Today I am going to recap my instagram live segment from Thursday Oct. 25 about Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sometimes we shorten it to SAD.
Mayo Clinic defines Seasonal Affective Disorder as a type of depression that is related to change in season. It typically begins and ends at the at the same times each year. For some people it is a Fall/Winter onset and for others it is a Spring/Summer onset.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
People often question if SAD is real. And the answer is YES! It is real!
Some people say it’s all in your head. Don’t even think about trying to convince these people. Just accept that they are in a different place than you.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR:
It's normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can't get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you notice you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation.
CAUSES OF SAD:
The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include:
Take signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder seriously. As with other types of depression, SAD can get worse and lead to problems if it's not treated. These can include:
When you notice these patterns, be intentional about having compassion for yourself. You are not less than or weak or crazy. You are a person that experiences depression sometimes.
Be KIND to yourself. Remind yourself that this is temporary and that it is part of your body's chemistry. Give yourself extra time to get things accomplished. Practice positive self-talk by saying things like: “It won’t always be like this, this is just a season”. Name things you like about yourself.
Make the most of natural light. If you can sit outside for a few minutes at lunch or on a break, DO IT! Natural light helps reduce SAD.
Avoid stress. Are there people in your life that add to your stress? Reduce the time you spend with them.
Call a supportive friend or family member that really gets you. Reach out and tell them when you are struggling.
Eat right and exercise. When we don’t feel great we tend to reach for carbs to give us a little sugar rush. But after the sugar rush comes the sugar crash. So be intentional about eating fresh fruits and veggies. And don’t skip the workout! Working out will improve your mood and increase your health on so many levels.
Look into getting a light box that helps imitate sunlight. This can help reduce SAD, especially for those who don't have the opportunity to spend much time in natural sunlight.
A NOTE FOR FRIENDS:
If you notice that a friend of yours just doesn’t seem themselves, SAY SOMETHING! It is better to be a caring friend and be wrong than to stay silent and be right.
I hope this blog post helps raise awareness of a disorder that can be very heavy to live with through big parts of the year. If you are struggling please know you are not alone.