It feels like the middle of January but is somehow the middle of April. This past weekend, an ice storm hit, seemingly out of nowhere (I am clearly not a meteorologist and am probably embodying “fake news”). It has been dark and dreary out, and not in the rainy spring days kind of way.
There are so many beautiful things about spring – there is a feeling of re-birth, fresh beginnings, and growth. The sun is out for longer periods of time, the flowers are growing, and even the smell of rain seems to bring a sense of comfort (except the sight of it while driving does not).
This darkness we’re experiencing, however, reminds us that the sun may be out (sometimes) but it is still frigidly cold out. The plants are still dead. And, at this moment, there is still snow on the ground.
It becomes increasingly difficult, it seems, to break from the grasp of seasonal affective disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (sometimes referred to as SAD), as the name suggests, is a type of depression that appears at different parts of the year, which may align with the changing of the seasons.
Common symptoms, as outlined in the DSM-5, include:
- Feeling of sadness or depressed mood
- Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite; usually eating more, craving carbohydrates
- Change in sleep; usually sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours
- Increase in restless activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide
It’s important to note that these symptoms are very similar to major depression. Before you try to self-diagnose yourself with SAD, seek help from a professional as you may be feeling depressed, but it may not necessarily be SAD.
It is also important to note that seasonal affective disorder is a real psychiatric disorder. However, scientific research continues to be conducted to clarify the debate.
For some more resources about Seasonal Affective Disorder, go to:
Hopefully spring is right around the corner (for real this time) so we can get some good old sunshine and vitamin D. Until then, stay warm, friends.