Seasonal Depression

Katana Provost

Photos taken of the tree outside of SPASH. This represents what it’s like for people to go through seasonal depression. The trees losing its leaves is an analogy for losing yourself to seasonal depression.

Have you ever felt like you physically did not have the energy or motivation to do school work during the winter months? Possibly between Thanksgiving and Christmas break? That may be seasonal depression also known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

 The symptoms are extremely hard to live with and can sometimes lead to suicide. When people are in a major depressive state oftentimes they don’t have the motivation to do what people would consider normal daily tasks. I asked a friend who was diagnosed with SAD (who would like to stay anonymous)  what it feels like to live with it. “I was super lethargic all the time. I had no motivation to do anything. I developed insomnia and I stopped eating.” It gets hard to brush your teeth, shower, brush your hair, and even change your clothes. SAD takes over people’s mental state and makes it hard to live life normally. Thankfully studies know the reasoning behind seasonal depression. 

When there’s less sunlight, your body doesn’t release the correct amount of serotonin, the hormone primarily responsible for happy moods. This causes your mood to be sadder than usual. It’s a constant state of depression. According to Harvard Mental Health Magazine, Seasonal depression is something that affects about 5/6% of people. That number may seem small but it’s about 6 out of 100 people. Luckily over time they’ve found different ways to treat it.

Some treatments to help regulate the depression include light therapy, medications, physical activity, therapy, and meditation. You’ve probably heard of most of those treatments except for one. Light therapy. It’s an electric device that emits light as if it were a normal day in summer so you would get the correct amount of sunlight. My favorite way to help treat my seasonal depression is physical activity. It benefits me in more ways than physically.  Harvard studied how much physical activity benefited one’s mood. “An hour’s walk in winter sunlight was as effective as 2½ hours of artificial light–and the patients were also getting exercise.” (SIRS researcher) It helps release serotonin, you’re getting physically stronger, and you’re spending time outside. It’s a great thing to help with seasonal depression. 

In all honesty, seasonal depression is a hard thing to deal with, but it isn’t something you should have to battle alone. Some things you can do if you think you or someone you know may be struggling with it include: talking to a parent, asking a guidance counselor at school about getting help, or speaking with your doctor during your yearly checkup. There are so many different treatment options to try out. Something will work out, it just takes time to try them.