It’s that time of year again, everyone. You know what I’m talking about; the days get shorter, it gets dark earlier, it gets colder out. It’s time for seasonal depression, which means it is also time to learn to fight it off.
Seasonal depression is… well, exactly what it sounds like. It is defined as “depression that occurs at the same time every year.” Usually this occurs in the winter because of the decreased amount of sunlight and the frigid temperature keeping you cooped inside which can lead to another mental issue, cabin fever. Now, that being said, seasonal depression can happen any time throughout the year.
Seasonal depression shares many of its symptoms with regular depression. Anxiety, Sleep and social problems, overeating, and mood changes are all symptoms to look out for. You know your friends, so if these symptoms begin to surface, ask them if something is wrong. It is important to let them know they aren’t alone and you’re there to help.
Getting a seasonal depression lamp is suppose to help, although it costs money. This lamp emits bright light that mimics sunlight, tricking your brain into releasing serotonin (the happy hormone). Perhaps a more practical preventative, try and be active both physically and socially. Talk to people, schedule hangouts, do some exercises, have fun (all of these release serotonin and make you happier).
To prevent seasonal depression isn’t as easy as saying “just be happy.” Depression is something that 3.1 million teens across the country face and isn’t something that can be changed with a few words and a smile.
A student (who wishes to remain anonymous) who suffers from mild depression told me that it helps “to have something to look towards, or someone to go to.” Seeing friends is incredibly important to being happy. They also told me that they force themself “to talk to people and to do things, even when I feel like I want to lay down and die.” Being idle is horrible; it just deepens the hole that you may already be sinking into. Be active, be sociable, be present.
To those who have someone facing depression need to stand by that person, comfort that person, check in on that person. Don’t let them slip into that sad, depressive state, and of they do, then don’t let them go alone.
To those who actually face depression, let people help you. You aren’t a burden to your friends. Everyone has problems, some are different than others but that doesn’t make them nonexistent. Don’t give up, you’re gonna make it through, life is about ups and downs. To quote Bob Ross, “Gotta have opposites, light and dark and dark and light, in painting. It’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in awhile so you know when the good times come.” Wait on the good times, be strong and wait on the good times.