Winter blues suck. Some people believe Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, while others think it’s a total fable.
According to bodyandhealth.canada.com, 2% to 3% of the general population experience Seasonal Affective Disorder – a type of depression that occurs due to the amount of exposure to sunlight. Usually occurs for most people in fall and winter but may occur to some around spring or summer time. Though, it is episodal, just like how it is with Premenstrual dysphoric disorder – a type of depression that starts and may exacerbate before menstruation for women.
15 signs you’re experiencing SAD:
1. Lack of energy
It may seem obscene to lose energy for a long period of time, but when you’re not exposed to daylight for a long time it may result in a lack of energy which could have an impact on your productivity.
Lack of energy not only affects my daily routine but also holds me back from seeing the silver lining in things.
2. Loss of interest in everything
I used to live in a sunny place and from my experience, I can tell you that the Canadian weather makes me feel grumpy and disinterested in all of the things that I was once into.
For a while, I could not wrap my head around the reasons why I felt sad during winter until I noticed it reoccurring every year.
3. Random irritability
Throwing tantrums here and there? Same. Everything is pissing you off and everyone in sight seems unfathomably annoying right now? I know.
4. Hibernating for long hours
I plead guilty to hibernating for the longest hours during winter and I have no shame. In hindsight, even though health experts stress on getting as much sleep as possible, there are no qualms that it doesn’t seem to benefit me throughout winter. Instead, I feel exhausted and in need of wrapping myself in a quilt and getting cozy!
5. Extreme sadness and self-doubt
On top of experiencing PMS every month, it irks me that random waves of sadness and self-doubt hit me every now and then during winter. Although it is common to feel hopeless and miserable, I believe seasonal affective disorder causes these emotions to amplify, allowing additional feelings to influence the way I value myself and view others.
I tend to catch myself unapologetically comparing myself to other girls and forgetting to look at what I have and what I’m blessed with.
6. Changes in appetite
Carbs? Hell yes! I’m never more grateful for croissants, bread and butter, and macaroni and cheese than I am in winter! According to John O’Connor: “Carbohydrate-rich meals spike insulin levels, which helps our brain make serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter responsible for sleep, mood and even sex drive”.
Okay then…I’ll eat my heart out!!
7. Concentration and remembrance troubles
Not sure if I’m the only one, but I have experienced the weirdest, chronic concentration troubles which got me questioning whether I had a thyroid problem that’s disturbing my ability to concentrate. Turns out it’s the seasonal affective disorder playing around with my focus potentiality.
8. Preferring to stay home
I can’t begin to reiterate how many times I have canceled on my friends and skipped university solely because I wake up feeling low and unprepared to interact with people.
Mind you, I’m an extrovert and staying home for too long exacerbates my mood.
9. Feeling guilty and not knowing how to explain it to people
Then…I’m swamped in guilt-induced feelings because I chose to stay home and kick it alone with my croissants.
10. Unusual headaches
Do you ever wake up looking at the gloomy skies and undergoing unexplained headaches? It might be seasonal affective disorder doing its thing.
In addition to feeling frail, hopeless and alone, I end up wasting time contemplating all the decisions I’ve made my whole life and how I could change feeling moody, without actually acting on it.
12. Extreme happiness when exposed to sunlight
Life has a funny way of proving me wrong. Just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse, for a second, I feel extremely excited for when the sun makes an appearance, only to have it disappear again behind a big dark cloud…
13. Anxious, scared and overthinking
At times, seasonal affective disorder can deviate my mind to places I don’t wish to go, resulting in some next-level chronic overthinking cycle.
14. Pushing people away
I know feeling low and canceling on friends incessantly can result in pushing people away, but the right people will stick around no matter what and should understand the circumstances.
15. Feeling depressed the entire winter
Canada takes up the top half of the North American continent so you can imagine the vastness of its cities. It is challenging enough living in a place where the weather and location also play a role in affecting my mood.