Winter depression, Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). As we say in Norwegian, “Dear child has many names”. Though this isn’t exactly a dear condition.
It’s real though. It tends to hit some of us who are unlucky enough to live somewhere where there’s proper winter. I say unlucky, because if you’re hard hit by this, winter is a bit of a living hell.
Winter is ok if you’re in the mountains, skiing and it’s sunny. However, that’s not what winter looks like in everyday life. Those kinds of winter moments are usually saved for the holidays and they actually happen closer to spring. Oh, the irony.
Not everybody has SAD. I however, am so unfortunate as to be hit quite hard most years. I was under the illusion that I had escaped it this year. We’re half way through February, so spring is technically close. However, after not having seen the sun for about two weeks, I had to admit defeat.
Winter depression is pretty much like any other depression. But contrary to say, clinical depression, winter depression can be cured by just going to somewhere where there’s a lot of sunshine and light. I miss Nigeria!
Like with other kinds of depression though, your everyday life is affected. I find that the only way I am able to function in the darkest of winter days, is to treat my life as a long to do list. I don’t enjoy doing anything when I am this down. Not even the things I normally enjoy doing. So I write out schedules to follow to make sure that I go through the motions.
But though this works most days, I have days where I am unable to do much more than stay in bed. Everything from work to social life is affected by this. And the fact that I am too depressed to do anything gets me down even more. Vicious circle.
What adds to my winter depression, is the ice and snow on the ground, because it makes it near impossible for me to move around outside independently. The snow cover up landmarks I feel for and the soundscape is altered. As for the ice, I have the same issues as everyone else, except I don’t have the luxury of seeing where there’s less ice, so I can’t always avoid the icy stretches. I can just about walk routes that I know well in the winter. I need to go grocery shopping for example. But on bad days, the mental energy isn’t there. So the winter, as well as taking my beloved sunshine and light, also isolates me somewhat.
So if somebody mentions Seasonal Affective Disorder, or Winter Depression, take it seriously. For those of us who have it, it’s very real. We’re not trying to complain or be negative. It’s called a disorder for a reason. Many people don’t take this seriously, so I want to stress the importance of this.
Needless to say, I have been counting down to spring for a while and will keep doing so. I think I need to just stay in Africa or somewhere else sunny for all of next winter to avoid the depression. Isn’t it funny how easy, yet complicated it is to cure it? And no, the lamps don’t work for me. It has to be biological light.