Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Winter Blues

I don't know about the rest of you, but, winter time has the tendency to get me down, if I am not careful.
Sure, I love the snow, the holidays, the rain and cold.
But I miss the sun.
Sometimes, too much.
And there is a reason why.

Seasonal affective disorder. (SAD). Heard of it? Its been around since the 6th century, first documented in the Nordic countries. Women are more affected by this then men, though it does affect both genders.
it is a mood disorder where people get depressive symptoms in the winter, repeatedly, year after year. They sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweet, or starchy food. (They, being me, a lot of the time).
This 'mood variation' seems to be related to light. I try to combat it by getting outside, cold or not, or, turning on all the lights in the house. It kind of works. The people who suffer from this disorder have different levels, mild to severe. I tend to think I am more on the mild side, though, truthfully, there are times, depending on how bad/depressing work has been and what is going on at home (or my time of the month) where my symptoms veer towards the more severe. If I recognize what is happening I try to go do something fun (like Christmas Tree shopping, or cookie making, or something) but its when I don't recognize it that things get dark, and I sleep. A lot. Then I realize I am sleeping too much and go seek the light.
Meds are also used to treat SAD, and have been very beneficial. Someday I may need some. It could happen, I know this. Or a light therapy lamp.
Wondering what symptoms are? There are four criteria: depressive episodes at a particular time of the year, remission or mania also at a characteristic time of year (getting better when the sun is out), pattern existing for at least 2 years, and the seasonal depressive episodes must outnumber "other" depressive episodes throughout the patients life time.
I meet these criteria. Winter is tough on me. My sisters also both have a hard time with this, older sister, especially. We've talked about it. There have been times when she has called to see if I am having a tough time. Sometimes, I call her. She's usually asleep.
So if you notice in the winter time that you are feeling down, eating pasta and sweet things, and crave sunlight, consider this. It could be you are SAD, too...


Mary said...

I want to eat and hibernate during the winter. I know it's the lack of sun that does it. It's not to a clinical level, but I think either I have a touch of SAD or I'm part bear.

Jo Beaufoix said...

This was really good Mie. Mr B has a touch of SAD and I think I need to get more light. I hope you keep on top of things this year and stay well. Hugs. (I'm catching up at last.)