By: Marianna Boyce
Have you checked in on your friends and family lately? It’s important to ask those close to us how they’re doing periodically, especially after the holidays. We never know what someone is going through. They may seem fine on the outside but could be experiencing sadness and chaos on the inside.
Speaking of sadness, have you ever heard about symptoms of seasonal affective disorder or SAD? Our shortened winter days make for very long nights. You are most likely affected if you start to feel sad or depressed in late fall carrying through the winter. We crave more daylight hours and can hardly wait until Daylight Savings Time begins. This year, the day for those wintertime blues to magically disappear is March 10, 2019.
According to mayoclinic.org, symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are as follows:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day✅
- Losing interest in activities once enjoyed✅
- Having problems sleeping✅
- Changes in appetite and weight✅
- Having very low energy✅
- Easily agitated✅
- Difficulty concentrating✅
- Feeling of hopelessness or unworthiness✅
I immediately recognized all these symptoms, but not for seasonal affective disorder. Instead, I recognized them in relation to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Add daily chronic intense joint pain to this list and VOILA! That was me in 2016! Who knew? Not me! I was totally blindsided and clueless. It took about a year and a half but with the help of a great rheumatologist here at LMC, I am feeling somewhat better.
Words cannot describe the difficulty one deals with when something so mentally and physically draining leaves such a lingering adverse effect. Whether it was SAD or solely RA, these symptoms changed my psyche to the core. I had to delve deep to bring about self-help and healing to my body, soul, and mind.
If you need only a long sunshiny perfect spring day to uplift your spirit, you have a little longer to wait. In the meantime, try these simple home remedies to help in your quest for a quick pick me up.
- Open all your blinds during the day. Make your environment brighter and “sun shinier.”
- Exercise regularly, even if it’s only 10-15 minutes. A mid morning walk would be perfect! Outdoor light is beneficial, even on a cloudy day.
- Consider eating your lunch outside on milder days. Living in South Carolina, chances are, that could be often!
- Make minor changes in your routine. This may be enough to carry you through those wintertime blues.
For me, I chose my reliance and personal relationship with God to guide me through my horrible experience with RA. It was never easy, especially when I felt like God was so far away. It turns out, He was there the entire time. Looking back, He was blatantly obvious.
You may choose to seek help with your general or mental health doctor; this is also a great idea. My point being, do whatever is necessary in order to just get help, especially if you are depressed and have the last symptom listed for SAD:
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
I can honestly say I have never experienced this thought, but if you do, you need the most urgent attention! Awareness is key. If you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide, please seek help immediately! “It’s okay to not be okay.”
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline