What I’ve learned from my Seasonal Depression

Normalizing talking about mental illnesses is something that should be more prioritized in our country’s current state.

by Kyra Fieger, Snapchat/Facebook Editor

With cold weather approaching and holiday traditions starting to emerge, an underlying cloud becomes present in many teens lives. This being seasonal depression. SAD is something over 10 percent of the United States population has and it’s more common in women. This may not seem like a lot, but that’s around 30 million people. SAD starts normally in the fall and is here to stay until the end of winter. It’s completely normal and might not affect you drastically, it can be as much as feeling anxious or sad. Many don’t recgonize that they have it and during our states quarantine I’m sure it became more prominent in our day to day lives.

I first realized I had some form of SAD around two years ago in middle school during winter break. I became super withdrawn from all social activities and would isolate myself in my room constantly.

 Scientifically, many say SAD is caused by less sunlight exposure which in result affects the hormones in one’s brain. Although it was cool to research about at first, I almost felt like a piece of data on a chart. I had lots of support from both my parents, but they didn’t really know what to do to make me feel better; I still didn’t have anyone to relate to. However, I soon found out my grandma has SAD. Talking about it with her is now reassuring. I share my anxieties and stressors and it seems she always says the most warming things. Knowing I wasn’t alone or abnormal in the slightest made me feel a great deal better about my current situation. 

 I want to normalize talking about SAD to others, whether they have it or not. By becoming more educated, outsiders will hopefully start to think of it less as an illness or weird disorder. I also want to reach out to those that do have SAD who are uncomfortable talking about it or who were informed that this is something bad that shouldn’t be shared. The human body is a wondrous anatomy and SAD is just something in the brain that makes us more unique. To me, I see it as a quirk. 

By accepting my SAD I have become able to manage it better. For me, SAD comes in forms of anxiety and social withdrawal. I’m a very extroverted person and it’s internally controversial to not be motivated to socialize while also wishing I was around other people. This just tends to make it worse, especially with our country’s current situation. I’m sure that during quarantine many had a hard time accepting the huge social withdrawal we had to face. Some days are worse than others, but that can be expected. For me personally, not being around others made me anxious because I was holed up in my house for weeks without change. 

The two things I do to help are journaling and listening to music. I really want to stress how important it is for me and for many others to find comfort in activities that can help us cope and forget when we start to feel SAD overcome ourselves. 

It took me a while to really find what comforts me best, but I have always used music as a way to better express my mood. Music releases dopamine in the brain which in turn affects your emotional behavior. These endorphins are known to release anxiety and heighten our excitement. I use music as a distraction and stress reliever because sometimes I can’t seem to put how anxious I truly feel into words. Music soothes this sense of constant worry for me, but doesn’t help with how distracted I can get from anxiety. 

By writing down what I feel, it helps me refocus on what is really important instead of anxiety that can start to bubble up, it helps me to constantly remind myself that I’m bigger than what makes me anxious. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and focusing on the strengths can only do us good. I tend to write down goals I have or stressors that are in the back of my mind. This helps me feel reassured because I constantly worry I will forget something I have to do. I also like to try and manifest. I’m not very spiritual and I don’t know a lot about it, but it’s something extra that makes me look forward to what I strive for in my future. Another thing I do to help is keeping virtual sticky notes on my computer always so that I can write reminders to myself throughout the day while in school. 

I use music and writing as mechanisms to comfort me and remind myself that everything is more than ok. Whatever you may feel is alright, let yourself feel it. I encourage others to try and find what works best for them in order to become a healthier version of themselves. 

Prioritizing mental health is something that personally took me a while to do. Focusing on our emotions and how we feel should be more normalized. Just remember that things do get better. By talking about this more freely and exercising what makes you feel comforted, I believe, can only do good.