Seasonal Depression IS a Real Thing!
by Taylor Smith, CHOP5 Wellness Blogger
Depression. A single word that says so much, yet so little. A word that scares most people to say, while is overlooked by many. A word that impacts the lives of many. A single word that needs to be taken seriously by all.
The Stigma Around Depression
Approximately 280 million people in the world have depression (about 3.8% of the total population). Yet, depression is talked about so little. However, when it is discussed, there is a negative stigma that comes along with it. Many people are afraid to admit they have depression because for fear of being viewed as weak or less than. Others are afraid to be vulnerable and are uncomfortable talking about it because it is a stigmatized subject.
The Negative Impact of Minimizing Depression
Also, when many people do speak up about struggling with depression, it is often taken lightly. More than not, you may hear people joking about depression or casually saying “xyz” made them so depressed today. This lack of understanding and respect for what depression really is makes many people with it slip between the cracks.
My Personal Struggle
Personally, I have struggled with depression. I used to think I was depressed if I was sad for a day or a couple of days. But, looking back I realized I did not understand what depression really was until I actually went through it. Unfortunately, most people do not understand what ‘depression’ entails because we are not thoroughly educated on it. It’s extremely important to be aware of the signs of depression to look out for not only for yourself, but others around you. It’s especially critical in today’s competitive, materialistic society with unrealistic standards.
Depression Does NOT Equal Being Unhappy
Depression is more than feeling sad. It’s more than not wanting to get out of bed. Depression is different for everyone. Sometimes, it looks like isolating yourself from others and being quiet. Other times it looks like putting a happy face on in public and acting like everything’s fine. Depression may feel like your mind is foggy and you can’t focus. It may feel like you can only go through the motions.
Maybe all you want to do is sleep and not leave your room. Maybe nothing feels worth it anymore and you lose your motivation. Depression is a unique beast.
It’s also necessary to understand that depression may be ongoing due to certain situations, experiences or events. But depression can also be periodic. Seasonal depression is a big thing for many people. Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons—-begins and ends at about the same times every year. Most cases of SAD start in the early fall/winter and go away in the spring/summer.
The Red Flags of Depression
Here are some signs of depression to be aware of:
- Hopeless outlook
- Loss of interest
- Increased fatigue & sleep problems
- Isolating yourself
- Lack of motivation
- Social withdrawal (feeling like “hibernating”)
- Changes in appetite & weight
- Uncontrollable emotions
- Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
- Mood changes
- Feeling sluggish
- Mind feels “foggy”
- Having low energy
- Feeling worthless
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Episodes of violent behavior
Seasonal Depression Treatment
If you’ve been diagnosed with seasonal depression, here are a few treatment options that have been proven to help:
- Light therapy
- Antidepressant medications
- Vitamin D
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: (CBT is a type of talk therapy)
- Spending time outdoors
If you or someone you know struggle with depression, there are many resources out there to help. Talking to a doctor, therapist, or trusted adult is an important step. If your depressive thoughts become too much here is the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number you can call: 988.
All in all, I hope this information educates you and makes you more aware than before. Sending love and many hugs to you all!
New Year’s Intentions Update:
My focus for the month of is on my New Year’s intention of starting strong in school and lacrosse, while also making time for fun! Now that classes are in full swing, I want to focus on giving it my all on and off the field. But I don’t want to get lost and lose sight of what matters. So, I hang out with friends and do memorable things on the weekends to break up the daily grind. Here’s a picture of a memorable night at a CU football game last month!