Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Another Monday

It dawned a clear sunny day here.  It's really nice after all the dreary days last week.  Not that I am complaining about the rain after all the drought we've had the last several years, but a little balance is nice.  

About 5 years ago, we had an extended dreary period.  My husband was out of town a lot, and I had no family left in town so I was, for all practical purposes, alone except for my cats.  Every day I hoped for sunshine, and every day it was dark and dreary.  I'd rather it had rained and gotten it over with.  I had never before considered how the lack of sun could affect one's mood.  There is a real medical condition caused by the lack of sunlight called SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

These are the symptoms of SAD.
  • Afternoon slumps with decreased energy and concentration
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Decreased interest in work or other activities
  • Depression that starts in fall or winter
  • Increased appetite with weight gain
  • Increased sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Lack of energy
  • Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
  • Social withdrawal
I'm pretty sure I didn't have it, or if I did it was very mild.  I was definitely down in the dumps, though, and sad in the normal sense of the word.  I felt a keen sense of boredom even though there was, and always is, plenty to do around my house.  I did the chores, and worked in the yard, as it was fall, and the leaves were coming down, but I was always waiting for something...When this weather pattern finally broke and the sun came out, I cheered up somewhat.  Now I was still alone most of the time, but things did seem better.  I had read about SAD before, but hadn't experienced the glumness.  I believe it is a very real condition, and thankfully I didn't have it full out.

For those truly affected, there are treatments such as antidepressants and light therapy, and it will clear up on its own with the change in seasons.  Sometimes, however, SAD can progress to a major depression syndrome.

There is a lot of data on the internet about seasonal depression.  Check here for more information, or search on "Seasonal Affective Disorder".
I'm not a doctor and have no medical knowledge on this subject, so please seek professional help if you feel you may be affected by SAD.

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