Seasonal Depression - It is the REAL Deal!
As summer is coming to a close, and the weather starts to change many people get that heavy feeling for no apparent reason. Many questions, “Why am I feeling so down today”? I am exhausted, irritable, and over all negative. UGH!!!!
Believe it or not, this is quite a common experience shared by many. The cooler weather, lack of sunlight and the bundling of layers trigger many things inside our brains drawing us towards hibernation mode.
As our skin is still Sunkist from summer, and flip flops are a daily event, or minds do not want to switch gears! Look, its September and the weather is overall still warm, as Indian summer is upon us before it turns sour. Why would we want to hibernate? Why Bundle and hide in the darkness, when there is so much light left to enjoy? This is our body/mind talking to us through silent messages sending out signals of childlike defiance. No No NO I say! Cold Weather just go away, I am not ready!!!!
The switching of gears proves to be very hard for so many people, and the reality is called “seasonal depression”. This does not mean you have mental illness, it means that you are sensitive to change, and for many of us we go down this path kicking and screaming to try to avoid it, but its inevitable. Seasons change and so must we. That is a serious life lesson to learn and grow from.
For people who suffer mental illness like my mother did, the Fall season was like a death sentence to her. Imagine these sad over-whelming feelings then add in a dash of mental struggles and the outcome is dark. My mother called fall “the great depression”, and for her it was. As the leaves fell one by one so did she. She would sink deeper and deeper until she hit rock bottom. It was classic, like clock work every September. I could recite the words that would come out of her mouth, as I have heard them a million times over the years. Now, this is not to discount her feelings. YES, I heard them like on a repeat button and YES, I would get frustrated, but it was very real to her, and we had to find ways to help her through the pain and sadness.
If you are one of the thousands of people who are affected by this change here are a few simple ways that might help you over the hump.
First and most important be kind to yourself! I always state this fact because we can be naturally hard on ourselves, especially when we struggle. Learn how to connect with your feelings - instead of shutting them out and trying to ignore them – Embrace Them!
Even as the weather is cooling down, push yourself to get outdoors every day if you can, even if it is just for a little bit. Sunshine, Fresh Air, and change of scenery help lighten the load.
You may want to add Vitamin C & D to your daily regimen (if you can take vitamins always check with your physicians first), and Vitamin B! Adding these to your daily life may help boost your energy a bit, which will make you feel happier.
Walk – get outside and take a brisk walk. It does not have to be a marathon, but quite the opposite. Take a leisurely walk and notice your surroundings, take it all in. The birds, the trees, nature! If you are in an area where you can hike go for it!! IF you are in the city, as you walk take notice to the old buildings and the architecture/structures. WE have so much history all around us, take it in, learn, feel, grow.
The best way that we can change our mindset is to jump outside our comfort zone and try something new. I always feel learning is exciting! Go to your local library or bookstore and see what is going on. Have a fresh drink and people watch for a bit, that is always fun as we are all unusual creatures trying to fit into this crazy society called LIFE.
Try something outlandish like “Phone a friend” – YES use the phone for a call not a text, email, Instagram or face book connection. Hear a real voice on the other end of that device glued to your hand!
In closing as, you are making your way through the day, look up NOT down. Make eye contact with others and SMILE. We are human and need interaction on a positive level, so be a part of that positive experience!
There are so many things we can do to switch it up, and it does not cost a cent, just your inner drive to make change instead of stewing in the pot of sadness and negativity.
Not every day will be a good day, and for those who struggle on a regular basis it can be painstaking to get through the day, but PLEASE never give up, and reach out when its too much to bare alone.
Lastly, volunteer your time to a worthy cause, it will bring goodness to your heart, mind and soul. We always feel good when we can help someone else along.
Embrace the Journey my friends because we never know what life will throw in our path, so be alert, be ready and stay determined!
Author/Child/Mental Health Advocate/Public Speaker/Blogger/Inspirationalist
The Unspoken Truth A Memoir