My Experience with Seasonal Affective Disorder

It starts when the weather gets cold. Snow starts to fall, ice builds up, and as the temperature drops, so does my motivation to get out of bed. My mood and the sky both turn grey. I'm sad, angry and indifferent, all at once, and it always gets worse as the winter goes on.

What I'm describing is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (cleverly and unfortunately referred to as S.A.D.), "a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year." It usually occurs around winter time, when the snow and ice comes in full force and it starts to look grey and bleak outside. S.A.D. is unfortunate on its own, but for someone who deals with depression year-round, it gets to be a heavy burden.

In my case, I have mild depression. I don't know what caused it or when I first knew I had it, but I know now. I'm usually able to manage it well and rise above it by keeping myself busy, which helps a lot. But every year, as soon as winter hits, I can feel myself slowing down until I stop entirely. There were times over the winter break where I had to will myself to get out of my bed and do something besides watch Netflix, and even then, it would be late in the afternoon.

S.A.D. has the exact same symptoms as non-seasonal depression (having low energy, getting easily irritated, feeling worthless at times, losing interest), but it could be more dangerous because of its regular pattern. Unlike non-seasonal depression, S.A.D. is typically, for me at least, more forceful. It's easier for me to overcome a bout of depression in warmer weather, because it's easier to tell when I'm feeling depressed. During the winter, however, it comes around stronger and more often, and personally, it's harder to fight off because I get used to feeling sad more often that I forget I can stop it.

For me, communicating with other people always helps. It's easy to feel alone when feeling depressed, but I have never felt alone when I've needed help or someone to talk to. The best thing to do when you're feeling depressed is to talk to anyone: your parents, siblings, close friends. I want to thank my friends for being there, even if it's just to talk, because it really helps more than you think it does.

Getting back into the school year, I'll be able to keep myself busy and surrounded by friends, so it will be easier to manage my S.A.D. It won't go away, and it will have its ups and downs as it gets colder, but I refuse to let it beat me. It never has, and I'll make sure it never will.

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