Seasonal depression is also known as SAD or winter depression is a form of depression. Similar to depression, people often experience the same mood changes and symptoms. However, with SAD the symptoms often occur during the fall and winter months and with limited sunlight. Most time the symptoms are often improved with the arrival of spring. For most people in the United States, the difficult months tend to be in January and February.
“SAD is more than just “winter blues.” The symptoms can be distressing and overwhelming and can interfere with daily functioning. However, it can be treated. About 5 percent of adults in the U.S. experience SAD and it typically lasts about 40 percent of the year. It is more common among women than men.” (psychiatry.org)
Seasonal depression (SAD) symptoms often mirror those of the depression we are more familiar with. However, unlike depression, SAD is often lessened once Spring arrives.
Other symptoms may include:
- Sad or having depressed mood-what does that mean? Feeling extremly down or just don’t feel like doing anything, such as something that you enjoy.
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue regardless of how much sleep you are getting
- increase in physcial activitys that are meaningless. For instance you are unable to stil still, you need to pace, or you are slowing down.Behavior is very noticable to others.
- The feeling of worthlessness or guilty. Often you feel guilty for the smallest thing, for me it was taking my son to daycare when I was perfectly capable of taking care of him myself.
- Unable to concentrate, or diffictulty in thinking or making decisions.
- Extreme symptom: Thoughts of death or suicide-talk or seek out help immediatly! Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 suicide prevention lifeline
I have experience with depression and anxiety and when I first learned I was depressed I was confused and I struggled.
At first, I had no idea what I was going through, but talking to my doctor really helped.
Until I went to a therapist.
You see I was hurt by my therapist. I was there for help and she dismissed me. You have no idea how much strength it took for me to even get the courage to make and attend my appointment. I found this experience painful and distressing.
I went back to my regular doctor and explained what happened. She provided me with a lot of help and even recommended a. new therapist. Her compassion and sympathy and just that she listen to me made me feel validated.
What I was experiencing was similar to clinical depression.
As with many illnesses, symptoms are not one size fits all. If that were true then there wouldn’t be fine print in pharmaceutical commercials. For example: may experience headaches and chills etc. You see during clinical trials if one person in the study experiences it, they have to put that down as a symptom or side effect of the medicine.
talking to my doctor, a general practitioner, was very helpful.
You see my thoughts were so wild and erratic I had no idea what was happening, and I was scared. In addition to that, I found it difficult to concentrate enough to recognize my symptoms.
As I went through my journey, and with the help of my doctor, husband, and medication I realized that the common symptoms associated with depression are not one size fits all.
My problems would have been better handled if I hadn’t been shamed by myself, and my therapist. All of this increased the feelings of shame, guilt, and worthlessness.
While I recommended you talk to your doctor about treatments and your situation, that doesn’t mean that you can not incorporate other treatments.
What is Hygge?
In a previous blog post, I talk all about hygge and how it can really help your mood.
Read all about it here! Also, be sure to check out our post Everything you should know about Denmark’s kind of Cosy: Hygee
Hygge is something that I learned about when I moved to France and while it is talked about a lot on other blogs, and podcasts it is still something that we don’t know or understand. After a few months of learning all about this practice, I decided to implement Hygge into my life.
But what is Hygge?
The basic idea of Hygge is Danish, for cozy or enjoying things or people you love, feeling at home, and feeling safe.
The best thing about Hygge is it is not something you “learn”, it is just something you do.
Do you enjoy lighting candles? Do they evoke a feeling of warmth, happy feelings? If you answered yes, then you nailed it! You have experienced Hygge.
Scents are very powerful and often evoke feelings or memories.
Every fall I wear Burberry Classic perfume. This scent is woodsy and warm. Every time I wear this scent I feel sweet things and remember even sweet memories. Such as the first time my husband bought this perfume for me, or when the weather in the PNW turns golden and vibrant with the changing of leaves and arrivals of pumpkins.
This helps me when I feel a little down or in need of feeling warm.
The reason I am talking about Hygge is because happy researchers have discovered the Danes are among the happiest in the world. You see the Danes created Hygge because of the darkness they experience and the sheer boredom they felt during the long winter months in Denmark.
What they discovered is something simple as lighting a candle, or experiencing homemade pumpkin spice lattes, or reading a book really lifted the spirits.
Creating rituals, such as getting flowers at your local flower shop or making your favorite warm beverage without scheduling or effort you will start to see life as an art form instead of a hamster on the wheel.
The point of Hygge is to incorporate it into your life in a natural organic way so it doesn’t feel forced or stressful.
So while you’re using the treatments prescribed by your doctor, try incorporating hygge into your life. The changes will be slow, but they will be rewarding!
Confession time: I also like to watch Twilight in the fall. Despite the horrible story line developed for the movies, I am drawn to the love story and the PNW vibes! This is my ultimate cozy hygge!
“Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” Seasonal Affective Disorder (Sad), Oct. 2020, www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder.
“Health Benefits of Hygge.” Very Well Mind, 27 Feb. 2021, www.verywellmind.com/health-benefits-of-hygge-4164281.
Psychreg. “Give Yourself a Big Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Cosily.” Psychreg, 5 Apr. 2021, www.psychreg.org/hygge.