'Seasonal Depression' IS Real And It IS Valid

'Seasonal Depression' IS Real And It IS Valid

It's so much more than being in a weird funk.


Around this time of year, you may feel yourself start to slip into an increased state of irritability or sadness when the weather gets cold. Many people notice a change in their personal well-being towards the end of the year, and recently I've heard talk all over the campus of "seasonal depression."

This phenomenon is actually called Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD... I know, ironic), and you guessed it, it's directly linked to changes in the seasons. According to Mayo Clinic, most people with SAD start to experience symptoms in the fall and they continue on into the winter months. These symptoms include a huge decrease in energy levels, moodiness, change in sleeping patterns and appetite, and loss of interest in regular routine activities.

As I said, I've heard countless friends and students on campus speaking about their experiences with seasonal depression. It's especially common with college students, who are bogged down with the stress of exams and end-of-semester work at this time of the school year. Although SAD only affects 4-6% of Americans, I can see many examples of symptoms within my peers.

Personally, I could see how easy it is to fall victim to dealing with SAD because I notice a complete change in my demeanor when the seasons turn. This school year has been especially hard, with school work and extracurriculars and a job - I noticed myself sleeping way more than usual and having less energy and motivation than I tend to have. I don't necessarily think it's severe enough to go see a doctor, because the feelings usually go away after a few days

Once I get past the end of this semester and have some time to breathe, I think I will feel a giant weight off my shoulders. Unfortunately for those suffering from SAD, sometimes it's not that easy; after all the holiday festivities fade away, they're left with the cold and dreary background of the winter. There are ways to lessen the impact of SAD though: light therapy, meditation and yoga, essential oils, outdoor activities, and socializing with friends all help to contribute to making you feel better.

If you think you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, please go see a doctor or a mental health professional.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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