Seasonal Depression; or It’s not just the winter blues

Seasonal Depression

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.” –Mother Teresa

Hi everyone! I shall start this post with an apology; I have been a bit overwhelmed with life and depression and anxiety and all the rest of it; thus I haven’t had the time nor the energy to write a proper blog entry. But I remain your faithful scribe, dear reader, and thus I feel the need to talk today about seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

SAD is seperate from the common winter blues; it is not uncommon to feel down and less energetic during the longer darker winter days. SAD is characterized by a more serious impact. You feel a wave of depression at around the same time every year, almost like clockwork. It can start anytime in the fall or early winter and persists for weeks. SAD affects all aspects of life.

The exact cause of SAD is unknown. The most likely culprit according to Psycology Today is a decrease in melatonnin and serotonin, neurotransmitters that regulate mood: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling less social than usual
  • Difficulty taking initiative
  • Mood that is down or depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Loss of interest in activities you typically enjoy
  • Withdrawing and isolating yourself from friends and family
  • Struggling to focus and perform at work or home
  • Feeling constantly fatigued and lethargic
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Having suicidal thoughts

Treatment options include:

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to help normalize your circadian rhythms.
  • Structure your eating patterns by eating three meals a day, around the same time every day.
  • Avoid the common urge in the winter to overindulge in simple carbohydrates, such as starchy or sweet foods; eat a balanced diet of proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains (e.g., brown rice, quinoa).
  • Make (and keep) plans with friends and families to help you stay connected to your loved ones.
  • Take time for yourself and engage in activities you enjoy.
  • Seek help sooner rather than later from your doctor if your mood doesn’t improve

The reason I bring all this up is because this has been exactly what I have been fighting with the past few weeks. It took a toll on my body, my relationships, my marriage, ect. It took much to get out of my rut, including an increase in meds. I encourage you to seek help if you think you may have seasonal depression. As always, check out our resources page at http://www.thebeholdproject.com/resources for additional links and info. God bless and Merry Christmas!

-Brian

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