Tag Archives: mental illness

Is there really such a thing as “Seasonal Depression”?

Y-E-S, YES! 

It is real, and it is true. 

But what is it? 

Mayo describes seasonal depression to be a type of depression that’s related to the changes of the season. Seasonal depression is also known as “seasonal affection disorder” (SAD). (What an abbreviation, right?) 

SAD symptoms comes either during late fall/early winter through to late spring/early summer (winter depression); or late spring/early summer through late fall/early winter (summer depression). The most common symptoms are: feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty; having frequent thoughts of death or suicide; feel sluggish and agitated; problems with adequate sleeping; losing interests in activities you once enjoyed. 

According to Mayo, specific symptoms are as followed, and they are quite usual during those depression seasons: 

Winter DepressionSummer Depression
– Oversleeping
– Weight gain
-Tiredness/low energy
– Changes in appetite; especially
craving for foods high in carbohydrates 
– Trouble sleeping
– Poor appetite
– Weight loss
– Agitation or anxiety 

Depression in general is never easy to handle. The way people deal with it may be different—healthy and unhealthy hobbies are generally used to release the levels of depression. Sometimes, it can become deadly. 

Help is there for people that needs it. The first step to getting help is acknowledging what you are feeling. It is so important to understand why you are feeling the way you are! Life is full of ups and downs, but if we realize that we have been feeling down way more than we normally do, maybe it is time to get professional help.

There is this lamp that is supposed to help elevate your mood and improve concentration for when you are feeling SAD. In the reviews, this lamp has shown to help a customer “cope with the winter blues at home” (Maggie, 2019). The light coming from the lamp help releases the depression weight. This lamp is portable and easy to use. The person can carry it with them and use it when SAD suddenly crawls up on them.

I personally didn’t know about seasonal depression until I realized my own patterns during the winter months. It comes and go in the spring. And living in Minnesota where it’s snowy, cold, and it gets dark sooner because of setting the clocks back, it just seems to make it worse. I just ordered this lamp and is very excited to use it!

-KCY, 2

Listening to Mental Illness

Today would have been my husband John’s 37th birthday. He lost a long and painful battle with depression on February 5, 2005. His illness went undiagnosed and untreated.

No one was listening.

Untreated depression is as likely to kill you as untreated cancer. In fact, depression can cause all kinds of physical symptoms:  chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, tiredness, sleep disturbances, psychomotor activity changes, and appetite changes.  But many illnesses can cause symptoms like these: poor diet, stress, autoimmune disease, and cancer. Depression is difficult to diagnose. John exhibited some of these symptoms, and those around him could see it, but he seemed to manage; many people do. Not only is depression hard to spot, once diagnosed it is not an easy subject to talk about.

I often wondered why the conversation around depression, but also the larger topic of mental illness, was so difficult. After John died, it felt strange to tell people about his death and if I was just meeting someone, often times I didn’t say anything.  It is a great way to kill a conversation, or at least that’s what I often assumed. I started to get tired of this non-disclosure; it was like I couldn’t tell people about a large part of my life–it was as if it never happened.

CDC stats on mental illnessThe problem is the stigma associated with mental illness. Mental Illness Affects 25% of the United States population and still, few people are comfortable telling others about their own, or a family member’s diagnosis. Frequently, there is a societal perception that if you are medicated you just can’t deal with your problems, or you are not legitimately sick. This prevents many people from seeking the help that they need.

#IWillListen

Over the past nine years, I have learned about many organizations and events to help educate us about the very realness of mental illness. The best national clearinghouse is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ New York City Chapter recently launched the I Will Listen campaign.  This campaign has powerful potential to combat the stigma surrounding mental illness, because it asks you to promise to be a safe set of ears for someone who needs to talk about their illness.

By promising to listen, your help create a larger network of listeners and you open up the conversation.

Facebook  and Twitter #IWillListen

I hope that people continue to listen. I know that I will.