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Winter depression & seasonal affective disorder

16 Feb
More winter depression and seasonal affective disorder? Check out this question from a successful working mother, who feels she has no reason to complain, and yet feels pretty miserable..
Dear BR,
My question is similar to Joan''s - depression, what to do to add excitement to life. I am not close to retiring but have 3 small children, have a full time job and a husband. All of the above are awesome things in my life but I recently was diagnosed with clinical depression and am frustrated because I have so many great things (healthy kids, living husband, great job) and can not get excited about anything. How do I understand, accept and move forward with getting excited again?

Sybil



Dear Sybil,
Well, I suppose one thing you could do is stop criticizing yourself for being depressed. Since the main feature of depression is self-criticism and self-hatred, the fact that you''re annoyed with yourself for being miserable is not helping.

I would suggest that there''s simply not enough information. Something is going on that you need to pay attention to, but it''s not clear what it is. Perhaps it''s as simple as not getting enough sunlight or a biochemical imbalance. Maybe it''s as complicated as a difficult relationship, compounded by harsh standards that you impose on yourself to make everything perfect. Maybe this is just an over-full time in your life - filled with wonderful things, perhaps - but with zero degrees of freedom for you. (I remember when my kids were small and I was working and homemaking and trying to do everything, my idea of heaven was going to a restaurant by myself and having a solo lunch with a good book!). Maybe you''re so busy, you''ve stopped connecting to friends. Maybe you need to ask for help from others.

So, as I said to Joan, don''t rush to override this before you understand it. Take some time. Check in with yourself. See what''s going on. Talk to someone. Try to be honest with yourself about how you really do feel, not how you''re supposed to feel. And please stop criticizing yourself for being unhappy.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award