I don’t know if I suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – or not. If I do, I think it is a mild case. Don’t know what SAD is?
Here’s the Mayo Clinic explaining it, “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.”
“Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy.”
What I do know about myself is that I don’t feel happy about the dwindling hours of sunlight as winter advances. I can’t ride my bike as much because of the looming darkness. By late December I am thrilled to see that the days are beginning, very slowly, a few minutes a day, but undeniably, to have more light. I live in Chicago. To help me to enjoy the return of the light as winter ebbs, I have charted the sunrise and sunset for January through March. I mentioned living in Chicago because you likely live elsewhere and your sunrise and set times will vary somewhat from mine.
It seems like 100 years ago that I took care of my aunt who was suffering form Alzheimer’s Disease. Going into her first afflicted winter, I recalled her having told me that she “always felt down” in the winter time. Not long before that, her physician had said to me that it would be no problem keeping her in her home if she didn’t become aggressive. As I wanted her to remain in her home, I started looking into Seasonal Affective Disorder.
During this time of long hours in our homes due to the pandemic, and with the onset of shorter, darker winter days, I thought it would be worthwhile to talk about SAD.
Here is what the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says about SAD.
Many people go through short periods of time where they feel sad or not like their usual selves. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.
In some cases, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. If you have noticed significant changes in your mood and behavior whenever the seasons change, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression.