Seasonal allergies & depression: my misfit PSA.

wpid 2012 04 06 08.01.54 300x225 Seasonal allergies & depression: my misfit PSA.

To know me (I typically add “in real life” here, but this time Im fairly certain I held it together notsomuch online either) is to know I’ve struggled recently.

I havent been myself.

Instead of leaping out of bed excitedly to greet the day—Ive dragged my sorry ass up & to the coffee maker whining the entire way.

Lamenting how exhausted I am.  Moaning about how I dont want to work. Groaning about bus stop waits & soccer practices.

This is totally not like me.

I love my workjob.  I cant believe Im paid to blog and write.

I’ve never needed an alarm because Im *always* eager to meet each morning (Im a puppy that way).

Now layer on top of the aforementioned whining a complete lack of interest in anything.

A longing to loll in bed all day.

Not reading & snacking or movie watching & munching  (two ways I readily acknowledge Id *always* wanna spend a day.  those are my ideas of day-perfection.), but just supine and, well, sad.

And, because Im nothing if not an Emmy-worthy actress (not), The Tornado began apologizing and proffering notes like the one pictured above.

(The note reads I am sorry Mom.  I cant blame being depressed for my not correcting the “sre” for sorry.  I was inexplicably mamatouched by her misspelling.)

Of course I told her she didnt do anything wrong.

Yes I let her know I was just sad and tired and I didnt know why.

And I didnt.

Id never been depressed & it was only when I cried to Ren Man about how I just didnt have it in me to work or tweet or facebook or do the laundry or brush my hair—-did it occur to me precisely what I was describing to him.

I wasnt myself.  I was a depressed version of me.  A version Id never been.

I immediately did what all good bloggers do when it’s nighttime & they thinks they’ve solved a problem: I hit Google to be sure.

I read lots of articles about allergies & depression and those (coupled with my chronically itchy, oozy eyes & throat so sore I felt as though I had strep) provided the OOOOH moment I needed.

I took action from there and learned my malaise was, indeed, linked to Austin’s chart-bursting pollen count.

Intellectually I knew I lived in the self- proclaimed ‘Allergy Capital of the USA’ yet since I had no idea about the link between seasonal allergies & depression it took far too long (and far too many depressed texts. sorry about that.) for me to put this all together.

Hence this almost-fitness but more mental health PSA.

Whether you live in the (Live Music &) Allergy Capital of the USA or not—-consider yourself warned and alerted.

Whether your signs of sadness & lethargy are seasonal allergy related or not—consider yourself more aware than I.

(We can discuss the fact I have my masters in counseling later if you’d like.  oops!).

Now you.

Have you ever experienced depression as a by product of seasonal allergies? Or does this, at first glance, all seem as off-the-wall to you as it did to me?
Have you experienced depression in general?  I know before I thought I was able to understand how it felt—–and I had no idea.

Id love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. says

    I had no idea but it doesn’t surprise me.

    I lie.

    I kinda knew there had to be link since I usually have to fight the black hole during spring and autumn. When I have DAYS of sneezing and whatnot, I have no patience, no energy, no motivation. It’s a killer.

    More than a few days and I have to drag myself out and get some activity or space. It’s also when The Boy has learnt to be extra nice to me.

  2. says

    Ah depression… the suck-the-joy-out-of-life black hole.
    No matter what causes it… it’s not fun being there and I’m sorry you are there.
    But you are so freakin’ wise to be talking/blogging about it. I stuffed my emotions (or lack thereof) and my depression for a time (too long!) and that was not wise!
    With time I admitted it and started going for counseling, but somedays all I could muster up energy for was to go pick a bunch of flowers, arrange them in a vase and put them on my table. That would bring me a measure of joy and peace.
    Flowers might not work for you with your allergies, but do one thing each day that brings you joy and know that life is good.

  3. says

    Please take care of you dear Carla. You give so much to others. Know I am always here for some jibberjabber on the phone :) xxox

  4. says

    i am sneezing and rubbing my eyes and i read this, plus i have coffee in hand. Enough said. I think its good to focus on what we can do and enjoy, instead of what we think we should be doing. Vent to me anytime. I am here.
    xxoo

  5. says

    I’ve never connected depression to allergies. I live in Nashville which must be a sister-city to Austin from an allergy perspective. This is good information.
    I have a history of clinical depression. I was on medication for a while, but now I manage it with clean eating (sugar heightens my issues), exercise and vitamin supplements.
    Glad you are blogging about this subject.

  6. says

    I certainly have my lull times like that too. I know mine is connected to my thyroid and luckily I have found triggers (like eating soy) that can set it off. Hope it all clears up for you soon. We love a funky MizFit but not a MizFit in a funk. Here’s to feeling well again soon.

  7. says

    I never knew about a formal connection, but I suppose it makes sense – and any time I don’t feel “right”, I tend to feel down, draggy, sad, sorry for myself. Not to the extent of being truly depressed (grew up with clinically depressed people, so I know the havoc it can wreak on your life). But still troubling and certainly annoying!

    Glad you spoke up, and hopefully it’ll resolve soon – you’ve got a great cheering section here. One foot in front of the other, Carla, this too shall pass!

  8. Shelley (@Stuperb) says

    I hate that this happens to you. I love that you’ve figured out the link (doesn’t knowing the WHY sometimes help?) and I super love on several levels that you’re talking about it here.

    xoxo.

  9. says

    Allergies are bad this year here as well. I didn’t think I had any but this year I wanna scratch my eyes out of my head and oh the itchy throat. Never knew there was a depression component.

  10. says

    This is so true and something that is easily overlooked!! i usually know it’s time to start taking my allergy meds when there are a few weeks in a row where my energy plummets, which totally makes you feel sad and I start to connect that with itching while i run

    all that being said, it was also this ongoing feelling that kept telling me something was wrong with my body and it wasn’t my brain. so especially women who are active should do what you did hear a listen to our bodies to resolve issues

  11. says

    First, big hugs to you!!

    I never knew of a link but it doesn’t surprise me. Something about that foggy headed sneezy goopy “can’t breathe right” time of year would take the wind out of anyone’s sails.
    I suffered with allergies for most of my childhood and adult life. They strangely left after I had my first child and now I rarely sneeze. I’m very lucky in that regard.

    I wonder if an allergy specialist could help you. Also make sure it isn’t a food/environmental thing too.

  12. says

    Have I had allergies? yes Have I battled depression? yes? Have I suffered from allergy-depression or heard of that connection? I don’t think so. You sort of wrote in the past tense but it’s not clear that you’re feeling better. I hope are, and that you are back to feeling 100% unapologetically yourself soon. ;-)

  13. says

    I’m right there with you sister. Been miserable since yesterday. No patience. Snapping at everyone. Introspective.

    Not to mention I’m clawing my eyes out they are SO ITCHY.

    Ugh.

  14. says

    OK, I *knew* you were struggling but I didn’t know it was that rough. Assuming-me assumed it was all work life related, but this is a lot less fun. Sorry it’s been a rough go! Are you any closer to a fix for the allergies? Or at least some relief? Maybe a Claritin dispenser like the ones you see in office buildings for M&Ms?

    I also had no clue that allergies could be linked to depression so your PSA is very well received.

    (I didn’t like this on facebook :)

  15. says

    My “moody blues” Hits around March every year when the cold Prairie winters, short hours of daylight and cabin fever hit a high pitch. I don’t have environmental allergies but I don’t doubt there can be a connection.

    Take care of you.

  16. Miz says

    I am WORLDS BETTER and completely why I felt called to share.
    I’ve never felt this way before and with allergy meds and the shift in type of pollen out there (which means I’m better but others are struggling) I’m a new woman.

    (And lots of hair washing and pillow case laundering. I’ve been doing the p-cases daily!!)

    And yes. I’m saving all the napkinnotes for posterity :-)

  17. says

    I wrote a post a couple of months ago on seasonal boos and blahs. I just felt, well, BLAH. Whether it be allergies or not, you are STRONG in every way, shape and form and you will pull through this!

    Sending hugs your way! :)

  18. says

    Oh my god. I’ve suffered from depression, but it was post-partum. I also suffer from allergies and blame my seasonal malaise on them, but did not link it specifically to allergies. Hmmm… Since your beginning description could have been me (minus the Austin part) I guess I better get to google and figure this stuff out!
    Now, here’s my question-what are you doing about it? Thanks, again for the perfectly timed insight.

  19. Jeepjenn says

    Hey Miz, I feel like that every spring! I guess the secret for me was finding an allergy med that didn’t make me tired all the time. The pollen count varies here almost every day, somedays after a walk of only 20 minutes, I could rub my eyes until they screamed!
    Do you think it has anything to do with missing the tornado all day, so being less willing to push through it?

    • MizFit says

      I dont. It was entirely unlike ANYTHING Ive ever felt. Not the “meh I just dont wanna” to the “I COULDNT PUSH THROUGH on weekends or afterschool when she/Ren Man were around.”

      after the cortisone (yada yada disclaimer worked for me may not for you yada :)) it was though a FOG had been lifted. Hours after the shot!

  20. Miz says

    see above Cristie plus a cortisone shot (HELPED IMMEDIATELY). I resisted sharing that in the post as I don’t know my WHEW I AM A NEW WOMAN is everyone’s panacea

  21. says

    I never knew that allergies and depression could be linked! I was diagnosed with depression when I was 18 and have been on an anti-depressant ever since. I know some people are so against them, but they don’t make you some happy freak version of yourself. They make me feel normal…and yes I can still get sad and down…just not all the freaking time! I hope that you start feeling better! I know how awful being depressed can feel.

  22. says

    I had no idea about this BUT I can see it.. so sorry you are going thru this!! Glad you have Tornado as such a wonderful child to write you such sweet notes!!!

    I have been thru depression.. when I was younger but more recently with the hormones & the changes in the bod. It is very common during perimenopause/menopause. It took me hard at one point – I never wrote about it… it still hits me.. the hormones create havoc in so many ways with the bod so that is why I can see the allergies doing it too.

    Hopefully you will find relief!

  23. says

    Never thought of allergies/depression being linked but I will say I’m not surprised. I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Tried meds and had no luck. Too many bad side effects. Thankfully I’ve been able to keep things in check with my running. Unfortunately these past few wks I haven’t been running due to my flippin’ foot and depression has started to set in. Trying to keep my chin up and focus on the big picture. Here’s to both of us getting out of our funk!

  24. says

    Interesting that I had an eye doctor appointment yesterday and he pulled my lids down, did a double take, shot out of his chair and came back with drops, which I now own. Seems that I have developed an allergy to tree pollen. My eyes actually felt brand new after those drops! You know, a case of I didn’t know how bad I felt until…

    I wouldn’t say I’m depressed but just this morning as I went to shower after my workout I had the thought that I am tired of not feeling well and it has been going on for the last couple of weeks. (Again, trees started blooming, DUH!) Just a general malaise, an occasional headache and lots of lethargy.

    Can’t wait for it to be over!

  25. says

    I have ‘episodes’ like this too. I have to keep a sharp look out for it otherwise it will just sneak up and I wont notice until it gets too bad. Have you also research Seasonal Affective Disorder? Otherwise known as the Winter Blues it can effect people even in summer if it’s horrible weather.

    Stay strong, it will get better.

  26. says

    I do think I went through a period of depression many years ago. When I look back at it now, a red flag was that after I got my boys off to school in the morning, I’d climb back into bed. Glad that was long ago and long since over. Hope you feel yourself soon:) Hugs.

  27. says

    I had never heard about the link between depression and allergies until I read your post, but now that I think about it, it doesn’t surprise me. I know I beat this drum often, but will say it anyway: did you know that most allergies (food, nasal, etc.) are almost always due to a gut imbalance? Both Tim (who had severe allergies) and myself (who struggled once in a while) have been greatly helped by a naturopath who addressed our guts instead of prescribing the traditional allergy medications.

    That said, the depression and not-yourself-ness you describe is very similar to how I feel lately, due to hormones (I feel like I’ve used that word way too many times in the past few months).

  28. says

    Sorry! With the way our weather is, allergy season is getting worse every year :-(

    There is always some challenge, no?

    Visit me?

  29. says

    Carla, I find this fascinating. I just wrote this week about my malaise. I’ve been a BUMP lately, not myself at all.

    Thank you for sharing this. Just knowing what’s going on makes a lot of difference – I can fight though this now that I know what I’m fighting!

  30. says

    It makes sense. Allergies are an immune system over-reacation, and like Lupus, Arthritis, and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (the leading cause of hypothyroidism) any time your immune system is working overtime (especially when it’s busy taking YOU apart rather than an invading body) you’re bound to be worn down and the feeling good hormones suppressed.

    This time of year is always difficult for me. At first I thought it was because of Lent. Later I realized that it all usually corresponded with allergens and lupus flares.

    For me it’s sometimes like living in a nightmare. I feel powerless and downtrodden, and without any energy. Pushing through is a matter of sheer willpower,and something that I can’t always do. But the thing that gets me through it is knowing that it’s (a) biological and (b) temporary. Even in my blackest days I know that a good night’s sleep or a change of weather will change everything around for me fairly quickly.

  31. cheryl says

    no-no and no. When you HAVE to get up, get in the workout, and then GO to work, there is no time to actually think about tired, itchy eyes or what in heck is going on around you. I have to focus on too many others with REAL problems (kids with autism and family problems and THEIR meds) to think about what is possibly bothering me…

  32. says

    Thanks for sharing and your honesty, Carla…I know we all appreciate you sharing so genuinely with us and letting us into your world a bit. While I’ve never struggled with depression, I know those who have and can only imagine how hard daily life might become. Here’s to clearer skies/trees and a mentally happier MizFit! But just acknowledging right where you’re at right now is hopefully helping you heal on one level too – thanks so much for sharing.

  33. BrandilynnWonderland says

    I lived my life in perpetual snotdom until allergy shots a few years ago. My snotlife has been nearly non existent – until this spring.

    I think allergies/sickness/younameit are like chronic pain, we just feel bad and it changes us, our personalities, our habituations, how we deal with our loved and not as loved ones.

    Sometimes I just have to remind me that how it is today is not going to be how it is forever, and ask me what I really, really want – which is to be healthy, happy, and whole. Sometimes its a huge “acting as if” but its investment on the front end. Enough pretending will get me to a day when I feel better!

    Course unless its chemical/hormone stew!

    Be sweet to you and the Tornadie! Pollenz Zee Beyotch!

  34. says

    I’ve suffered from severe seasonal allergies pretty much all my life and I just literally heard of this connection to depression this week. It’s interesting b/c when I think about it, in the past I definitely did experience the symptoms of depression or something close to it. However, for the past 3 years I’ve been getting (and paying an arm & a leg for) allergy shots. Between them, the zyrtec and the nasonex I pump my body full of daily, my allergies symptoms have almost all but disappeared now when I’m usually holed up in my house cursing pollen this time of year and funny enough, I’m not in the “mood” I used to be in. Definitely an interesting correlation…

  35. says

    I read this on my morning bus to work, sniffling with allergies, and desperately hoping that I’d make it to my office before bursting into tears. After 23 years with depression (wow, that was some enlightening math), you have taught me something new. And here I thought only winter was the enemy–not spring too! Thanks so much for sharing how you’ve been feeling and the information that you found Carla. I hope you’re feeling like your kick-life-in-the-butt self soon xx

  36. Margo D. says

    Thanks so much for posting this today. You have helped me out in a bigger way than you can imagine. Ox Ox!

  37. Melissa says

    A few years ago I was at a lecture led by a very wise doctor. He had a chart with pollen counts by month with an overlay of Ritalin sales. They were nearly identical. But I’m glad you posted this because it’s helping me understand why my daughter has been such a bear lately. Doesn’t help that all the standardized tests are right now when everyone has a head full of snot.

  38. says

    I never considered my annual springtime depression part of allergies (and when we lived in San Antonio, hooboy, they were BAD!), but more along the lines of just being OVER school for the boys, plus adding in baseball practices and games on top of Scouts, and then there were the years of karate thrown in, too…I would get overwhelmed with everything before it even began!

    Things, of course, are much better now that they are grown, and my allergies haven’t been that bad, but I do take a Claritin every day, year-round, and I throw in a Zyrtec on top of that in the spring. So I guess I’ve been proactive enough with the pollen that it hasn’t gotten to me too much. Glad you figured out what the deal was and have gotten some relief!!!

  39. says

    I did not know.

    This from someone who knows a lot of depression from first hand experience. My doctor (a super-duper neurologist) did not know and couldn’t explain why my depression gets worst close to equinox. Allergies never entered the picture.

    One suggestion -besides allergy meds: when your allergies begin to bother you, start take a balance B 50 vitamin. Surprising how much that helps…

  40. addy says

    OK explains much now. No energy for gym – sitting on butt after work – no desire to finish anything…. Got it!

  41. says

    I never knew the two went hand in hand. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. For the record, you never come across depressed or grumpy. :) Hugs!! Oh nad i orderd some sports bras. Thank you!!!

  42. says

    wow. i didn’t get allergies until i moved to philly, and this year in boston has been particularly bad. i have been feeling off the past couple weeks, but attributed it to other life matters… never knew there was a link! tornado is precious, and i hope you’re feeling more like yourself soon <3

  43. says

    I agree with so many of the comments above in many ways. Basically no, I didn’t make the concrete connection, BUT I do know that having the nastiest case of post nasal drip with a cough that won’t quit and enough mucus to consider it an alternative fuel possibility AND not being able to sleep more than 2-3 hours a night for two weeks now is enough to make anyone sad.
    It makes sense. I had a weird, way out of the norm super anxious day on Sunday and the only thing that kept me from yanking my hair out and running around the neighborhood naked was knowing that these allergies could not possibly stay at this level forever and that doing that sort of thing would probably result in permanent reminders of a temporary state and I definitely don’t want that!
    Thank you, thank you for sharing. You’ve done all the allergy sufferers a good turn and lord knows we need one!

  44. says

    I never knew the two could be linked, but have struggled with depression periodically my entire adult life. It’s paralyzing for me. I call it progress that I now notice the signs early instead of when I’m far-gone and don’t want to get out of bed, shower, see the world, etc. Now that I’m taking care of myself so much better it’s rare.
    HUGS, glad you’re taking care of you!

  45. says

    First, so very sorry you’ve had to deal with this! Second, so glad you have been able to pinpoint what’s going on and find some solutions. Thanks for sharing this important info!

  46. says

    I’ve experienced small periods of depression. Not wanting to get out of bed, exercise, eat healthy, blog, etc. Actually just went through one when I found out I was pregnant. It was strange b/c I was honestly ecstatic that I was pregnant but I didn’t feel well, had no energy to run, and ate SO terribly that I hate myself for a few weeks. I didn’t want to see anyone or do anything that usually brings so much joy to my life.
    I’ve never heard of seasonal allergies being a cause of depression – but I don’t have allergies so it’s not something I’m versed in.
    Thank you for being so open, candid, and honest about your situation. It’s comforting to know that things like this happen to pretty amazing, kick butt people too.

  47. says

    Glad Google solved your problem and you can move on to being you again! I’m not surprised to hear about allergies dragging you down…when you aren’t all there physically, mentally it can drag you down.

  48. says

    Oh my gosh, that is totally me. I have been “depressed” but didn’t really connect it to allergies, but it could be. I just haven’t been myself. I suffer lightly from depression I think … just moments in time I can barely function. My hubby was even googling depression this week to see what he could do to help me! It really does suck.

  49. says

    Wow! I had no idea…I wonder if this is my problem. Living in Dallas has been rougher than normal for allergies this year. I’m going to discuss this at the Dr tomorrow. Ive been down and in a funk for a couple of months. In fact I haven’t even been writing much on my blog. Just not “in the mood.”

  50. says

    I didn’t know either… but I think the malaise is going around. A number of my fave bloggers are in a bit of a funk at the moment… as am I.

    I thought my recent holiday would cheer me up, but I’ve decided I feel a bit stale and tired. (Like week old bread. Sort of!)

    Hopefully an upcoming change of seasons (or something) will kick all of us back into the high-performing machines we think/know we are!

    Deb

  51. says

    If there is a type of depression I swear I’ve had it! Although since I don’t get allergies I lucked out on this one;) Seriously though I’m so so sorry you are down right now! I totally get the whole mental health/mom/work conundrum. (And now I’m wondering if this is why you haven’t answered my e-mails? Depressed you + depressed me = friendship fritz?) I love you! And I think it’s great that you can recognize this in yourself and are so able to explain in to the Tornado.

  52. says

    Ugh! Sending you clear nasal passageways! Allergies are the worst–I have developed adult ones the past few years (what’s up with that?!)

    Congestion = lethargic

    What a sweet girl you have. Blessed.

  53. says

    Well, here in Vermont we have mud season and it never fails to bum me out. ;) But yes, I have some very down moments, although I don’t think they’re linked to allergies. I think I’m just a moody individual in general (since part of how I make my living is in channeling my depressed moments onto canvas, it’s possible I may be more about defending my depressive bouts than acknowledging them. Also, generally I work really hard to hide them from my kiddos. But that note to you? that broke my heart a little bit.)

    *hugs to you*

  54. says

    Austin is the allergy capital?!?! I thought the Pacific NW had the title. I live in Portland, Oregon and right now my allergies are just ok. It’s been raining enough for the last few months that I’ve been ok BUT in another month I will be a miserable mess.

    I never heard that allergies and depression are linked but I do suffer from seasonal depression. Living in the NW in the winter is just dreary….

    Hang in there Miz!:)

  55. tony says

    I didn’t know this! I don’t have allergies but my guy does, and it’s been pretty bad here these past few weeks. I’ll pass this along to him.

  56. says

    I had never heard of depression related to the pollen count. But I have suffered from depression before. I hope you get to feeling better (sounds like you already are) and how sweet that The Tornado reaches out to you like that :) My 14 yr old will sometimes say “mom you need a hug” and I will of course say yes for sure :) *big hugs* to you Carla.

  57. says

    Carla,

    You are SO not alone. I’m sending you BIG hugs through the computer screen. Can you feel it?! <3

    I know exactly how you feel. I'm a really happy, positive person…but in the winter, it can be REALLY hard for me to happy and positive sometimes. For no other reason than I hate the cold, the snow, and the way it makes me feel. It might not be as intense as you experienced but just know you're not alone!

  58. says

    This explains so much, thanks for the post MizFit! I had the worst seasonal allergies that emerged out of nowhere in 2009; I couldn’t stop sneezing and wanted ti scratch my eyes out.And I wasn’t really even familiar with seasonal allergies at that point as I’d never had any. I still get these allergies (apparently, it’s ragweed) in the fall, but it’s no longer as bad as at the beginning. But I remember feeling completely down, depressed, and unwilling to do anything. I thought it was because I wasn’t feeling well that I didn’t want to do anything, but it could have been some kind of depression…

  59. says

    I never experienced any kind of allergy until 4 years ago…and every year since then it keeps getting worse.

    Every spring, my eyes start to itch, my head feels like it’s going to explode and I feel like crap in every possible sense…including symptoms of depression

    Drugs don’t work. Homeopathy helps a little…as does acupuncture. The only thing that gets me through the allergy season has been a very strange technique called Advanced Allergy Therapeutics.

    The first time I tried it, I thought I was throwing my money away, but it worked right away. The next morning, I was virtually symptom free

  60. says

    As someone who suffers from depression, I admit that it seems to strike especially hard during allergy season. I can’t say whether allergies would cause a normally non-depressed person to get depressed, but for those of us who are predisposed, I think it exacerbates the problem.

    Thanks for writing this article. It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one seeing this connection.

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