What is this you ask?
Seasonal depression, often called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a depression that occurs each year at the same time, usually starting in fall or winter and ending in spring or early summer. It is more than just “the winter blues” or “cabin fever.” A rare form of SAD known as “summer depression,” begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall.
People who suffer from SAD have many of the common signs of depression: Sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of interest in their usual activities, withdrawal from social activities, and inability to concentrate. They often have symptoms such as extreme fatigue and lack of energy, increased need for sleep, craving for carbohydrates, and increased appetite and weight gain.
Symptoms of winter SAD include:
- Increased need for sleep
- Decreased levels of energy
- Weight gain
- Increase in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased desire to be alone
Honestly, when I lived up north I think I experienced a bit of this myself. We called it the after holiday blues or the winter blues what ever you want to call it, SAD can be serious and I’ve seen many more signs of it this winter.
I have blogging friends who’ve admitted to it, some anxiety and such beginning with the holiday onslaught and then continuing right on through the bitter cold and bleak days of winter. Maybe because of the unusually cold weather we have had in Florida the past 2 weeks I’m seeing a difference in the activities and attitudes of some of my local friends too.
What worries me more is the people who can’t see that they are impacted by this disorder and seem to mask it or hide it by saying or doing other things. It’s common to want to stay in and stay warm……….what is not typical is people who want to just stop all normal activities, school, work, grocery shopping etc and stay in. Now these are not people living in seriously frigid temps, these are folks who just want to lock in and keep out all the rest. And while in they are still prone to lethargic SAD behaviors, not wanting to do household chores or cook or much of anything.
How does the winter impact you?
I have to say, the recent cold temps have made me want to stay in, and maybe it’s a good thing I have to take Nick to school and pick him up. Maybe it’s a good thing that my kid’s sports and activities keep me on my toes and busy, and yes out the door. Maybe it’s good we have the new puppy and she wants to play, and she makes messes and yes even in cold temps she likes to go outside and run around a bit.
One more thought or question………….how do you help or approach a friend you believe may have SAD………..how do you encourage a friend to seek help?