Night settles in sooner, days get colder, and the sun stays away most days, I’ve always been one to have a hard time with the transition. Social media gets excited over the cooler weather, the leaves changing, and finally the first snow. Friends and family shared their excitement for gloomy days. I never understood it. How could someone possibly thrive off of such horrible times? Late fall and winter not only chill the air but shift my mood and I could never explain it. For nearly four months each year I’m left feeling uninspired, drained, gloomy, and irritated.
Seasonal depression, aka seasonal affective disorder. There is still SUCH a stigma around mental illness. We know this. Not to mention that also, we as humans are afraid of seeming weak and/or different. Mental illness is hardly talked about and even with the exposure it is getting these days, the negative stigma pursues. An invisible illness that is also seasonal? Hell, you can find more articles calling it fake thank you can of people sharing their personal experiences. But not today, today I am sharing my experiance to connect with those who are dealing with this as well and facts to educate all.
Like I said, I’ve always had a hard time with the season change. I chalked it up to hating the winter and left it at that but as years went by I could feel it intensify. There were a couple tough years in there where depression seemed to move in permanently but overall, it swept in like a storm in late fall and magically cleaned up after itself as the flowers began to bloom in the spring. A creeping suspicion made its way into my head as I heard the term “seasonal depression” for the first time, and when I first noticed happy lights appear in Costco, I knew there was no way that I was alone and there was no way that this could possibly not exist. Add that to the fact that depression and anxiety run rampant in my dad’s family and you’ve got yourself a cocktail of mental illness to drink from.
I never sought help. My illness felt so small compared to those around me. Why worry about treating something that goes away (for the most part) nearly every spring? I think many people feel this way and many are afraid to get help – no matter the mental illness they suffer. My friends, let me share a tip with you that I have been trying my best to listen to as well.
No problem is too small. Nor is any problem too big. If you do not feel like your best self you deserve to do anything in your power to balance your life back out. Our time on mother earth is very short. There is no reason to spend it suffering.
One of the many ways I have been blessed with my new job is having the opportunity to learn about natural and holistic ways to treat this seasonal depression. Find the root of the problem and hit it HARD. Four months seems like a short amount of time but it quickly adds up to years of suffering. Don’t let seasonal depression stop you from enjoying what, to many people is the best time of the year. I would encourage you to get in contact with your local alternative medicine provider and let yourself, your story be heard. Let them help you, but also let yourself be helped.
Meditation along with meditative yoga can improve your quality of living, whether you suffer from any form of depression or not. I am amazed at how many resources there are out there to find exactly what form of yoga or meditation you need individually. Combined with alternative medicine, I am so excited to see how my healing process goes. I hope to share that with you as well, and I hope you’ll share your experience no matter what path you’ve taken, because we all deserve to be heard!
Signs of seasonal affective disorder include –
- feeling irritable
- mental, physical and emotional exhaustion
- thoughts of death or suicide
- trouble sleeping or concentrating
These symptoms begin around winter and are gone around spring. Spring and summer seasonal depression also exists, usually with slightly different symptoms. If you or someone you know feels this way, remember that it is real, and help is available.
*Photography by Shelby Dicharo Larios Photography.