Seasonal Affective Disorder and Untidy Bedrooms

On top of my usual depression and anxiety, I also have seasonal affective disorder – and basically winter does a number on me. Today, the first weekend of February, coming out of a very long and cold January, I started cleaning up.

a huge improvement to my drawer

I’ve been living out of boxes for weeks now. My laundry goes into the box to come upstairs, it then sits in the box. I take clothes out of the box to wear them and then put them in a different box to get washed. I have drawers for clothes, for underwear, but I didn’t use them. 

The top drawer of my bedside cabinet was full of blister packs. And crumbs, and rubbish. It was hard at night to find the medication I take daily, even harder to find stuff in there I only needed from time to time. In the mornings, in the dark of 6.45am it was impossible to find my morning tablet. Some days I just had to skip it, but it was a big tablet in a bigger blister pack that was bright green. 

I’ve been listening to my tv shows and movies at night on the last pair of wired headphones I could find, attached to my hedphone which barely sat in the drawer. I coulnd’t find any of my bluetooth earphones. I’m stilling missing a pair but I think it’s under sofa or in my toddlers room. 

I couldn’t see my floor. What medication couldn’t fit in the drawer sat in boxes and bags on the floor. There were clothes, crumbs, cups, rubbish – stuff I chucked at the bin and missed promising myself I would pick them up in the morning. 

There were five mugs, three plates and a spoon on the  top of my bedside table. 

This is the worst it’s been for a few years now. I’ve been telling myself this is the weekend I clean it up for a month. 

This weekend I actually cleaned it up. 

much better!

I don’t know why, there was something in the crunching of my children’s footsteps on the floor as they came to ask me questions this morning was humiliating, I guess is the word I’m looking for. I slept really well, 12 hours unbroken sleep (thank you medication) and Kitten, my cat, caught her first rat of the year – and then brought it into the house. 

Spring may not be here but it feels like there has been a change as we’ve gone from January to February.

I started with the medication and the drawer, sorted it out into regulars and extras. Got all the extra bits together in there and sorted, cleaned out all the rubbish and wiped it down. Cleaned everything off the top, put the books on the bookshelf, cleaned the surface. 

I cleaned the floor, sorted my small plushie collection on the windowsil and put my clothes away. Three boxes of clothes was sorted into work, day to day and scruffy days and put away. Socks and boxers were put away. 

I hoovered the floor, the hall, the kids rooms (after they had cleaned up). I had already done the living room, but I do that once a week anyway. 

And now it looks like a grown up lives there, not some sort of depressed gremlin. Granted the depressed gremlin will return but it’s greatly improved and while I have always been annoyed when doctors have talked to me about sleep hygiene, it’s definitely making me feel better and will do again tonight when I go to bed. 

I still need to sort out the extension lead for my cables, but it’s going to be nice to go to bed tonight and even nicer to write about it. 

The next phase of Spring is my office. Which isn’t a result of SAD, but more about a long term inability to get organised –  digitally I am very organised, physically less so. But I am hopeful that I can get it to some semblance of usability next weekend. 

I am trying my best to keep up with a decent pace but not overdo it and trigger a flare up of my chronic pain. The messy state of things causes me stress and also causes flare ups so it’s a stressfull messy cycle I get stuck in.

That is the the nature of the depression however. You need more than you have available to get yourself out of it, and then you feel worse with each day that passes without progress or improvment despite not being able to do anything. 

I wish however that I was able to get more support to deal with winter. Getting help it easier when i’m feeling better and I feel I inadequatly explain how bad things arre for me. Last year I spent so many evenings in bed rather than doing something, anything else. This year I did a little better but slipped in other places. I still had to take January off from anything extra and only worked and did stuff with the kids. 

Despite my efforts, I was still left to deal with the SAD alone with nothing from any health professionals to get make my life a little easier. And I’m sure the same will happen next year. If you work a 9 to 5, your options are limited until you’re in a crisis. Even if you don’t work, you’re still hindered by a severally underfunded mental health system that merely plugs leaks rather than deals with the structure.

So I take my meds, request changes when I feel like they’re not working and muddle along as best I can each winter. I never get to crisis point. At least what the NHS would consider crisis point, I would say the complete chaos of my life should be considered a crisis of sorts.

For now, my room is clean, and spring is coming and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

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