#mentalhealthmonday – SAD

Like many, I’ve got SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). This basically means that when it gets darker, colder, and wetter, I get more depressed. When the sun is out and it is nicely warm, I get less depressed. This is of course a massive generalisation, but this sums it up.

Last winter was a bit difficult, depression-wise. This is especially because it was the first winter I had where I hadn’t recently visited Bermuda, my home country. I think I’m hit especially hard by SAD because I spent my first 19 years in Bermuda, surrounded by blue skies all year long. The UK winters are very bleak in comparison. However, this winter I am determined that I will not sink quite so low!

I recently got my hands on a SAD lamp which is a light that mimics natural daylight. Not only is it amazing for selfies and photographs (an unexpected perk), but it basically makes up for the lack of natural daylight that we’ve been having here in the UK. (It is also great fun to switch it on and yell ‘FUCK OFF DEPRESSION’ which I have been known to do every so often. Anything to make mental illness a bit more comedic, in my opinion. I’m thinking of sticking googly eyes on it, as well.)

While it isn’t the most attractive of things to look at, I do think that it has been helping. I was lucky enough to get one for free – if you’re in the UK, I don’t know if you can get one on the NHS. If not, you can get them on Amazon or such places. I’m not sure why I was so resistant to getting a SAD lamp for so long – light therapy is the recommended way to deal with SAD, after all!

I’ve also been making a conscious effort to get outside every day, even if only for ten minutes whilst I’m walking to and from the shops. I’m not saying that this will cure my depression, but I think that making myself get out of the house has been good for my mental health, especially when I go for a long walk. This may become a little less effective the greyer it gets over here, but… we’ll see how it goes!

Do you have any experiences with SAD? Any tips? Let me know!

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10 thoughts on “#mentalhealthmonday – SAD

  1. Katy T says:

    I have a similar experience. I live in Washington state but spent my first 35 years in California. I didn’t even know SAD existed until I spent a dark winter here eating chocolate and buying extra floor lamps!

    Last winter was horrible, and I finally acknowledged that I needed a specialized light and as much natural light as possible. I was a teacher in a classroom with no windows. . I ended up leaving that job so I could work in a grocery store with all front windows, the ability to move around, and some daylight hours off. I’m also doing more groovy things , like lighting candles , meditating , and making centerpieces from nature. I have started cutting back my news consumption and screen time too in an effort to develop flow in my day.

    I really enjoy your blog and the honesty with which you talk about mental health. Thanks!

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  2. christine @ the story salve says:

    Oh I am so glad to hear you got one of those lamp things! People have been telling me to get one for years and I keep putting it off. Maybe this will be the year!

    It’s kind of amazing the effect sunlight has on us. I grew up in the southern part of the U.S. and now that I’m back, I’m acknowledging how much brighter the sun is here, and how even just 1000 miles can make a difference. I’m not saying being back in Oklahoma is going to cure my SAD, but being in the northeast certainly didn’t help.

    Even if I don’t invest in a special lamp, I definitely hope to get outside more this winter. It doesn’t get quite as cold here so I’m hoping I can get out for a short walk every couple of days. They say that just 15 minutes of sunlight can make a world of difference in Vitamin D production, which is associated with helping depression.

    I hope this winter treats both of us a little more kindly! xoxo

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  3. ahitsdina says:

    I don’t know if I have SAD, but I definitely know what it must feel like to go through this difficulty to fight depression when the weather is totally not helping. I didn’t know you’re from Bermuda! Nowhere near you, but I grew up in sunny Egypt for the first 13 years of my life. Moved to snowy Minnesota then with the family, and man oh man did the weather make it hard for me to function. I’m lucky that I’m in California now, even though I’m in an area with some crap winters and falls sometimes. Are those lights expensive or accessible to anyone? Very curious to learn more about it. (Also: you are a mastermind when it comes to graphics. I love that picture of the person smiling and crying/being sad).

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  4. Sarah says:

    Oooh I need to dig out my SAD lamp. Autumn always gives me mixed feelings because I do love the season, but October/November is when my depression starts worsening so I dread it. I find that walking whenever possible does help. Having candles lit and a cozy environment helps me feel a little bit better too!

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  5. colorfulbookreviews says:

    It’s also possible now to get SAD lightbulbs! I feel like they are not as effective as the lamp (being smaller) but they are easier since it’s just turned on when you turn the light switch. I just had to be careful not to put them in the main lamp since having them on too much at night makes CRD worse.

    Also, having a plant inside is very helpful. These days we have 4 potted plants and a small tree that come inside for the winter and help so much! Last year we also used scent therapy but I’m on the fence about how effective that was.

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    • whatthelog says:

      Whaaaaaat! I didn’t know that! Definitely investing in some of those.

      When I get enough space I’m definitely going to have some plants around (that I will NOT kill, this time). What’s scent therapy? I’ve never heard of that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • colorfulbookreviews says:

        A lot of people use it with essential oils. Basically the idea is that some smells have positive associations or can be healing, so you use a diffuser to help you with calming, mood lifting, balance, or whatever. This article explains the basics.

        The problem is that people either go wild buying a lot of oils before figuring out what works for them, or people feel like it will replace medicine or doctor’s visits, when it’s more of a supplement.

        If I was living alone it’d be more useful, but the larger your household the more difficult it is since scents affect each person differently. For example, I find pine needles invigorating but Husband hates that smell, and vice versa for coffee. We use lavender oils in sleeping areas and he uses peppermint on a cloth for headaches. It’s a useful supplement but I find the lights and plants more helpful. Husband cares for all the plants which is great because mine always die too!

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      • whatthelog says:

        This is so interesting, thank you! I’ve used lavender for headaches and things but I never thought about using scent for a more therapeutic purpose. I do sometimes put on a candle when I’m trying to relax, so maybe I’m doing it subconsciously!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews says:

    I don’t know if I have SAD but I feel like I have the opposite to what you described. It’s Spring heading into Summer here in Australia and it makes me so depressed. I dread the hot weather so much. It almost makes me panicky. I feel so sad when the grey skies and rain go away. I think mine is more a case of hot weather making me feel sick, my house not having air con and me hating wearing clothes that are for summer than actual SAD though. I miss Winter so much!

    I had no idea you could get lights and things for people who experience SAD during winter though. That’s such a helpful thing! I’m so glad it’s working for you ♥

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