Seasonal Affective Disorder is Real

Seasonal Affective Disorder is Real

It's called SAD for a reason.

When the sun goes out in the winter, it almost feels as if our moods darken as well. You're lethargic, feel low, and just can't seem to get yourself out of this funk. You're not imagining things; you're feeling the winter blues.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as "winter blues", and "seasonal depression", is a depression that occurs the same season every year. It can happen any season, but it appears to be more common in winter. (

I live in northeast Maine, a very cold place, far, far away from the equator. I hate winter, which can last as long as six months out of the year (Maine weather is so comically unpredictable). When it's warm and sunny, I feel so carefree, brave, light, throwing my hair back. In winter when the sky is bland and the temperatures drop, I feel rock heavy, vulnerable, and less likely to leave my bed.

I already struggle with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression, which occur on their own schedules, regardless of the changing seasons. Every day I wake up, trying to keep my conditions at bay, but when you add seasonal affective disorder to the mix, I just want to stay all day in bed, sleep away the day, sleep away winter. Like the winter sky, darkness seems to last longer.

In winter, I feel so hopeless, bored, stir crazy, all at once. There's an emptiness that seems to linger for months, and I feel like I'm surviving day to day, rather than living and enjoying my days. I'm a grateful person and I know life can be worse, but depression really sucks, especially when it feels like it's on a seasonal schedule.

There's nothing we can do about the weather or how it affects us, but all I can do is tell myself that like my other conditions, the feelings will pass eventually and there's always something good every day. In the meantime, I take advantage of the indoors: cleaning, go through summer clothes I no longer want, listen to music, write. I gather up all the items and clothes I no longer want and donate them to thrift stores, and homeless shelters, because it feels good to let go of things I no longer need, feels good to give back.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:


Cover Image Credit: Associates in Family Medicine

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.

Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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