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Let the light shine in

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Winter sucks!?The dark days, cold temperature and risk of being snowed in are definitely at the top of my list of unfavourable things. This statement is only heightened however, when you have a child with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – which I do.
My oldest daughter has always had problems with anxiety and controlling her emotions. Since she’s been little she was always needing more attention, more guidance and more assurance for normal, everyday tasks than the others. However, for roughly seven months of a year, this was always highly amplified.
Towards the middle of November when the temperature really starts to plummet and snow covers the ground we are usually dealing with one meltdown after the other, until spring returns and our gentle, sweet child returns to her natural state.
Like other forms of depression, SAD brings in major changes in mood such as irritability, low energy, changes in eating and sleeping and less time being social.
For my daughter, it all comes down to how she is able to handle things and most of the time she feels like it’s all too much. She believes the world is piling up on top of her, she is much more sensitive to what people say or how she’s treated and she wishes to spend a lot more time alone in her room to hide from it all.
While this winter has notably been better than some, the temperature of the last couple of weeks seems to have kicked her into overdrive to make up for lost time.
A few years ago we split up the winter for her with a trip to Florida and it was the best winter she’s ever had. While we can’t afford to do that every year we noticed that summer things tend to help pull her out of the darkness for bits at a time.
It is since known in our house that when the sun is out all the blinds are swung open to let in the light.
We’ve made it a weekly tradition to go swimming on Mondays and we’ve made Summer Saturdays a thing in our house complete with popsicles and pineapples and summer-like crafts.
Of course, feeling like this can be confusing at such a young age and knowing that it’s not always something she can control, can leave her feeling helpless.
We’ve explained it to her as if she’s solar-paneled like the lights that line the garden and that has been the only thing that seems to have caught on in her mind.
She’ll now tell me that she feels like she doesn’t have enough battery to do something and tell me to shut the lights off in her room so she can recharge. It’s brought a little bit of humour to an otherwise complicated issue and to her that’s making a big difference.
Of course with her experiencing SAD it isn’t just her that has had to learn how to adjust. Trying to find extra quality time to spend with her became a priority, I need to constantly remind myself and others in our household to have a little more patience with her mood changes – which isn’t always easy let me tell you – and finding that fine line of understanding what she’s feeling while still not letting her get away with being mean has been the utmost hardest task.
At the end of a long seven months we are more than ready to let the light shine in and kiss the frosty temperatures that make her so sad away by welcoming a new spring.
Jakki Lumax was a full-time wife and mother of three young children until she found her professional calling in the newspaper business. Now, she works to find the balance between personal and work life while co-managing a martial arts gym and training as an amateur fighter. Amidst the chaos of life, Jakki shows that strength is not only found physically but also in words.

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER