Guest Author - Rev. Jaclin Meade Scott
This article has two parts: Why information on SAD is pertinent to us; and a review of an article. Gentlemen, please read both carefully. Ladies, this is for you, too.
SAD. When it’s all in capital letters, it stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Certain seasons make you feel less than happy, if not downright depressed.
Most often associated with winter doldrums, SAD is triggered by less sunlight, weather that prohibits activities, and increased stress levels from school or holidays. Loading on extra clothes only adds to the feelings of being smothered. Mention of back to school or holidays usually starts the downward spiral.
Some are surprised to learn that summer is a trigger for many people. Low tolerance for heat prohibits them from outdoor activities. Since nights don’t always offer relief, weeks of being ‘trapped’ in artificial environments can drive people to the brink. But at least in the house they can wear less than is required in public. Memorial Day, seed catalogs and camp brochures generate panic for these folks.
Symptoms of SAD may include changes in sleep patterns, increase or decrease in appetite, lack of energy, withdrawal from friends, family, and activities they used to enjoy. Pessimism. Gosh, this sounds like some other stuff, right? Depression, Bipolar, autism, dysthimia, gene mutation, sexual dysfunction, or - - - - ding ding ding - - - - - GRIEF!!
And what if you get SAD, but also have grief issues? Can there be sexual dysfunction without SAD? One can actually work up quite a lather, looking at the big picture. So what is the solution?
You’ve read it here before. You’ll read it again and again. Talk talk talk.
A professional counselor can help sort out the issues. In this case, a psychologist or psychiatrist is recommended, since all of these things are their field of expertise. Then, when you have identified the key issues, they can be addressed individually. Meds from the doctor. Grief therapy from that specialist. Behavior changes from the psych. Knowing what you’re dealing with decreases anxiety. A realistic and correct treatment plan will be much more successful than what you’ve guessed at after listening to a TV doctor for six minutes. Get real. Get help. Get over it. Get going.
We certainly want you to live a healthy, happy, productive life. We must also remember that none of us lives in a vacuum. While you are driving yourself batty, you tend to drag others down the twisted path with you. A young child has no defense against you going off the deep end. The trauma and the drama is not what a spouse originally signed up for. So, out of consideration for them, it behooves us to keep our heads on straight as much as possible. Aim for, keep a grip on, Shalom.
Speaking of grief issues, there is an article that cannot be recommended highly enough. “Mourning Has Broken” by Ian Wallach, appeared in the October 2010 issue of O magazine (link is below).
Besides being extremely well written, the piece is amazing on several levels. Admit it, guys, expressing your feelings isn’t your strong point, and we love you SO much anyway. Attorney Wallach has managed to find words to convey the depth of his grief after the loss of his child. To top that, he managed to get a few other men to open up. There were even tears, and it was okay.
You might want to sit down, there’s more.
Miscarriage, that taboo, is mentioned. Discussed. The doctor that didn’t acknowledge the child was dismissed, and happily, replaced by a more compassionate person. Family and friends did honor the child, and let the parents grieve. It mattered not that the loss was early in the pregnancy. It was their Baby.
Wonderful grief support methods are revealed. You’ll want to keep them on a list in a reference folder, or tucked in a Bible, praying you never have to use them.
At one point, the article bordered on fiction. The author was able to take two MONTHS off work, which he recognized was a luxury. He contrasts it with the men who had NO time off after a miscarriage, and how that affected them. As a culture, we desperately need to fall somewhere in between.
Everyone over the age of 15 needs to read this. If you know Mr. Wallach, beg him to write again as his journey continues. And please convey the deep gratitude of the Bereavement community.