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SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER – SAD

Often times we may go through social media or we may observe others around us while on an outing and think, “wow, that couple looks so in love.” We might even feel envious, jealous, or ashamed because we are lacking.

Lacking the affection they show to one another, lacking the attention they appear to give, lacking the bond.

I often find myself scrolling through feeds and thinking, “That couple looks amazingly happy, I wonder how they got there?”

I wonder if I’ll ever have that? I wonder if I will ever truly feel fulfilled?

This week has been trying on me emotionally to say the least. I’m in a “needy” and “wanty” mood. I long for affection and attention.

I have never in my entire life felt as though I get back what I put out. No matter what type of friendship or relationship it is.

Do you feel this way too?

I know I am not the only one. I’m sad, depressed, unfulfilled.

I suffer from or should I say, deal with depression. During this time of year (fall) through spring, I suffer a little more.

SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

A FORM OF DEPRESSION

www.mayoclinic.org

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.

www.webmd.com

Seasonal depression is a mood disorder that happens every year at the same time. A rare form of seasonal depression, known as "summer depression," begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall. In general, though, seasonal affective disorder starts in fall or winter and ends in spring or early summer.

Winter Symptoms

People with SAD have many of the normal warning signs of depression, including:

  • Less energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Greater appetite
  • Increased desire to be alone
  • Greater need for sleep
  • Weight gain

Summer Symptoms

Light Therapy

Some researchers link seasonal depression to the natural hormone melatonin, which causes drowsiness. Light affects the biological clock in our brains that regulates circadian rhythms -- a physiological function that may include mood changes when less sunlight is available in winter . Natural or "full spectrum" light can have an antidepressant effect.

A full-spectrum bright light shines indirectly into your eyes. You sit about 2 feet away from a bright light -- about 20 times brighter than normal room lighting. The therapy starts with one 10- to 15-minute session per day. Then the times increase to 30 to 45 minutes a day, depending on your response.

Don't look directly at the light source of any light box for long times to avoid possible damage to your eyes.

Some people with SAD recover within days of using light therapy. Others take much longer. If the SAD symptoms don't go away, your doctor may increase the light therapy sessions to twice daily.

People who respond to light therapy are encouraged to continue it until they can be out in the sunshine again in the springtime. While side effects are minimal, be cautious if you have sensitive skin or a history of bipolar disorder.

Prevention

Spend some time outside every day, even when it's cloudy. The effects of daylight still help.

Begin using a 10,000 lux light box when fall starts, even before you feel the effects of winter SAD.

Eat a well-balanced diet. This will help you have more energy, even if you're craving starchy and sweet foods.

Exercise for 30 minutes a day, five times a week.

Stay involved with your social circle and regular activities. Social support is very important.

ME PERSONALLY

I find talking about SAD helpful. During this time, I re-evaluate my medications, increase my therapy visits, read more self-help books, become more isolated, and I try to take EVERY precaution not to go down the dark “rabbit hole” so to speak.

I will not lie, I’m struggling. Struggling with unhappiness. Unhappiness with life, self, thoughts, everything. I know this will pass.

I hope if you are struggling also, you have a support system to reach out to or resources available.

If you do not, I’ve posted on previous blogs, many times before resources.

You can always contact me anonymously at colorfulchaosthejourney@yahoo.com and I will be glad to try to help you.

Let’s help bring awareness to mental health and illness issues by supporting one another.

If you would like your story to be told, please contact me!

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