I love lazy summer mornings – gently waking to the brilliant rays of sunshine sprawling across my bedroom floor, the cool breeze drifting in through the window, and the sweet songs coming from the choir of the birds in the nearby trees. There is nothing more pleasant than that happy feeling I feel inside of my soul on these special summer days. Although these emotions may make us feel euphoric, as quickly as they appeared, they may abruptly end.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or as commonly referred to as SAD, is a type of depression that occurs during the changing of the seasons. Depression generally starts in the late fall months, lasting up to the sunnier months.

According to the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651) some common signs and symptoms are common w/SAD:

  • Feeling sad almost every day
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Having a lower than normal energy level
  • Oversleeping
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling guilty
  • Having suicidal thoughts or ideations
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Increased irritability

Some of the causes may also be contributed to low levels of serotonin, vitamin D, and or melatonin, primarily due to lack of sunlight.

There are some known treatments for SAD, such as phototherapy, psychotherapy, and/or certain medications. Phototherapy is a treatment where a person sits in front of special light box for the first waking hours of each day, with few side effects. Psychotherapy involves cognitive behavioral therapy. See your health care provider to determine if a medication is an option.

I believe a healthy diet with a regular exercise plan is always a good resource to lifting my spirits. Sometimes our mood drops when our bodies are not properly nourished. Regular exercise is known to increase serotonin in the brain, as well as endorphins. These natural occurring chemicals help to boost our energy, enhancing our moods. The second factor to a healthy diet and exercise is that it has a direct impact on our self-esteem. When we feel good about ourselves, we have a better perspective and attitude about who we are and our lives in general.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or ideations, you are not alone. There is help – talk with someone you trust or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or type GO to 741741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor through Crisis Text Line.

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