Struggling With a Lack of Sunlight and Seasonal Depression? So am I…Let’s Cope

Getting through the night…

“It’s so difficult to describe depression to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling—that really hollowed-out feeling.” – J.K. Rowling

Can you relate?

Depression can be defined as, “a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems,” (Mayo Clinic, 2018). The types of depression can vary, from general depression, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression and more. However, one type of depression that we will discuss in this article is one that I don’t feel is talked about enough, and that’s seasonal depression (or to some, seasonal affective disorder).

Now, I’ve been running this blog since 2016, so most of you know my story. However, I’ll briefly share my overall experience with mental illness.

In March 2016, I was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. I was incredibly suicidal, anxious and obsessing about every fucking thing and eating all of my problems away. Since then, I have been prescribed over 10 different medications. Some have helped, others have worsened my symptoms and added on to my weight gain. It’s been quite the journey.

Through it all, fast forward almost 5 years later, and I am still living, breathing and fighting another day – although sometimes, it gets to be really hard. One of the most toughest times is a time that most people like to celebrate when they are filled with glee – Winter season. While everyone is wrapping gifts, maxing out their credit cards and preparing for Christmas, I feel like I am dying slowly on the inside. Along with my other conditions, I also suffer from seasonal depression.

It’s tricky to describe the feeling, because I honestly don’t know what I have to be so depressed about. I have a supportive family, I have a job, I own a business and I’m growing as an entrepreneur every single day. However, it’s that hollowed feeling that J.K. Rowling was describing – that’s what I feel during the holidays. While it should be a time to rejoice, all I feel is emptiness and the feeling of being lost, wondering if anybody will ever find me.

You might have already guessed it, but of course, my favorite time of the year is the summer. Sure, I have still made some suicide attempts during the summer seasons, however, it was STILL much better than what I endure during the latter part of the year. Go figure.

I HATE THE WINTER, period. It’s cold, there’s snow on the ground (yes, I am a Scrooge that absolutely HATES snow on the ground), the days are shorter, the nights are longer, and there’s a significant decrease in the amount of sun that we receive. It’s all crappy. It’s all bad.

At least, that’s how it feels.

Though many of you might already know the benefits of sunlight (both emotionally and physically), I learned a lot about sunlight while writing this piece and I am excited to share. So, what are the benefits of sunlight?

Let’s take a look at the little handy dandy graph below:

Additionally, here are some benefits of sunlight that I have discovered personally in my own life.

With more sun in my life:

  1. I am more productive
  2. I am happier
  3. I have more energy
  4. I have a boost of confidence
  5. I am more social
  6. I am more talkative with family and friends (as opposed to being distant)
  7. I enjoy traveling more
  8. My writing sounds more positive and uplifting
  9. My feeling of self-worth increases
  10. I feel more in tune with myself than ever before.

And all THAT comes from just playing in the sun.

So, what can we do when the sun is not an option? What happens during the winter holidays, when you’re sad and can’t think of why (or maybe you have endless reasons to be sad)?

How can we join in on the festivities and find genuine joy like everyone else appears to have?

Let’s dive in. Read the list below, and let me know what you think:

Here’s a few other tips that I am going to incorporate into my own life as well:

  1. Be mindful of the kind of tv that you watch. Stay away from tv shows, cartoons or movies that are saddening, grim or violent. Watch television that pours positive, funny, heartwarming and uplifting messages into your brain.
  2. Journal your thoughts! As an author, I have written two separate journals for those that feel suicidal. It can serve as a great tool during the winter seasons for those battling against SAD, or seasonal depression. Learn more about them HERE at my direct website: www.intomywoods.com .
  3. GET INTO SELF-CARE: What makes you feel warm, safe, happy, beautiful, proud, and confident? Turn to those things, whatever they might be. Me personally, I love lighting candles that smell good, doing my African spiritual rituals, prayer, meditation, listening to meditation music, listening to music period, and so on. Dive into your interests and passions times 10 during the times where you face seasonal depression.

It doesn’t have to be hard work, but it does take effort. You CAN DO IT.

Sources:

https://www.thehealthy.com/mental-health/depression/depression-quotes/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

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