Yes, Seasonal Depression Is A Real Thing, And No, You're Not Alone

Yes, Seasonal Depression Is A Real Thing, And No, You're Not Alone

About five percent of the U.S. population experience symptoms of seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) every single year.

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Well, here we are again. Another holiday season has come and passed and the only thing that's merry and bright in my life right now is the Christmas tree in my living room, still lit up as if Christmas wasn't three weeks ago. Being a Midwesterner has its highs and lows. It's nice being able to count on snow at least once before Christmas, but it's awful knowing you've got at least six snowstorms coming at you in the three and a half months following. It's hard keeping spirits high when every day is gray and cold.

If you notice your mood lagging down more than usual around this time of year, you are not alone.

About five percent of the U.S. population experience symptoms of seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) every single year. That's about 16.5 million people.

So, what is SAD exactly? It's a subtype of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, but most people experience it during the winter months. It can make you feel fatigued, low energy, moodiness, and a number of other symptoms. Essentially, it reinforces your already-lazy winter behavior, and it makes you want to stay in bed for the rest of the season. It can really suck the life out of you.

There are several different methods that have been known to help treat SAD. First, you should talk to your doctor about what you're feeling and be honest with them and yourself. Your doctor might prescribe a new medication or perhaps some physical activity. Keep an open mind to their suggestions, even if you're feeling discouraged about your mental health. It's a complicated headspace to be in, but don't let it get the best of you. Your doctor wants to help guide you to a peaceful place in your mind, so be open to suggestions and advice, even though you know what's best for you in the long run.

Many people who have SAD say the best treatment is sunlight. During the winter months indoors, there isn't a lot of exposure to direct sunlight, which is a good source of vitamin D in humans! When there's that lack of vitamin D, you'll begin to feel sluggish. I'm aware not everyone has the budget or time to schedule a mid-winter vacation due to lack of positive energy, but you still need to set aside time devoted to making yourself feel good. You might also consider investing in a light-therapy energy lamp! These lamps emit bright white light that helps your boosts your mood and make you feel like you've been laying on the beach all morning.

No matter what's got you down this winter, remember that it is only a few more months until we're back to sunny and 75-degree weather. Do your best to make the most of the cold months! Enjoy leggings and hot-coffee season while it lasts and keep your chin up! Summer is just around the corner.

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Sorry I'm A Size 00

But I'm not really sorry.
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My whole life I’ve been thin—which is kind of an understatement. Every time I go to the doctor I get the same “you’re underweight” lecture that I’ve heard every year since I was able to form memories. I’ve never really felt insecure about my weight, I love being able to eat everything and not gain a single pound. Since my freshman year of high school I’ve probably only gained 8 pounds and I’m now a sophomore in college. Of course, in school, there were rumors that I was anorexic or bulimic, but everyone who knew me knew that was far from the truth. I’m now 19, 5’2, and I still have yet to break 100 pounds on the scale. It seems that there is a lot of skinny shaming going around and to me, one of the main contributors to that is the Dove Real Beauty campaign.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this because skinny girls get all the praise and other body types are neglected. That’s really not true, though. While loving other body types, you are tearing down skinny girls. Why is it okay to do that to skinny girls but not to other body types? Why is it okay to say “only dogs like bones” or say “every body type is beautiful” until you see a model's abs, or ribs, or thigh gap and then tear them down because they’re “unnaturally” skinny?



The point I’m trying to make is that, as a naturally skinny girl, I have never shamed anyone for their body type, yet I go every day and get at least two comments about my weight. I’m always the skinny girl, the toothpick, but I’m not Jessica. Yeah, I’m a size 00. Get over it. If you have an issue with my body and feel like my body is disgusting to you, don’t look at it. I know that I’m healthy and I don’t need your input when my body just naturally burns calories fast. I don’t have an eating disorder and never have. I am real beauty though, and I know that because I’m comfortable in my own skin. So maybe the real issue is that we as a society have been shoving certain body types down our daughters’ throats so they begin to romanticize models that have certain standards that they have to meet, who work hard for the bodies that they have, and are making a hell of a lot more money than most of the people discussing why they look emaciated while what they’re actually looking at is the photoshopped product.

I’m not going to apologize for being skinny when that is just how my body is, I can’t help it. So please, stop tearing my body down while trying to bring your body up. You can praise your body without shaming skinny girls. Shaming me for being thin does not make you better than the man that shamed your body, just as me shaming you for being curvy does not make me better than the man that shamed my body. As women, we need to love each other because we are the only ones who truly understand each other.


Cover Image Credit: Victoria's Secret Untouched

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To The Girl Who Is Fine With Not Being OK, It's Time To Address Those Issues

It may not have seemed like addressing your issues was a big deal, but addressing them is the first step to resolving them.

bxccann
bxccann
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Confrontation has always driven you: away from your problems, away from your friends, away from yourself. You have become a person who loves helping others, but I ask you this: where is that compassion for yourself?

When things get tough, it's hard to distinguish what exactly may be the root of the issue. Oftentimes, it's easier to clump your emotional disarray into a response like "Well, I'm here," or "I don't know [what the problem is]." That response is where it stops. You find yourself questioning not what the source of these feelings is but rather how you can mitigate the number of questions being thrown your way about how you feel or why you seem so out of it.

You need to take a step back. Reflect. Assess. Process. Proceed.

Nothing good will seem to happen until you take a step back. In some cases, you may need to take a few. You take on new projects, more work, and more responsibilities. Instead of confronting yourself, you are building a shelter around yourself. It's easy to interpret this as moving on - have you thought about the impact?

There could eventually be a time when things go well. Your shelter is secure, warm, and you feel like you can finally breathe after your efforts.

There could also be a time when things do not go well. Your shelter, so trusted, falls. Suddenly, you face the storm that was brewing just outside of its walls. Trapped and scared, you're left to confront the mess and the storm outside, that emotional storm that you have inside of you, or scramble to pick up the pieces.

More often than not, you rebuild. And rebuild. And rebuild.

How many times must you barricade yourself in and not allow yourself to feel before you lose sight of yourself? Each time your shelter falls, the mirror cracks. It doesn't seem so bad at first. A hairline fracture in the glass. Repeat the process enough and there won't be a mirror left at all.

You may not have to pick up the pieces, but rather the shards in order to save it: your self-image. The way you view yourself affects not only the way that others view you but who you are and how you interact with the world and the people around you.

One day, you'll hit an epiphany. You deserve the same care and love that everyone does. You deserve to feel OK.

The storm brewing inside you is terrifying. After spending so long in your makeshift home, it may seem even more daunting.

It's OK to be scared. It's OK to not know what will happen in the eye of the storm. The most important part is that you experience the rain. Dance in it, play in it, and more importantly, accept it.

The rain will cease, and the sun will come. The wave of relief that washes over your skin will leave you wondering why you ever hid from the initial problem in the first place.

The next time you encounter this crossroads of confronting the issue, you may find yourself looking to build that shelter again, and that's alright. You are human, and only you can find the inspiration to address the issue.

When the time comes to bring a little light on yourself, just remember: take a step back. Reflect. Assess. Process. Proceed. Repeat until the problem is solved.

One day, you won't rely on that shelter. I'm rooting for you.

bxccann
bxccann

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