I experience schizoaffective depression and must also cope with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder means just what it says – you suffer from clinical major depression more acutely in the winter. That happens to me. But I also get extremely anxious in the summer. Here’s how I’m coping with SAD and schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type.
Coping with Schizoaffective Depression and the Winter Blues
It’s not as simple as saying I get anxious in the summer and depressed in the winter. I get anxious and depressed, it seems, in extreme weather conditions. This time of year, I’m dealing with schizoaffective depression and the SAD that comes with it.
In the winter, I use a light therapy lamp for 20 minutes every morning to compensate for the painfully short stretch of daylight outside. A light therapy lamp emits light that simulates daylight. It looks a lot like a lightbox. I sit about two feet away from the light source every morning and occasionally glance towards the actual light.
I also try to get out in the sunshine as much as possible in the winter.
It doesn’t help, though, that this winter I’m terrified of driving in the snow. I know once I actually drive in the snow I’ll see that it isn’t so bad. But my anxious, schizoaffective brain is telling me I’ll get into an expensive fender-bender. I try to comfort myself with knowing an accident can happen under all weather conditions. But, like Alice in Wonderland, I give myself very good advice and very seldom listen to it.
I’m Brave to Face My Schizoaffective Anxiety and Depression Every Day
The light therapy lamp does seem to be helping my schizoaffective depression, though it doesn’t and, isn’t designed to, help with feeling so very anxious. I’m sometimes too anxious to do anything as simple as fry eggs or take a bath. If I fry eggs, I’m afraid I’ll burn down the apartment. If I take a bath, I’m afraid I’ll find something weird floating in the water that will freak me out. The thought of a shower freaks me out, too. I can’t fully explain why these things scare me—they just do.
I didn’t even want to get out of bed this morning because I was so terrified of how my anxious, schizoaffective brain would freak me out all day. But, I did get out of bed, and the experience made me realize I have to give myself credit for going through my day, day in and day out. It’s hard getting through one hour when I feel that I can’t trust my own thoughts. My therapist and I are working on that. We’ve talked about giving myself a reality check when I need to. Usually, it works. And the reality checks are in my thoughts, too.