, but for dinner I’ve almost always had something sugary or carb loaded. For a few days I was eating almond butter right out of the jar with a stick of dark chocolate. You can’t even imagine how delicious that was. But healthy? no. (2/10)

Making sure to take a break from work between 10 and 2 to get natural light
I’m about half and half on this one. This week has been a stressful one at work, and I don’t want to be away from my desk in case a last minute item shows up and has to be uploaded to our system. Next week things should slow down though. (5/10)

Taking a muli-vitamin every day

Getting full 7.5-8 hours sleep each night (but no more)
Most nights it’s been either 7 hours or 10. I need to watch this one more (3/10)

Making at least 2 plans each week to get together with friends
:) (10/10)

Taking a walk each weekend –
No weekend walks, but I have started walking to the train station instead of taking the bus in the morning. That means a 20 minute walk outdoors every day when I need it most. I’ll give myself half credit for that. (5/10)

Total 50/80 = about 63%

But is it working? Here’s how I’d rate my symptoms currently (Symptoms as according to, a website that I’ve never used before, and basically am only citing because they conveniently listed the symptoms with bullet points so I didn’t have to read the whole article, so don’t judge me if it turns out they’re a front for scientology or something):

A change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods
I haven’t been craving sweet or starchy, but I’ve been craving greasy pizza every day. SAD score - 7/10

Weight gain
No weight gain per se, but I have been going to the gym 5-6 days a week and haven’t lost weight, so maybe that counts. SAD score – 5/10

A drop in energy level
Not too much of this so far. I think this is where the gym visits and forced daylight are coming into play. SAD Score - 1/10

Today I’m coming down with a cold, but the fatigue isn’t any worse than my usual cold/flu sleepiness. SAD Score – 2/10

A tendency to oversleep
Saturday and Sunday I’ve been sleeping in LATE, but during the week I’ve managed to get up on time or early and to get to work on time. SAD Score – 3/10

Difficulty concentrating
Here’s the biggie, and despite my best efforts every day I get more distracted. SAD Score – 8/10

Irritability and anxiety
I haven’t been especially anxious, but I have been snappish and irritable. When I’m alone I feel fine and good moodish, but I can tell by the walking-on-eggshells voice Greg has been using with me lately and the way that somebody on the bus inevitably ticks me off on every commute that there might be something going on. SAD Score – 7/10

Increased sensitivity to social rejection
This one surprisingly not too bad. Despite the poor economy and the frequency with which people in my industry are being laid off, I feel fairly confident at work and like my coworkers like and respect me. SAD Score – 1/10

Avoidance of social situations and a loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy
Why is it that all summer skiing sounds like a blast, but when the season actually comes it just sounds like a lot of work? Oh yeah, because of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have been making a point of getting together with friends, and I always have a good time, but lately I do find myself dreading socializing for a few hours before I see them. I just never feel like I'm going to have the energy to interact and be interesting. Also, I've lost interest in tv which is probably a good thing, but is out of character for me. SAD Score – 8/10

Total 42/90 = about 47%

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I don't usually think of myself as struggling with SAD, but I do have an awful lot of those symptoms. I've been trying to walk outside at least every other day. When I am outside, I usually feel happier. Your plans are good. I'm impressed with your gym-going.