Monday, June 11, 2012

Ever hear of the "winter blues"? Well I have, just about every year. I never paid much attention to it until I moved to a small studio apartment on the beach. I moved there in the summer, and spent a lot of the time at the pool, on the deck outside my door, on the beach, boardwalk and all around outside. I slept and ate inside and spent the rest of my days enjoying my location. Then I had my first winter. I would come home from work, and spend my day in my tiny apartment. I usually kept my blinds closed because I felt like my neighbors could see in my bedroom (so to speak) so in efforts to preserve privacy they were perpetually shut; making my tiny apartment very very dark. My first winter there I slept alot, ate alot, and was super lazy.... disconnected and found myself feeling isolated and unhappy. Then and spring and summer approached I was back outside loving life and back to my happy self. Then again, come winter.. the same thing. I told a friend what I was experiencing and she said I had the winter blues and needed some vitamin D. I didnt believe her, so I looked up this "winter blues" and surprised to see it was a legit condition and lots of people experienced it every year. I read about light therapy, and decided to just go out side and get my own light. I started taking walks on the boardwalk and taking vitamin D and trying to get some sunshine however I could ( even leaving my blinds open in my place). Pretty soon I was feeling good and forgot all about my dark depression of the cold cold winter.
   The winter blues is a milder form of bigger issue called Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to Mental Health America,Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD is a mood disorder associated with depression and related to seasonal variations of light. SAD affects half a million people every winter between September and April, peaking in December, January, and February and the winter blues affects even more people.
Symptoms of winter-onset seasonal affective disorder include:
  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping (feeling like you want to hibernate)
  • Loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates such as pastas, rice, bread and cereal
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating and processing information
Its crazy to think that something like the season changes can so strongly affect people, but it does. Suggested treatments include medications and light therapy. Less severe cases can be helped through more sunlight exposure. Luckily for us, its summertime now. Hopefully we all are out there enjoying the sunshine!


  1. That is very interesting. I read about it in our book but didn’t pay much attention to it until your post. I know a lot of people who hibernate in the winter but never to the extreme of becoming depressed or have depressed like symptoms. I too hibernate. It’s really because there’s not much to do in the winter and it’s just too cold to do outside activities. I’m glad that you did realize something was not right. A lot of people may experience these extreme symptoms and assume that it’s just out of winter boredom.

  2. I am exactly the same way when it comes to winter. It makes me sad and angry, really changing my emotions, and sometimes I just don't even leave the house. The cold, I think, makes me irritable and cranky, but I was never aware that this could be a disorder. Maybe I should get myself checked out for treatment.

  3. this is so crazy! i couldnt even imagine feeling like that. i always thought it was one of those things that people just made up to justify them feeling sad until i read in the book that it could actualy be diagnosed.

  4. I remember coming across this a while back before reading about it in this class, during the winter, a lot of suicides happen because some people who are already in a depressed state then adding on "winter blues" will result to suicide. There are those that go through a period of winter blues, like many of us have stated. I actually go through it as well because I feel like days are shorter with it being dark by 6pm. I never knew how much sunshine and daylight really brings happiness in people. I wonder what it's like for people who live in Alaska.

  5. i like that picture a lot. i am the kind of person that always has his blinds open so that when i wake up the sun is shining on my face and i actually want to wake up. i am also the kind of person that gets extremely mad when hot, but i do not have the summer seasonal depression because there is too much to enjoy. but i work next to three 550 degree ovens and my house has no AC so there are sometimes i am truly miserable because of the heat. i'd rather be cold so i can wrap in a blanket, but luckily for my location i can just jump in the ocean when overheated.