S.A.D – Seasonal Affective Disorder commonly referred to as the Winter Blues/Depression. This effects around 1 out of 15 people within the UK. Symptoms tend to originate in people between the ages of 20 – 30 but children are not immune to it, they can also be affected. Women are four times more likely to experience S.A.D than men but again men are also not immune to this disorder.
It wasn’t until the age of 17/18 did I get a full understanding of S.A.D. I distinctly remember having a conversation with my foster sister LD about depression. I had noticed a pattern within myself. Although I had suffered from depression as a whole, when it reached the winter season I would notice a change in my behaviour. Becoming more emotional, dismissive, sometimes experiencing more suicidal thoughts than let’s say during the spring/summer season.
At the time I didn’t understand my behaviour and just put it down to bi-polar behaviour as during these periods my behaviour, on a spectrum would have been classed as extreme erratic behaviour.
LD was able to educate me on what S.A.D actually was, the causes/effects of S.A.D and ways to manages it. LD embraced me with her knowledge, included me in something that I had believed only I had struggled with. So to learn that S.A.D was a very common disorder, made me actually happy.
`Now don’t go wild on me just yet` let me explain my reasons for happiness lol. All this time I had believed that there were multiple things, unexplainable things wrong with me. So to have a reason or to be given a somewhat psychological understanding into my behaviour. It was a relief to say the least.
How To Manage The Winter Blues
The cheapest and easiest way to manage/treat S.A.D is LIGHT. Try to get as much light as possible whether that be natural sunlight or light produced by a Light-Box. This is a special lamp which stimulates the sunlight missing during the winter seasons.
There have been mixed reviews, in regards to whether the lightbox therapy actually works. I don’t think it’s something your doctor would provide but it is something that they would suggest. (My doctor suggested rather than recommended just to be clear on that.)
It is believed that light therapy aid’s with S.A.D by encouraging our brains to reduce the amount of melatonin (sleepy hormone) produced and instead increase the amount of serotonin within us.
FYI: Melatonin is a hormone we all have that causes us to be sleepy and tired. Serotonin is a hormone produced that affects our moods, it contributes towards our well-being and happiness.
Other Methods to Manage S.A.D
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- You could also try regular exercise, changing your diet for a healthier option and taking steps to manage depression.
If you suffer from S.A.D, I would like to hear about what it is you do to manage it. What methods have you tried yourself & do you have any further suggestions that aren’t included above. Leave a comment, I would love to hear feedback from you all.