Does this sound familiar; I wake up on a Monday morning, the start to another week, but I’m not looking forward to it because -why? I throw something on so I can take my son to school and then back home. This is the point where I have a choice. Some days I feel it’s not a choice. I work out of my house and I should get to work, instead of getting to work I go back to bed.
What Is Depression?
Most people will have days of feeling depressed or down. Typically after a major event such as a death or other tragic event. This is common but when this feeling continues for days or weeks, to the point that it is now affecting your life, you’re moving towards a more serious condition.
There are different forms or types of depression and I’m not going to get into the differences, (I don’t even play a doctor on TV!). My concern here is how to notice the signs of seasonal depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. If a person can be aware of the signs of SAD then that person is better equipped to help themselves. Possibly some will notice that the signs are evident all year long? SAD can be as debilitating as any other type of depression and it seems to be set off initially by the loss of daylight that occurs every fall.
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Signs Of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder
This type of depression, SAD, comes and goes with the season and once it’s started it can be difficult to tell the difference between this and clinical depression. At least until spring arrives and the sun lengthens the days for us again. According to WebMD* and a manual used to diagnose mental disorders called the DSM-5, if you have five or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks you have depression:
- feeling tired or no energy most every day
- feeling guilty or worthless
- in a depressed mood most of the day but especially in the morning
- it’s difficult to remember things or focus
- feel like you can sleep all day, or you can’t sleep at all
- nothing interest you, you don’t go out, you’d rather stay home
- you find yourself thinking about death, _____ would be better off without you
- you’ve lost or gained weight
- you’re either restless or feel slowed down
- there’s no pleasure in life
- you’re sad, anxious or feel empty
- eat too much or have no interest at all in food
- have aches, headaches, digestive problems, cramps that just won’t go away
Natural Treatment Options
There seems to be a pill for everything! SAD and other forms of depression are no different. I’m not going to the prescription pill side of this but rather natural alternatives. If you feel you have some type of depression, please go to your medical doctor and begin some form of treatment if needed. There are different treatments available, I will be going over natural remedies which may help. These are some that have peaked my interest;
- What is going onion your life that may be triggering your feelings of depression? Feeling occasionally depressed may be the result of stressful situations or tragic events?
- Keep moving/ Exercise! Being active helps your body to release happy feeling endorphins.
- Don’t skip meals! Stay consistent with your meals and include foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats such as coconut oil and don’t be shy with the proteins!
- Don’t overdo the caffeine. Caffeine can reduce serotonin levels which may contribute to depression.
- Try to get more sunlight. Certain times of the year this may be tough. Investing in a Light Therapy Energy Lamp may be all that’s necessary for some people.
- Try natural, mood-enhancing supplements. Supplements such as 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort, L-Theanine and Fish oil have all shown benefits to different people showing signs of depression. I strongly suggest speaking to your physician before adding supplements to your diet. Most, if not all, are not controlled by the FDA and my interfere with current medications you may be on.
- Ladies, take a look at your hormones. At a certain age, hormones can cause havoc in a woman’s life. Out of whack hormones have also been tied to depression. At your next physical ask for thyroid gland tests, adrenal gland tests and sex hormone tests.
Talk it out with a friend or try meditation? Personally, I feel that it’s OK if I feel my depression because I want to feel everything. If I’m numb to the bad feelings then I won’t fully experience the happy feelings. But if you try natural alternatives and still find that you need anti-depressants, that’s OK! Depression requires a look at your entire self, it’s not a quick fix.
One of these below may be of help;
Sum It Up
I do believe that one of my next reviews will be on light therapy or phototherapy! Once again, it just makes sense to me.
Light therapy is usually the first recommended therapy when addressing SAD. When the sun begins to set earlier, raise later and we lose our sunlight, I tend to get down. The suggestion with light therapy is to sit in front of the light box upon waking each day for around an hour. The light copies natural light and seems to cause a change in brain chemicals that are linked to mood. Typically people noticed a change within a few days to a few weeks.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article! Remember, this is just my opinion, I could be wrong. Please leave me a comment below!