Monday, October 25, 2010

Mental Health Monday - SAD

If you take a few moments to just look around the Internet you would quickly be overwhelmed with messages like, "I'm so excited fall is here!", "Pumpkin Patch Tomorrow!" or "It's the most wonderful time of the year!!" - almost everyone loves fall. Leaves are changing, comforting stews are simmering and there is pumpkin everything as far as the eye can see! I know I look forward to fall each year but many of you do not. The thought of red and yellow maple trees makes you get a little sick to your stomach because you know you are about to change. It's not the most wonderful time of year, it's actually the worst time of the year to you and you just wish it was about to be spring again...you'd much rather be turning your clocks ahead than turning them back!

For those of you that love fall, I know what you are thinking, "Who wouldn't love this time of year?!" Quite simply anyone affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. I want to touch on this briefly today because maybe this describes you or someone you know but you had no clue there was actually something it could be attributed to.

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, as presented by the Mayo Clinic is a cyclic, seasonal condition resembling depression that leaves you feeling moody, sad and at a loss for energy. Usually, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer.

Symptoms include:

Depression
Hopelessness
Anxiety
Loss of energy
Social withdrawal
Oversleeping
Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
Weight gain
Difficulty concentrating and processing information

We all have days where we feel like some or all of these things, please understand, this list is not to diagnose you in any way. I simply want to bring this to your attention in the beginning of the season so you can become aware of what might be going on. If you or someone you know are experiencing these on a regular, continual basis, please talk with someone about it. Your family Dr is a great place to start. He/She can then refer you to a therapist to further your journey to putting these unfortunate feelings behind you and allowing you to start enjoying your days no matter what the season. If at any time you are feeling hopeless or suicidal in any way, please seek emergency help immediately.

There is no reason to go through any of this alone and you are by no means weak because you need help getting past some of these emotions. If you had a sinus infection you'd go to the Dr to get help, this is no different. Here is a great site with counselors waiting to point you in the direction you need to go.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

This is so common in Alaska, because of the crazy weather. Unfortunately suicide is very common on base as well. They have quarterly suicide awareness meetings that are mandatory. It's sad really.