Case Study – Seasonally Affective Disorder SAD: Linda

disclaimer: results may vary

Linda looked at the list of symptoms and projects on the Resolution Magic website – and ticked almost every one!

Physical symptoms – Depression (Seasonally Affective Disorder), neuralgia, migraine

Unwanted feelings – dread, lethargy, dislike of housework and worrying

Linda, now still looking a very young 62, had a multitude of problems.  As she looked down the list of symptoms on the website, she mentally ticked almost every one.  At some time in her life she had suffered most of the symptoms listed. She contacted me in August 2009.

Linda’s troubles had all begun one day in her late 30’s, on a long car journey with her husband and her two children, going on holiday to Cornwall.  As soon as they arrived, Linda went straight to bed in a darkened room, feeling so terribly nauseous and unwell.  Strangely, since that time, every journey to a holiday destination has ended with Linda having a migraine, sometimes lasting the first 2-3 days of the holiday. As the years rolled on, neuralgic pain and headaches became more and more prevalent in Linda’s life.

While she was working, Linda used to get migraines regularly, every weekend.  Weekdays were never ‘clear’; there was always a pain somewhere in the head area, around her sinuses, her jaw, or anywhere on her face. Every day for many years, Linda took pain-killers – if it wasn’t for one pain, it was for another!

After leaving work, at the age of sixty, the migraines became much less of a problem – perhaps one every other month. The problem then became depression.  Linda felt a blackness that was quite unreasonable.  She seemed to feel so ‘low’ without any real cause. Linda’s doctor noticed that this depression happened mainly in the winter months, and he prescribed an antidepressant. Linda hated the dark winter months.  The antidepressants may have helped a little, but they didn’t lift her spirits very high.  She didn’t feel back to normal until the month of May arrived.

One of the physical symptoms that frequently occurred when Linda first came to me was neuralgia in her sinuses.  It could be triggered by any breeze, from a window, or while out walking, and especially the air conditioning fans in a car.

The other problem that worried Linda was the fact that she was a worrier!  Even when there was nothing to worry about, she felt as though she was worrying.  Quite often she would stop for a moment, and try to remember what it was that she was worrying about.

For instance, recently, Linda’s grown-up son had been considering buying a house.  Linda had worried incessantly in case it turned out to be a mistake. When she thought about it, it filled her with a feeling of dread, but her logic would reason that it might be perfectly alright. In the middle of the night, it seemed like it could be the worst mistake of his life. In the light of the next day, it didn’t seem so bad again. The trouble is, how do you stop yourself from worrying!

Linda’s first task was to listen to the Magic Carpet exercise on the CD in her pack. It took just 35 minutes, and Linda listened to it just before she went off to sleep that night.   And then, the following day, Linda telephoned me and I explained the next step – how to do the Resolution Magic mental exercises.

For the worrying, Linda began to do the Resolution Programme for Unwanted Feelings (page 69 of the book).  She began the exercises whenever she felt herself with the ‘dreaded feeling’ about her son buying a house – or anything else she was worrying about.

For the sinus neuralgia, Linda could take the opportunity whenever she was travelling in the car, to switch on the air conditioning and create a slight air movement.  Then for just 15 seconds, she could do some Resolution Magic exercises (page 88 of the book). As time went by, she could increase the air movement, until it was no longer a trigger.

To reduce the depression, Linda did a one-minute exercise, four-to-six times a day, as far as possible. Linda could also do just one extra exercise, the ‘Rehearsal’ (page 65 of the book) for her occasional migraine.

After a week, I telephoned Linda to see how she was getting on.  She was feeling a little better.  She had noticed that she was now sleeping much better, a full six hours, so different to the fitful sleep she had become accustomed to.  As we discussed how she was getting on with the plan, Linda realised that she wasn’t doing any Resolution Magic exercises at all in the morning.  When she woke up, she felt so tired that she hadn’t considered beginning the active sessions until much later.

Linda was surprised when I explained that this tired feeling can also be a symptom.  I suggested that she did a ‘fast start’ exercise as soon as she woke up.  (Page 101 of the book) Each morning, Linda did this routine.   It soon began to make a difference.

A few days later, Linda suddenly found herself smiling.  Most people wouldn’t notice themselves smiling, but Linda didn’t often feel like smiling, so it was something she could really appreciate.

There were times when Linda was still worrying at night, so she began the ‘cinema routine’ – explained in page 71 of the book – so that she could re-train her mind to switch off properly at night.

One morning, at 5am, a headache appeared. There were pains in her jaw and her ears.  It could be the beginning of a migraine.  Linda immediately got out of bed and did a one-minute exercise, aiming it at her head, jaw and ears.  And then she went and made a cup of tea.  She took a chance, and didn’t take any paracetamol.  Before she got back into bed, she gave it another one-minute exercise.

All that day, her mind seemed to begin to ‘swim’ as if a migraine was about to begin.  She felt irritable, but the migraine didn’t develop, quite an achievement.

Linda identified the ‘swimming’ feeling and the irritability as early-warning signals of a migraine, so she could work directly on these whenever they appeared, repeating half-minute exercises every hour.  By working on the early signs, Lynda began to turn any migraine attacks around at a very early stage.

There were many projects in Linda’s Resolution Magic Programme.  One day, while we were talking on the telephone, Linda began to tell me about how she disliked some of the jobs that she did around the house.  I listened carefully as she told me how she would try and get things done as quickly as possible, and then she wondered why she should have to do them at all.  It all seemed so pointless.  I told Linda about someone else who had felt housework was all so pointless.

I remembered having a conversation like this once before, to a man who would never begin a job because ‘he didn’t see the point’, even though logically, he liked the idea of keeping his house clean and tidy.  It was great when jobs were done, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to do them.

I asked him to tell me precisely what he did, when he had a job to do.  He told me how he washed the car and then put the bucket and the cloths away.  He told me how he mowed the grass and then he put the lawn-mower away.  He told me how he dried the dishes and put them away.  After every task, he ended it by putting things away.  I asked him if he had ever stopped to appreciate his work.  He thought about it, and then he said that there was no point appreciating it, because it would still need doing again before too long.

I asked him to make a small change.  He was to stand back after every single job that he did, and appreciate it for a few seconds.  He was to thank himself for doing it, and tell himself that it looked nice.  He laughed at the thought of himself doing this, but he did it.

It wasn’t long before he began to feel that sense of job-satisfaction that made it all worth-while.  This change meant that the sequence of doing a task would always end in a ‘good feeling’.  This is what makes you look forward to getting on with your work.  If you miss this last step out of daily chores, you have lost the best bit!

I asked Linda to make sure that she stayed a few moments at the end of each job of housework, so that she could begin to enjoy them too.

In October, 2009, Linda set off on a journey to go on holiday to Spain.  On her return, I caught up with the news. There had been no migraine on her arrival at the holiday destination, (hooray!) and the whole week’s holiday passed without any symptoms.

However, since being home, Linda had some neuralgic pains around the face, but she kept on with the exercises, just as she should. There had been no sign of the depression, even though it was well into October.   Linda was on track, so I encouraged her to just keep on doing what she was doing, because it was working.

I often find that the basic programme covers most symptoms and feelings, and while it is continuing to reduce symptoms, I leave well alone.   The ‘worrying’ and the neuralgia continued to come and go, while all the while Linda continued to work on them.

In January 2010, Linda was still improving, but she had noticed that as soon as she woke up every morning, she had a feeling of dread.  When people have been on the programme for a while, they begin to notice things that they had previously ignored.

Linda put this ‘feeling of dread’ down to worrying about her son, but I reassured her that there was no need to find a reason for it.  Many people get a feeling like this, with or without any rationale. I suggested that as soon as Linda woke up, she was not to move a muscle, and she was to do some mental exercises (the 3 BIG Go Aways, page 63) before she got out of bed.

It was now January, 2010, and Linda remembered back to the previous January, when she had been so miserable. The depression had lasted from September to the following May. Her sinuses had been permanently painful too; she remembered that it felt as if she had been punched in the cheek.  At that time, she had a thyroid test, and she was prescribed thyroxine.  However, the medication didn’t seem to change any of her symptoms, including the depression.

One year after beginning the programme, there were still some fleeting pains around Linda’s face and sinuses, but they didn’t last long, and her sinuses no longer reacted to the slightest breeze or the air-conditioning in the car.

The depression was so much less, in fact, it was quite different.  The psychological symptom of depression was changing into a feeling of lethargy.  Linda felt so tired.  She felt ‘lazy’, as if she couldn’t be bothered to do anything. And yet, she toyed with the idea of taking piano lessons, so part of her was feeling more energetic.

She was still waking up with a feeling of dread, but it had reduced to about half.  On the darkest days, when the skies were a dark-grey, she still felt quite low.

This now seemed to me very much like Seasonally Affected Disorder, and when people suffer from this, they can have a multitude of related symptoms, like perpetual sore throats and colds which all disappear when the SAD goes away.

I recommended that Linda now address this S.A.D, head-on.  Twice every day, she was to address this symptom (see page 47 of the book).  It wasn’t long before Linda appreciated feeling normally good every day.

Linda’s case history illustrates the way telephone coaching helps to identify unwanted feelings and symptoms.  The support helps you to keep focussed on your programme, and really appreciate each improvement as it comes along.