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Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by RumoursOfMyDemise, Nov 14, 2011.

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  1. RumoursOfMyDemise

    RumoursOfMyDemise Well-Known Member

    Okay, so I'm 99.9% sure that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. For the last 3 years, I've been severely depressed every autumn (September - November), with this often continuing into late Winter/ early spring. March in particular has been hell over the last couple of years. Even before I was severely (suicidally depressed), I've always remembered feeling rather melancholy in Autumn since I was around 12 years old (or maybe even younger). I have pretty much all the symptoms of SAD, including craving carbohydrates, and comfort eating. I've gained a lot of weight due to this. I can also sleep for like 10 hours, and I'll wake up feeling as if I got no sleep at all, and I'll feel extremely tired most of the time during the day. I've been finding it extremely difficult to get up on time lately (usually oversleeping by an hour or more). All the SAD tests I've taken (online) indicate that it's very likely I do have it.

    However, I also suffer from MDD. I actually feel depressed most of the year (but like I said, it's usually worse in Autumn, and I've been suicidal in Autumn for the past 3 years in a row). But my suicide attempt was in July, which seems odd to me, since it's usually when I feel 'better' (depressed, but not suicidally). I dunno...maybe I have dysthimia or whatever, since I'm depressed seemingly most of the time...I have no idea.... Or maybe I don't have SAD and it's just a coincidence that I'm more depressed in the Autumn and winter, but getting more daylight does seem to help... I dunno....can anyone with a knowledge of SAD shed some light on this? (pun not intended)
  2. Isabel

    Isabel Staff Alumni

    For me SAD just compounded depression. To my regular med regimen, I would add light therapy in the Fall. But you may want to talk to your pdoc if something else can be done.
  3. ExtraSoap

    ExtraSoap Well-Known Member

    My depression does have a tendency to become amplified during late autumn/winter, even though I LOVE skiing and snowboarding.
  4. Wastingecho

    Wastingecho Well-Known Member

    your body needs natural light for various reasons - creating vitamin d for one

    without enough natural light your internal chemistry can get messed up

    and if you are already predisposed toward depression it just makes things worse

    you may want to look into getting a full-spectrum lamp - that helps sometimes
  5. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    I agree with Wastingecho, you could try getting a full-spectrum light. My brother-in-law has SAD and his house is full of them (I personally hate it, but it really helps him!). The other thing that really helps (and something I love myself) is his Lumie clock, which simulates the sunrise and helps you wake up naturally. Unfortunately, cheap versions of these aren't very good, so it's worth investing in a decent one.

    Just a thought, but with regards to your suicide attempt, I read somewhere once that suicide attempts are more likely when the person is feeling better because they can find the energy to actually make the attempt. In the Autumn and Winter you're actually too depressed to attempt suicide. So it's important to ensure that you have a support system in place throughout the year, not just in the Autumn and Winter.

  6. RumoursOfMyDemise

    RumoursOfMyDemise Well-Known Member

    I actually so have a SAD lamp, but it is one of the cheaper ones and doesn't make much difference to my mood (probably just placebo if even that), although maybe it because I haven't been using it enough...I'll try using it more, but it's kind of difficult since I don't really want anyone to know I'm so depressed (and do my best to hide this). I might try saving up for one of the high quality ones if it's going to help enough to at least stop me from being suicidal...

    I've actually been wondering about this myself lately. Everything I do lately is exhausting. If I could just fall asleep and not wake up, I would, but the energy required to actually kill oneself (especially now that I don't have an easy way to do this) - including suicide notes and whatnot - is daunting. When I made my suicide attempt, although I didn't feel any better in terms of mood, I did feel a bit better physically. For example, I'm getting like 7-10 hours sleep a night at the moment (which makes no difference), whereas in July, I was getting around 4-5 hours of sleep a night, and actually had more energy than I do now. I don't have a support network in place at all - I don't have any friends irl, and my family don't know anything with regards to how bad my depression is, or even what depression really is. The time I told my psychiatrist about the self harm, she said she'd tell my mum if it got any worse, so if I told her about the suicide attempt, she probably would have told everyone...

    Like I said above, my psychiatrist generally isn't helpful with anything, and has actually made a lot of things worse. I might go and see my GP about the SAD, but if it's anything like the time I went to them about the panic attacks and MMD, they'll probably just laugh in my face and tell me to lighten up.

    Anyway, sorry for the somewhat jumbled rant. My head is very foggy at the moment, and it's exhausting even to type this. :/
  7. DrNick1010

    DrNick1010 Well-Known Member

    I've been getting really depressed in February/March. I actually love the winter season, even though I stay inside most of the time as it is. For me, January is the perfect month because its weather is so predictable, post all the Christmas commercial bullshit that drives me crazy and before the Valentine's Day ads that also always get me down. Feb/March is a hard time because of Valentine's Day (I've been single almost my whole life) the unpredictability of the weather, and the guilt of Lent. I also try to give something up for Lent and that often gets me pretty depressed as well. Plus I absolutely hate how dreary March looks when the snow melts and there's big puddles and mud and the trees are all bare. It looks like some kind of post-apocalypse. The only glimmer of hope in those two months is St. Patrick's Day, which is one of my favorite holidays. So yeah, can't say I really have typical Seasonal Affective Disorder, but unpredictable weather (cold/not cold) really drives me insane. I actually love cold weather more than "unseasonably warm" temperatures. It makes me feel like something's wrong with the environment (like global warming or climate change).
  8. alice_0

    alice_0 Active Member

    A friend of mine told me she noticed that i seem to get more unhappy and have more problems with my mental state during the winter. she told me that sometimes going to a tanning salon, not going in long enough to get tan, but long enough to get some light and some warmth, can help. i have not tried it yet, but i have heard from other people that this can help.
    sorry if i havent been much help...
  9. Mirikun

    Mirikun Well-Known Member

    I also get a lot more depressed over the winter months! I don't really notice until the sun comes up in the spring and I suddenly feel so much better. Have also been considering getting one of those lamps recently!
  10. RumoursOfMyDemise

    RumoursOfMyDemise Well-Known Member

    I can relate to this, I think a lot of people on here hate Valentine's Day for that very reason.

    While I'm usually not so keen on the whole tanning salons thing, this actually sounds like a pretty good idea, and I might try it sometime. :)

    I'm also planning on getting a Lumie Alarm clock for Christmas, seeing as how I sleep in so much lately and getting out of bed has been a massive ordeal. Rather expensive, but it should hopefully help.
  11. Sephaus

    Sephaus Well-Known Member

    I experience this every winter, makes me dread this time of year.
  12. red ribbons

    red ribbons Well-Known Member

    I know I have SAD. It starts to come on in late September when the days get shorter and starts to get better when the days get longer after the solstice.
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