Thursday, 23 October 2014

Seasonal Affective Disorder, bed time story

Or commonly known as SAD. Maybe if you don't live in the far up north, you may have never heard of it, but it exists and affects a great amount of people each year. I'm not a doctor and my information may be a bit flawed but I also speak from experience. SAD, is a type of depression which usually occurs during the fall and winter, and is caused by seasonal changes. You may find yourself feeling extremely tired (all the time), or you may feel your limbs very heavy, you may oversleep a lot and also become extra sensitive to rejection. Your fears suddenly become larger, and so do your stress levels and you may find yourself staying at home more and craving foods rich in carbohydrates (pasta, lots of pasta). It differs with the general definition of clinical depression, because SAD is much more physical than emotional (in my opinion), however they are quite close. 
It is important to recognise these "winter blues" especially if they occur for days at a time and interfere with your life. 

When I first moved to Norway the winter went by in a blink. It was snowing for three months, and everything was lovely and white and new and exciting. I never noticed how I would not see the sun for days or that it was already night time when I would get back from school.
However the second year (last year), I found myself in this melancholic state. It was not snowing, it was cold and it was raining around 70% of the time. It was grey and gloomy and my finals were coming up, along with university applications and future plans. I was numb for the most of it, I felt like I could barely move from my bed, I was fatigued and I cried a lot. 
I remember during late february when I came back from winter holidays and the skies were thick grey and rainy and humid for three weeks straight. I thought I couldn't take it honestly. It was pretty bad, but the sun does always come out in the end. 

That doesn't make it any less bad. If you find yourself during the winter months under these symptoms and they affect your studying and your social life, then it will be a lot easier if you look into it. For the longest time I felt slightly embarrassed because I knew I was not "depressed', I was just tired and a bit sad. It was a relief to have an explanation, or a label put on what I was feeling because then it was easier to understand how to fix it. 
Treatments include sun-like lamps, pills and psychologist appointments. I personally did not do the first two. In my opinion stay away from pills, you don't need "antidepressants" to teach your body how to be happy, there are vitamin supplements that can help your energy levels, but that's as far as I would go. 
Personally, what helped during all those months, were a few things. Firstly, I had just started dating Marcus who never failed to make me happy, took my mind off things and sometimes let me be sad, but in his arms. It helped a lot, it made me feel less lonely and less scared of the future. Also, I had my lovely friends, chatting with them at school was always nice, going for lunch or for coffee, having chill nights and "study" nights. Just make sure you don't push those people away, they like you as much as you like them, I promise (: Having a hobby also helps, for me it was dancing, it filled me with energy and exercise releases "happy hormones".

My point through all this rant is that, now fall is here and especially in Oslo it's rather dark and rainy, and I'm already feeling the weight of the winter. Bad mornings will happen, and maybe you'll stay in bed sometimes and skip a class, but that's okay. As long as you don't forget that nothing is wrong with you, take your time and do things you enjoy and talk, talk, talk. Nobody will be frustrated when hearing your problems, because they're legit, and real.

Now take care all of you
I'll see you tomorrow, hopefully !
with more lifestyle related posts 

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