Do you find you are a different person in the summer or the winter?
Do you find yourself hibernating in the winter and feeling generally gloomy and then a sunny day comes along and you’re sleepless, impatient and anxious about the day ahead?
There’s a chance you may suffer from SAD
Learning about mental health is, ironically, mind blowing. The human brain is so complex which I assume is why it takes so long to get a diagnosis for conditions. after hearing so much about Seasonal Affective Disorder and hearing I have many of the symptoms myself I felt it had to be explored and talked about.
The winter blues are all too true for some people. If you suffer from SAD you may suffer from depression, fatigue, decreased sex drive, decreased energy levels and sleep difficulties. Even if you feel happier in the summer, the seasonal affective disorder is still in action; even with the general mood boost you may experience insomnia, decreased appetite and anxiety. It’s almost the bi-polar or split personality of a disorder. a disorder in a disorder, can imagine how messed up it can be. Imagine being suicidal because life doesn’t seem worth it and then early hours of the morning and the sun creeps in and you suddenly want to bounce out of bed, want to eat a salad and actually leave the house. the whirlwind of ups and downs can cause Major Depressive Disorder and of course Anxiety; so of course, if you already suffer from these disorders, SAD on top can be unbearable. You might not even feel depressed, but lack energy and motivation to do everyday activities.
There are many causes for SAD and one of the causes can be Vitamin B deficiency.
Serotonin and Melatonin are naturally occurring chemicals in our bodies that can play a part in your mental health as well. It is worth talking to your GP about it if you are concerned, especially if you have an existing disorder. although for non-medical but researched and practised advice I am here to help!
• Bright light therapy – This is a therapy that have many disbelievers. It involves sitting in front of (or in a light box of) florescent/UV lights, simulating the sun. It has been reported to cause skin damage if used in excess. My friend is in favour of this as she said sunbeds do help her. So, if you don’t fancy sitting in a “light box”, grab a sunbed and get a tan while you’re helping your mental health. Light in the early morning is the best time. You may find you only need one session a month during the winter, plus it is relatively easy to monitor.
• Medication – fluoxetine (or more commonly Prozac) is a serotonin boosting anti-depressant, don’t be afraid of the name, if you need serotonin replacement the benefits outweigh the stigma. Controlled doses of Melatonin may also be advised, you can buy these in any healthcare shop like Holland and Barrett
• Cognitive behavioural therapy – a trained therapist can help you change way why you think and behave about things to help you manage situations better. It will usually take a few weeks or months but it is an effective and medicine freeway.
I hope this clears some questions you may have had about SAD and encourages people to speak up and confront this rarely talked about disorder. Remember, no one should ever suffer in silence.
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