As the days get shorter, the weather cooler, many people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as Seasonal Depression. As I recall sessions I have had with clients over the years and the ways they've expressed feelings during this time of year, I also recall a time in my own life in which I felt my lowest.
'The water is warm, just right- not too hot, not too cold. I climb into the tub, so excited to sit in silence and cry, scream, or... nothing. The longer I sat, the more relaxed I became, and everything was still and quiet. This was nice, and this made me not so anxious, not so depressed. In this moment, I didn't have to be "Dani J."- Miss Enthusiastic, Miss Overachiever, Miss I Want to Save the World; in this moment, I was Danielle. I stayed in the tub for what seemed like hours. The thought of getting out of the tub and not being in that moment was just too much. After a while, I put my head under the water and, for a split second, I wanted to stay under longer. The water was so deeply relaxing, enticing me to stay longer. Maybe I was overwhelmed and needed a quiet space for a minute. Perhaps there was a deeper reason; but, I decided not to stay under longer. I lifted my head out of the water, and I got out of the tub.'
That time in my life was so tough. There were so many things happening all at once, and that was one of the hardest periods of anxiety and depression that I've experienced. But it was not the first and hasn't been the last. I've had anxious days, depressing nights, times in which I wondered how the water felt. It's taken some time, but I'm now in a place where I purposefully find new ways to love Me, to make Me happy, to treat Me well... to stay above water.
My hope is that anyone reading this can find comfort in knowing you are not alone, you are not your anxiety, you are not your depression or whatever you may be experiencing. You are a person that is or has gone through a challenging time in your life. Although there may be times in which holding your head above water isn't easy, please know it can and does get better. If you or someone you know needs help, don't be afraid to seek it.
National Suicide Prevention
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friendâ€™s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.
About the author:
Danielle Jackson is a Master's level Mental health Counselor. Throughout her ten-year career in mental healthcare, she has worked with the entire lifespan from infancy to end of life. Through her work over the past ten years, she has held roles as an early childhood educator, case manager, therapist, crisis interventionalist, and residential housing support provider. Ms. Jackson has a Bachelor's of Science in Child Development and Family Studies from Middle Tennessee State University and a Master's of Science in Counseling and Human Development from Lindsey Wilson College. Ms. Jackson will soon obtain the certification of Certified Professional Life Coach and is currently seeking licensure credit towards becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
(Reposted 9:13 11/01/21)
Photography credit: Tess Surratt Photography