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Annie Storkey

The highs and lows

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I had a bout of depression for a week or so after Christmas. This is not unusual, in fact, it is a feature of the Christmas holiday for me. But I thought I would unpack it a little.

The most obvious reason for depression during December is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Like many manic depressive, I do have SAD. As well as the lack of happy inducing sunlight, with the resultant low vitamin D levels, I am very responsive to changes in mood and routine and the changes in the seasons are a cycle of this. Mania will come in Mad March, as it always does. But it is more than SAD, over Christmas my routine is altered in many ways and this impacts on my moods.

I really like the excitement of Christmas. I love buying people presents, planning and making the food, decorating the tree and making people happy. And I start my Christmas planning early as my anxiety does not like last minute rushes. But, of course, after Christmas this winds down and it is then the depression comes. This mirrors my normal bipolar cycle; after a period of mania I have a short period of depression. It reminds me how important a regular routine is to maintain my mental equilibrium.

This week my depression has lifted. I am back into my work routine and, despite my husband having been away on business in the US for 10 days from New Year, I have managed to keep everything at home running like clockwork. Today I went for my morning walk in the cold frosty morning with a clear blue sky and saw buds appearing on some trees. Spring will soon be with us.


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