SEASONAL BLUES

   Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression brought on by the dark and dreary seasons of fall and winter. The lack of sun and long, cold winters affect everyone. Those of us who live in areas with rough winters struggle through them, but for people with SAD, the winters are almost unbearable. If you already have mental illness, the weather can make the dark hole seem endless. It’s more than just the winter blues. Unexpected sunny warm days during the winter can lift your spirits, but in some areas, days like this are very few. Some people even have SAD during the spring and summer months, but this is less common.

   Here are some symptoms of winter SAD I found online at Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/definition/CON-20021047):

  • Irritability

  • Tiredness and low energy

  • Problems getting along with others

  • Hypersensitivity to rejection

  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs

  • Oversleeping

  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates

  • Weight gain

    get-ready-for-winter-2014

   I’ve never been diagnosed with SAD, but during my younger years I felt even more depressed during the winter. Soon as fall came around, I started dreading the sudden lack of sunlight and dip in temperature. My dark hole seemed to get deeper. I lacked energy and found myself feeling even more hopeless. I wanted to sleep all day and I easily lost my temper. The darker days seemed to mimic the darkness in my soul. I also seemed to eat more during the winter, which added on extra weight. Fall and winter deepened my sadness, making each day seem like a prison of darkness.

   Some people are only depressed during the fall and winter. A lady at work confided in me that every winter she would get depressed and didn’t know how to shake the depression. During warmer and brighter seasons her sadness would fade away. She felt helpless. She didn’t know how to deal with her seasonal depression. I found information on SAD and gave it to her.

   I told her that SAD can be treated with medication and therapy. There is also a therapy where you sit for some time under special lamps. For me I handle the winters with positive thinking, I try to keep busy with work and crafts, I remind myself that spring and summer will soon come, and I rejoice during those rare days when the sun shines and warm temperatures fill the air. I try to look for beauty in the dismal days, like how the snow lies across the tree branches.

121991-golden-sunny-day

   SAD is a serious illness. If you think you have this illness, get help. Don’t dismiss your feelings as just the common winter blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder can lead to suicidal thoughts, withdrawal from friends and family, inability to concentrate in school or work, and abuse of drugs or alcohol. These symptoms can be also found online at Mayo Clinic. With help you can learn to handle your Seasonal Affective Disorder and you can get through the darker seasons with some ease.

   I still hate the winter, but I have learned how to get through it without falling into the hole. I look forward to the uncommon days like last Friday when the temperature hit 75 degrees in February. I keep myself busy in the winter with my writing, crafts, and work. I look for the beauty in all things and remind myself brighter days will come. This helps me soak within the light.

2 thoughts on “SEASONAL BLUES

  1. I believe I have a slight case of SAD living up north all my life, but now living in North Carolina (with twice as many sunny days as PA) should definitely help me. The winter snows can be beautiful, it’s just a shame they last so long 🙂

    Like

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