Post # 1
So I was always that person who never believed in Seasonal Affective Disorder. I thought it was a silly diagnoses for people who just don’t like winter. As a kid growing up, and even into my early 20s, I LOVED winter. I loved playing in the snow and watching it fall, and everything about it.
Fast forward about four or five years, and I think I have SAD. Since moving to Chicago, it’s gotten so much worse. I’ve never shown signs of serious depression until we moved here and suffered through the winters. I love the city, but gosh, winters suck! Dark at 4:30 p.m.? Yikes! It’s cold, it’s windy, and last Saturday, I was so sad about everything that I cried for an hour straight about my total lack of energy, amd moped around for the rest of the day. I can’t sleep at night, and during the day, I’m exhausted and moody. Going outside makes me want to drive a pencil through my eye (kind of … ). All I want to do is sleep all day and stay in bed or lay on the couch. Getting up every day is so hard. I know I have SAD because it goes away come April/May when temps start to rise and the sun stays out longer.
It’s not unmanageable yet, and I don’t think anyone notices but me and my husband, but I always fear it will get worse and worse every year. Does anyone else suffer from SAD? How do you deal? I kind of refuse to get one of those little blue lamps. I’ve tried increasing my gym workouts (i.e. by actually going) and that seems to be helping a little, but it’s incredibly hard to get myself to workout because of that mopey, low-energy thing.
Post # 3
Both my Fiance and I suffer from SAD!
It sucks but I have found ways to cope.
1) Put yourself on a rigorous schedule where you get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time everyday!
2) Get into a gym routine. And honestly I have tried different times of the day and the best time for me is in the early evening. I start going down hill at around 3 so getting to the gym for 5:30 (right after work) it is already dark and it wakes me up and rejuvenates me. Yes it’s tough to force myself to go but when it’s routine you feel worse when you don’t!
3) Make plans. It’s the worst when you go home after work and you have 4-5 hours of darkness in front of the TV in front of you. Go meet friends for dinner, drinks, go see a movie, invite the girls over for a girls night, have a dinner party etc. It helps to have things to look forward too!
I hope this helps – If it gets worse talk to your doctor!
Post # 4
The “happy lights” may seem weird, but they really do help. When I lived in Montana, I suffered a lot from SAD. It’s really difficult to basically not see the sun for several months out of the year, and what’s important to remember is that SAD is a biochemical imbalance. Using light therapy helps alter your biochemical response and will really make you feel so much better. I used the lights provided on my college campus, but often times gyms and doctors have the lights available for use for a nominal fee, if you don’t want to purchase your own.
Other things that helped me:
- supplement with extra vitamin D
- spend as much time outside during daylight hours as possible. Take walks on your breaks and spend lunch outside, if you can.
- exercise does help a lot. if you can get a workout “buddy” or join a class, you might feel more compelled to go since you’ll be accountable to someone besides just yourself.
- some people in my college were affected badly enough they had to go on medication (Paxil, I think?). If your SAD is really bad, you might want to talk to your doctor about getting on a prescription.
Post # 5
I can definitly notice a difference in my mood when we have a long stretch of dark, dreary weather. Last week I was starting to get in one of those moods, when I just felt hopeless and frustrated and annoyed by everyone! It was so nice to finally see the sun on Thursday and over the weekend I felt so refreshed and energized- in a better mood overall. I know that a lot of people are against tanning beds, but back when I could afford to go tanning, I really thought it helped to just go a few times throughout the winter.
Post # 6
Come to Seattle and we’ll talk! I think half the city suffers from this. I’ve found that a Vitamin D supplement is extremely helpful to me… Well, that and a planned move to a sunnier climate. Sorry Seattle! I love you, but I just can’t abide your winters anymore!
Post # 7
Lol, DG! I couldn’t believe the difference last winter when we moved from Montana to Tahoe. I forgot what it was like to not “hiberate” for four months out of the year!
Post # 8
I’d change your attitude about light therapy. It really does help. When the light/dark cycle of the days changes, it affects your brain chemistry, and the blue light functions to sort of trick your brain back to normal. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is also essential to your mental health.
Post # 9
Please add me to the bunch! I didnt mind winter so much before but now that I am stuck in doors with my 9 month old daughter some days drive me bonkers! I try to limit going anywhere because I dont want her to get sick because we have had enough colds already for this season. However, like everyone else has said I get up early every morning and get my run in on the treadmill and I try to plan a couple of activities during the week that me and her can go to. I cant wait for summer!
Post # 10
Ugh, I feel you on this. It’s not bad enough to be REALLY disabilitating for me, but it still makes me so lazy and do nothing but snuggle.
Post # 11
I had a friend who was diagnosed with SAD, but couldn’t afford one the the fancy happy lights, so her doctor told her to go t a tanning bed 3-4 times a month just to simulated the sun… it worked for her and her family (her brother and father also suffer from SAD).
Also… I’ve heard wonderful things about the sunrise alarm clocks… I really want one! Apparently they make getting up in the morning before the sun super easy!
Post # 12
Thanks for the suggestions! Keep ’em comin’!
I think my next stpe will be Vitamin D, since a few of you said it helps. I really need to get into a workout routine again too. I’m usually so good about it during spring/summer/fall, but winter I always let myself go because of the lack of energy, and I need to remember that going will help!
Thanks again everyone! If it gets worse, and nothing else works, maybe I will think about the blue light 🙂