1.27.2014

SAD Like Me

Today I am sitting in my newly de-cluttered and reorganized study. I can actually see the tops of both desks (AND the carpet!). My laptop is in its proper place, center stage on the writing desk. I can actually walk from one wall to its opposite (a distance of about 12 feet) without tripping over something. The WGH actually complimented me on a bit of d├ęcor I've employed to hold some of the books that are overflowing from the two barrister bookcases (aren't they adorable?):


What inspired this sudden urge to get my little life back in order? Sunshine and a guilty conscience.

At some point in the last three or four years, we discovered that I have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For those of you who think it's not a real thing, you can scoff and go your merry way, and more power to your constant happiness. And a loud raspberry to see you off. For those of you who sympathize - and there are probably more of you than not - SAD is a form of depression that is ... oh, so real. From about the middle of November until sometime in late January (or later, in some cases), I become fairly nonfunctional. I get irritable with people who ask me if I'm ready for Christmas in October. My snappy response is, "No. I have to take my holidays one at a time." It's the truth - because of this disorder, I have to concentrate on getting through, not necessarily a day at a time, but a week or so at a time, which can be a stretch. I have to concentrate on my home and my family; consequently, my career suffers. I don't write. I don't edit. I don't blog. I don't do much of anything. Even the TBR pile isn't a draw. And that's not like me at all.

This year has been a little bit better. Mainly because I've been prodded, from several sides, to get out of the house and do something besides suffer in the silent shadows of my dark and dismal depression. The WGH and I took a week-long vacation for our 25th anniversary, renting a cabin in the mountains near Gatlinburg. Relaxed and rejuvenated, and even ventured out for a walk through town, once the weather warmed up. A couple of weekends ago I rode down to the Coffee County Manchester Public Library Author Signing event with J.T. Ellison, met some of the nicest people, and was even graciously brought into the fold by the sweet ladies of the library who were in charge of the event. And last Thursday evening was spent in the company of some great folks at Literary Libations, a monthly "gathering of writers, journalists, poets, agents, publicists, book sellers, publishers, creatives, librarians, book readers and lovers of the written word", the brain child of J.T. and River Jordan that has been going strong now for nearly 2-1/2 years.

With these recent sojourns into the sunshine, my outlook on life has vastly improved. Motivation has started to creep back in, and this side of Monday isn't nearly as scary as it used to be.

The moral of the story is, I've decided that I can't use my diagnosis as an excuse. I can name (but won't, for the sake of privacy) at least four writers I know who were diagnosed in the not too distant past with some form of cancer. All are now in remission. All are still writing. So what's my problem? I have a manageable illness. I don't have to undergo surgery, or chemotherapy, or any of the other unpleasant things my friends had to endure. The most effective treatment for SAD is phototherapy - light, and lots of it. So I've rearranged the lighting in my study to achieve maximum benefit. The blinds are open. And here I sit, with a lovely view of the front garden and driveway and - you guessed it - the sunshine, and I'm writing. True, it's just a blog post, and it's certainly not going to burn like a comet across cyberspace (I have no illusions about my popularity). But still, I wrote it. I shared. There are several hundred more words that have been shifted from my sluggish brain to some form of permanency as a result, and even if only one other person in the world reads it, then I can say I've accomplished something.

No excuses.

Music of the Moment: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone soundtrack. The "boom box" is back in play (pardon the pun) as well.

On the Nightstand: I'm in the middle of several different books, each of which I've begun reading at intervals over the past several weeks - my reading goal for 2014 now in full swing. Among my collections of the best of such authors as Robert Louis Stevenson and William Shakespeare is a rather hefty volume of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Celebrated Cases of Sherlock Holmes, which I was prompted to read after finishing Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I'm also reading Drums of Autumn, fourth in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and a new ebook recently purchased after meeting author Kim Law at Manchester, Ex on the Beach. I'm treating this as another sign that I'm coming out of the funk - reading for pleasure and actually getting pleasure out of it. Maybe there's hope for me - after all, haven't I always said reading a book is good for you? So, what's your excuse?

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