Seasonal Affective Disorder Is On Its Way, And This Is What You Need To Know
I don’t know about you, but I love the winter months. Everyone spends the majority of the year counting down the days until summer, but perhaps I’m against the flow. I like the colder evenings which require cosy, layered clothing, mugs of hot chocolate on the sofa, and upcoming Christmas markets. But this is not the case for everyone.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (quite appropriately abbreviated to SAD) is depression which people experience during winter months. Of course, it’s quite understandable to feel a bit gloomy in the UK’s dark and dingy seasons, but if this is an ongoing, serious problem, you too could be affected by SAD.
We all know about depression. Perhaps even from experience, you’ll understand how many of us have mental battles to fight. But these don’t have to be constant battles. If you’re suffering from depression, chances are you’ll have some pretty shit days. But you’re allowed to have good ones too. And on a bigger scale, this is how SAD works – you have peaks and troughs across the year when it comes to your mental health.
SAD is actually more common than you might think. According to the NHS, SAD is said to affect 1 in 15 of us, between September to April in the UK. That could easily be a couple of people in every school class, office setting or friendship group.
Despite the precise cause of SAD not being fully understood, theories are often related to sunlight. In the darker, winter months, the reduced level of sunlight may interfere with your body clock, as well levels of serotonin and melatonin. This is why some people use light therapy to help combat SAD, as well as more common treatments like therapy or medication.
Having said this, it is possible to experience SAD in the spring and summer. The pattern is down to the individual.
Chances are, you may just be experiencing some winter blues, but you should never feel uncomfortable taking yourself seriously. If Christmas is looming closer – and everyone is getting loud and excited about it – but all you want to do is lie in bed, feeling miserable and questioning your self-worth, it’s okay to admit there might be something up. It isn’t your fault. Our minds are intricate things, and while they do their best, sometimes they go a little off course. And if you notice a friend or family member becoming a little more withdrawn at a certain time of the year, sure, you’re not a therapist, but a cuppa and an honest conversation can certainly be a good start.