What is Seasonal Affective Disorder? (How to Slay the SAD Beast!)

This photo shows Link about to do battle with the SAD monster.

Winter is approaching and with it comes SAD.

No, I don’t mean the emotion (although that’s part of it).

I’m talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Luckily, we have some tips and tricks for treating SAD that our Online Coaching Clients use. Today, we’ll share them with you too.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Disclaimer: We’re going to be discussing some issues that may be difficult for some going through a tough time. If you (or someone you know) aren’t coping so well, PLEASE see the links at the bottom of this article with some resources from all around the world. Obviously, we recommend discussing this information with your health professional – none of this is a diagnosis, but rather a starting point for discussion.

BUT, armed with the right weapons, we can ward off the winter monster, or even keep it in full hibernation.

From here, mental health wizard and resident NF Family Rebel Correspondent, Dan Schmidt, will take it away:

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

As Coach Jim mentions in the video above, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that, spoiler alert, has a seasonal pattern. 

(Plus, it’s a really clever acronym.)

It’s also known as:

  • Winter depression
  • Winter blues
  • Seasonal depression.

In a nutshell, SAD makes people with ‘normal’ mental health experience depressive symptoms at a specific time each year – most often winter.

Charlie Brown saying "I always end up feeling depressed."

SAD can be a cruel, powerful, and damaging arctic foe.

But armed with the right weapons, we can ward off the winter monster, or even keep it in full hibernation.

How Do I Know if I have SAD?

This picture shows Mario acting a little SAD

Most of us feel a little glum in winter…it’s natural to feel a little down.

Cold mornings, less time outside, and often it’s not as easy to get out and do our favorite things:

A gif of an RV outside

So for a lot of us, winter just sucks a little. 

We’ve known something was up since the 6th century, but SAD remained a mythical creature until the 1980s in the West when it became officially recognized as a mood disorder. While we’re still not 100% sure of how it works; it’s pretty clear to see that SAD especially thrives in the cooler, darker climates.

For example, studies show[1] SAD’s prevalence in the U.S. ranges from around 1% in Florida to 9% in Alaska. Looking around the world, in Oslo, Norway, around 14% of the population will be impacted by SAD,[2] while us lucky buggers Down Under are barely impacted at all, with estimates that only around 1 in 300 Aussies (0.33%)[3] will experience SAD during the “winter.”

A picture of a sand "Snowman" that says "meanwhile in Australia"

Yes, SAD can occur for some people during summer and other seasons, but this is particularly rare compared to winter prevalence.

Common SAD symptoms include:

  • low mood for most of the day.
  • loss of interest in your usual activities.
  • drowsiness and low energy (lethargy).
  • fatigue, irritability, and severe mood swings.
  • Irregular sleep patterns (too much and/or too little)
  • eating more than usual, especially craving sugar and carbohydrates, leading to weight gain.
  • loss of interest in things you normally enjoy doing.
  • intrusive or disturbing thoughts.

Depression is not just a fancy word for feeling “bummed out”, and SAD is just as serious as any other depression and needs to be dealt with promptly and effectively. (See the end of the article for a list of mental health services links.)

“But how do I know the difference between general winter glumness, or if I’m being mauled by the SAD beast like Leo in the Revenant?”

This gif shows a man being attacked by a Bear, cartoon style.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • “Do you feel like you can’t get yourself out of this rut?”
  • “Have you lost an interest in things that you usually enjoy?”
  • “Have you felt this way for more than two weeks?”

If so, then it could be time to have a chat with a professional and perhaps seek treatment. Once again, SAD is just as real and can be just as devastating as Major Depressive Disorder; the only difference is the yearly regular onset.

This bitter beast can take over someone’s entire wellbeing, and left untreated, the consequences can be devastating.

So let’s learn how we can slay the SAD, or even better, keep it in hibernation this year, so we nerds can continue to conquer all year round.

What is the best treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder? (Slaying the SAD Beast)

A picture of a Games of Thrones bobblehead, who is about to slay the SAD monster.

As with any injury or illness boss battle, you need to use the right medicine weapon to save the day. And there are many weapons you can equip yourself with to slay SAD.

Here is how to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder: 

#1) GET SOME LIGHT

Light helps the body produce serotonin (hormone that affects mood) and reduces the production of melatonin (hormone that makes you sleepy).[4]

Starting with natural light is best, even though it’s not always easy. If the sun happens to be peeking out from the clouds, try and get outside for a nice walk. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help, particularly in the morning. Just make sure you bundle up properly. The Norwegians have a saying “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing!”

Also, making your work and home environments as light and airy as possible and sitting near windows can help too. 

A gif of someone opening a window to help with SAD

If you feel you’re just simply not able to get enough natural light, ‘Light Therapy’ is generally one of the first weapons picked up to slay SAD.[5] It can start alleviating symptoms in just a few days. It’s incredibly simple, and sitting under bright fluorescent globes or in front of a therapy lamp (again, particularly in the morning) has shown to be effective against SAD[6] (Anecdotal, but I once met a young woman who started to feel better just by increasing the wattage of her bedroom lightglobes).

Be forewarned that Light Therapy is not appropriate for everyone, including people with bipolar disorder – talk to a professional if this is a route you want to take.

#2) EXERCISE AND DIET

Surprise, surprise, our old friends come to the rescue once again. It’s clear[7] that exercise is key in keeping the blues at bay, so rug up and take a long walk, and be sure to work out when possible.

Gonzo knows he has to eat protein to match his strength training goals, but he doesn't eat chicken, for obvious reasons.

Exercise and other types of physical activity help relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can increase SAD symptoms.

If you’re really keen to take on winter, try the Winter Is Coming Workoutand start building that summer body early. For those who don’t like the freezing weather, that’s cool (get it?), you can always do Steve’s 20-minute hotel room workout (pro tip: you don’t actually need to be staying in a hotel room to do the workout… that was $250 I’ll never get back).

As for nutrition – while there is no well-established link between healthy nutritional practices and a reduction in SAD symptoms. BUT, studies HAVE shown links between healthy eating – like the Mediterranean diet – and a decrease in general depression.[8]

So anything we can do to eat healthy this time of year may certainly help.

Plus, Steve has already highlighted that if you’re going to eat unhealthy foods during winter, let’s at least be smart about it and negate the impact the holidays have on our waistlines. Try your best to provide a counterbalance to those comfort foods, and keep your diet as close as you can to what it is the rest of the year.

#3) GET SOME VITAMIN D

When exposure to sunlight is low, your body makes less Vitamin D.[9] According to this study,[10] Vitamin D deficiency affects nearly HALF of the world population. It is important for overall health. Our friends over at Examine say that if your diet is decent and there’s only one supplement you’re taking, it should probably be Vitamin D during these upcoming months.

The research is a little mixed when it comes to Vitamin D’s effectiveness in battling SAD,[11] but some studies[12] do show an improvement to everyone’s depression scale scores (those with or without SAD). Overall, if you aren’t getting enough sunlight in the winter, consider picking up some Vitamin D!

Recommendations differ for the amount of Vitamin D needed – or if you even need it – so further blood work and a talk with your doctor is a good choice here.

#4) MEDITATE

Meditation has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression.[13] Now, you don’t have to shed all your worldly possessions and go live in the mountains:

Aang from the Last Airbender meditating

But if you’re suffering from the winter blues, a simple mindfulness practice may help. Even just a few minutes a day can go a long way.

If you want, Nerd Fitness Journey has a meditation adventure to help you build up the habit.

It’s free to try, right here:

#5) EMBRACE THE SEASON

Going back to foreign sayings – there’s a Danish concept of “hygge.”

While there’s no direct English translation, it essentially means coziness and comfort

Things like:

  • Wrapping yourself up in a blanket.
  • Enjoying a good book.
  • Or sitting by a warm fire.

Garfield sitting by fire

So instead of lamenting the change of seasons – EMBRACE these other experiences that we get to enjoy.

#6) THERAPY

Talk Therapy (Psychotherapy) and cognitive behavioral therapy sound scary but really aren’t.

A psychiatrist saying "Do not be alarmed"

Psychotherapy focuses on helping you to build skills to deal with the stresses in your life, along with identifying and changing negative thinking patterns.

Therapies such as these assist with relearning some of the patterns and thoughts in your life that aren’t doing you any good.

(You can read the Nerd Fitness Guide to Mental Health for more info.)

It can feel daunting and really weird ‘opening up’ to a stranger at first.

But having a coach to talk through your negative thoughts and feelings, someone who can teach you to manage those better, is generally quite effective.

Most people will notice an improvement in as little as two weeks. Really, the “weird” stigma is usually the biggest barrier to even doing the thing in the first place!

#7) MEDICATION

Finally, some people with SAD benefit from antidepressant treatment, especially if symptoms are severe. We’re not here to offer any medical advice, so please see your doctor if you think medication may assist you.

Moving forward with SAD (This too shall pass)

A picture of Link in the sun, who overcame SAD

It’s normal to have some days when you feel down, and the holiday season can be especially hard for some.

When short days and miserable weather are piled on top of this, it’s easy to see why ‘winter blues’ is so common. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, please speak to someone and see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you feel a sense of hopelessness, you have intrusive thoughts, or you turn to alcohol/substances for comfort or relaxation.

Above all, take care of yourself this winter: 

  • Be sure to get enough rest, and take the time to relax.
  • Participate in an exercise program or engage in another form of regular physical activity.
  • Get outside when you can.
  • Make healthy choices for meals and snacks when possible.
  • Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or health professional if you feel you’re having a tough time.

And if someone reaches out to you, rememberWe are Rebels, we fight conventional wisdom and smash stigmas. Never leave a fellow nerd behind.

The Rock saying "we have to do this together"

If you feel the bitter, arctic beast starting to rise from its summer slumber, remember that you are not alone, and there are ways to slay the frosty fiend. You are strong enough to beat this, and the entire Rebellion has your back.

Want a little more from us?

If you want to continue your journey with Nerd Fitness, we have three great ways for you to do so:

#1) Our Online Coaching Program: a coaching program for busy people to help them make better food choices, stay accountable, and get healthier, permanently.

You can schedule a free call with our team so we can get to know you and see if our coaching program is right for you. Just click on the button below for more details:

#2) If you want an exact roadmap for getting fit, check out NF Journey. Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise more frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

Plus, we have Missions specifically designed to help you stay active, no matter what the weather is like outside.

Try your free trial right here:

#3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our Rebel Starter Kit, which includes all of our “work out at home” guides, the Nerd Fitness Diet Cheat Sheet, and much more!

Alright, that does it for me. Rebels, take care of yourself and each other.

Do you have your own secret weapon to slay the SAD? We’d love to hear from all you Rebels about how you keep your mind healthy during winter; the more ideas we all have, the better! Let us know in the comments!

– Dan

PS – If you, or someone you know, would like further support, here are some excellent links and services that will get you started in the right direction:

###

Photo source: lilu330 © 123RF.com

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86 thoughts on “What is Seasonal Affective Disorder? (How to Slay the SAD Beast!)

  1. I actually JUST talked to my psychiatrist about this yesterday. He immediately recommended the light treatment. Said to get the Amazon recommended one and sit in front of it (don’t stare at it… geez) for about 30 minutes each morning.

  2. Thank you for writing this article. It helped me figure out why I’m not feeling myself lately.

  3. Well done on taking the step to talk about it. I should have mentioned not to stare at the light, it’s super bright, I looked directly at one once for less than a minute, was seeing spots in my vision for hours. Best of luck with it all.

  4. I’ve been using light therapy for several years now. It works well for me. My Main symptoms for SAD are depression and anxiety. I can tell that it’s SAD when it happens because I get unnecessarily anxious about things that arn’t even a problem. My rational mind knows, but my anxious feelings don’t care. It’s like the anxiety exists and finds a reason to justify itself.
    For those who are thinking of trying a lightbox, go for it. I got mine on sale or return as I thought I had nothing to loose. Lumie do this in the UK (30 day trial), not sure about others. It is definitely worth getting a good light though as they don’t damage your vision.

  5. I feel happier than ever because it’s so lovely dark and cold. No sarcasm. Also no party people on the street because it’s too cold. It’s perfect.

  6. Here in central Victoria (Australia), I spend a lot of time outside all year round, so SAD is not an issue, but this year, we had an unusually wet winter and early spring, and I was a bit out of sorts by late September, to the point it affected my performance at a track meet. The following week, the sun came out, and competing in the sun magically put everything right again.

    BTW, I’ve got a friend from Belgium visiting, he uses travel to get his annual dose of sun from one of the brighter parts of the world this time of year. 🙂

  7. I feel odd coz I feel I get the affects of SAD in hot weather , I find if it’s too hot and humid I get really cranky, irritable, eating patterns change. I feel like I can’t do normal things without wanting to pass out if I’m too hot. plus being in Australia is out Xmas /New Years time which is another level of stress.
    Thanks for the article Dan, Nina .

  8. I’ve battled with SAD for a number of years now. My grandma had it, and my aunt, and mom have it as well. I’ve found it to be odd in the way it affects me personally, it has affected me both in the winter and in the summer. The winter is pretty obvious (weather), but during the warmer months it seems to affect me when we’ve gone through a really rainy period.

    Mine affects me most in the way of very bad anxiety. It’s gotten to the point at times that I have trouble sleeping, sometimes not sleeping at all. I know that not everyone believes in taking medications to help battle these, but for me, the best way to battle it is a combination of medication (which by itself isn’t always enough) and exercise.

    When I exercise regularly, it keeps my mind preoccupied and also helps me feel more intact with my natural state of being.

    When my anxiety is bad, I tend to stress about the small things in life (money, house, random othe things). I have found that by making an effort to connect to the world around me and remember that these things are simply there to help me accomplish a means to and end and aren’t the true purpose of why I am here. So I work on why I feel I am here- to be happy and healthy.

  9. Ok, that golf gif gave me the first real belly laugh of the day. Thanks! 😀 I’m currently recovering from a bout of depression (not seasonal, my old antidepressant had stopped working). Winter, and the recent storm in Colorado, are threatening to derail my progress. This is the time of year filled with cold, snow, long work hours to cover for coworkers who can afford to travel, and a ton of sweets. These things are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. So. I’m eating more fruits and veggies, making sure to walk and take the stairs when I can’t get to the gym, and reminding myself that this will pass.

  10. This year I’ve discovered that regular saunas help me a LOT. I go 2-3x a week to the one at my gym, and they’ve improved my dark cold winters like 300%. There’s a reason Scandinavian people are so religious about them!

  11. The thing that really helped me last winter was making a concerted effort to invite people over to my house to hang out as much as possible. It forced me to take care of myself and my environment and gave me something to look forward to…made a HUGE difference! Most of the time, it was nothing fancy, just had people over for coffee or dinner. But sometimes I invited tons of people…hard to feel sad when you cram 20 people in an apartment for food and laughter 🙂

  12. I’m not affected by SAD but it hits my wife pretty hard. One minor hack that we did was to change all of the lights in the house to one step brighter, daylight color temperature bulbs. It has made a noticeable improvement in mood over the day. She’s also made some commitments to be involved in activities with other people to force herself to get out of bed and interact.

  13. Thanks for sharing, it’s a very tough time of year for many, and your environment probably isn’t helping. Keep fighting the good fight, sounds like you got great strategies in place.

    Oh, and the golf gif is from ‘CaddyShack’, the finest film of all time, it’s extremely highbrow and intellectual, but give it a watch if you ever get the chance.

  14. Yeah, it certainly is warming up down here now. Be sure to take care of yourself during this tough time of year, fellow Aussie.

  15. Great to hear you can read your warning signs and know what action to take, keep it up, sounds like you’ve got the ‘big picture’ in mind.

  16. My invite must have got lost in the mail. Good to hear you found a fun way to Slay the SAD, whilst also cathing up with mates. Won, won, win.

  17. I have been diagnosed with SAD for the last 3 years at least though I probably had it closer to 4 or 5 years. My doctor told me last year to bundle up and get outside daily, there is no such thing as bad weather. This year I actually listened to her and have walked daily, outside, since November. I feel completely different this year. She also suggested I plan something to look forward to in January and February to help. I have really started to enjoy my daily walks and tend to warm up pretty quick.

  18. My secret weapon is setting up a light on a timer so it turns on before I wake up, then when I wake up it’s to a partially light room, almost the same as during the summer. Doing this has made a big difference in how I wake up in the morning during the winter.

  19. Oh I like this idea! Just yesterday, both my husband and I were in irritable, depressive moods and we had an engagement with another couple. Neither of us wanted to go out in the cold and interact with people (we live in New England) but we also didn’t want to cancel. It took about 15-20 minutes to ‘warm up’ while we were with the other couple, but it turned out to be a great night and we were both in much much better moods!

    I think I’m going to take your idea Barb and store it in my arsenal. =)

  20. What do you mean by counter balance your food? Have a piece of broccoli for every piece of candy?

  21. I love this idea too! I love the summer because I don’t need an alarm and I can wake up naturally with the sunlight. I’ll have to look into this solution…

  22. Nothing helps me feel better in the winter than exercise followed by sitting in a sauna. In the sauna, I focus on deep breathing techniques to quiet my anxiety. I follow this with a cool shower and emerge feeling like a new person.

  23. I double my Vit. D intake during winter (as per Dr’s recommendation) and 2 years ago I invested in a “dawn simulator” light from Panasonic (ordered on Amazon). This has made a HUGE difference to me. For my body to sense the dark red light, to the orange to the yellow then white…helps my body/mind wake-up more naturally and refreshed. I will never go back. Seriously. I tried a blue light as well during the day, but it gave me headaches. So, I always suggest, if anyone suffers from SAD like I do, to try the simulator light. You have to play with it for a week to get the settings right for your preferences around brightness and timing, as well as the position in the room,, etc. but it might make a huge difference for you, like it did for me. I read a tonne of reviews on amazon before taking the plunge, so had a pretty good idea of some of the ‘kinks’ to work-out. For example, one person had mentioned that they discovered they needed to angle the light towards the wall, which I discovered I needed to do as well, otherwise, the light becomes too harsh.

  24. I deal with it by using 60w (not 60w “equivalent”) daylight LED bulbs in my post light at work – that’s a lot of light. Rather than a very expensive light for 30 minutes a day, I just leave it on all day.

    Really helps me, too.

  25. I live in New England and suffer from SAD. I too have been doing light therapy for years and it makes a big difference for me. Also I up my vitamin D in the winter – happiness in a little pill. This year I have started taking melatonin to aid my sleep. James (prior commenter) has a great description of the anxiety that comes, “My rational mind knows, but my anxious feelings don’t care. It’s like the anxiety exists and finds a reason to justify itself.”-Great description. There are some really great, non-medication ideas in this thread, fabulous!

  26. That’s why I love rain. I’d prefer it was quiet and sunny sometimes too, but I’ll take what I can get! 🙂

  27. Thank you for this article. I think the darkness, and lack of opportunity for outdoor activity definitely contributes to feeling blue this time of year. I also think the ridiculous pressures of the holidays and the loss of loved ones comes to the foreground this time of year as well. I feel anxiety and sadness more this time of year especially now with both of my parents gone. It definitely helps to get out and enjoy what little sunshine there is. There’s nothing like a good snowshoe or fatbike session to get the old heart working and chase the blues away. Focus on the positive and reach out to others that need encouragement as well. Whatever you do don’t stay in bed and feel bad, get out and be active even if it’s the last thing in the world you feel like doing. Remember the sunny days only get longer and the nights shorter from here.

  28. I’ve suffered from S.A.D. for years. To help alleviate the symptoms, I double my Vitamin D3 to 4,000 IUs daily, I get B12 injections once or twice a month (which I would love to do more, since that’s the only treatment that helps me to feel like an actual human being), and my doctor has strongly suggested that I get a “light therapy” lamp. These things make the disorder at least bearable, but it’s a struggle nonetheless.

  29. I definitely get SAD during the winters. I have a plan for it that has been working so far.
    This year, I’m taking Prozac, which puts a safety net over the bottom of the SAD floor. I also have been hoarding books, movies, and projects to keep me busy during the winter months. Since I’m a freelancer, I also made a schedule to stick to so I’m getting enough sleep, work early in the mornings, work out, and run errands during the midday when things have thawed out a bit. I have some favorite batch cooking and freezer recipes so on days when I’m struggling, I already have a meal waiting to heat up and be delicious. I check the weather so I try to beat the panic crowds at the grocery store when it might snow, and I have a nice wardrobe of warm layers so even when it’s 3 degrees Fahrenheit, I’m warm and cozy.
    I avoid scary or sad stories, ruminating, and alcohol during the winter.
    Happy lights don’t work for me. Just staying busy, eating good foods, and staying active work best for me. Also, anti-depressants 🙂

  30. SAD is legit. I went from needing medication in the winter to just a light box. Keep in mind that if you live in the Northern US or Canada, it’s likely natural light is missing a ton of the frequency/wavelength replicated by the light box.

    NIH paper on the frequency of blue they generally use: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16165105

  31. The best “cure” I’ve found is a daily walk. I used to deliver newspapers daily, and did not have SAD during those years. Second best for me (but still works) is my light therapy lamp. Though I moved this year, and my office and bedroom both now get much more light, so I haven’t had to use it.

    Let there be light!

  32. SAD is definitely a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts. This study http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2167702615615867 clearly found that “depression was unrelated to latitude, season, or sunlight. Results do not support the validity of a seasonal modifier in major depression. The idea of seasonal depression may be strongly rooted in folk psychology, but it is not supported by objective data.” This is just one of those lies we like to tell ourselves to give an excuse to be lazy and eat unhealthily.

  33. I think there is a communication issue here. It sounds like you’re saying depressed people are making their condition up so we can be sit on the couch and eat junk food, which isn’t very kind or accurate. What was really your point? Also, that was a fascinating article, I hope they continue to study it. Maybe by ruling out factors, we can focus on the source of people’s unhappiness.

  34. The acronym may seem clever, but it was part of what took me so long to believe my doctor. I wasn’t feeling sad, I was feeling lethargic and hungry. I know what sad feels like, and that wasn’t it. Also, I love the winter and the rain in so many ways, so how could it be linked to feeling depressed? But after so many other tests came back as negative, I finally gave in and bought a lightbox and BAM! what a difference it made after only two days. I’ve since figured out that I can avoid the lightbox if I get enough other exercise. But, for those days when I fall behind, it’s great that the lightbox can break me out of that downward spiral.

  35. Thanks for mentioning Intrusive Thoughts. I realized I have OCD this year, and it seems to fluctuate quite a bit based on weather/stress/sleep/caffeine/etc. It’s a unique challenge and I’m glad to see it’s getting more recognition the last couple of years.

  36. I’m the same. I wouldn’t say I felt “sad”–same as you, very lethargic. I would wake-up feeling like I’d been run-over by a bus. Also, calling it “SAD” kind of stigmatizes it and makes it more difficult to talk about, for me, anyways.

  37. “This is just one of those lies we like to tell ourselves to give an excuse to be lazy and eat unhealthily”

    That’s your takeaway? Seriously? Don’t presume to know what others have been through.

  38. I used to be one of the 14% of SAD Oslo, Norway citizens. Curled up by my heater all through 5 months of cold, wet, dark winter, I finally did something about it and moved back to sunny California where I am originally from. Even here, my mood drops a bit this time of year. I know it’ll get warmer and sunnier in just a few months, though, so I am mostly able to focus on the handful of things that are nice about winter: Warm blankets, hot tea, delicious & nutritious stews & soups for lunch, candles to make it cozy (don’t forgot to blow them out!), movie nights with friends… Have I forgotten anything?

  39. In summer rain is my favorite weather. It’s not really cold, but also not bright and hot, and it is gloomy in a nice way.

  40. Nice post. Please don’t forgot that SAD also has a reverse pattern. It’s called summer depression. It’s intense depression especially with insomnia, sense of agitation, loss of appetite that has definite pattern starting around the start of warmer months. Current epidemiology suggests about 1% of the population suffers from this condition. Personally, I think it is higher. Contrary to the popular myth, in virtually every society suicides increase during the summer months and the number of assaults and other acts suggesting being irritable increase. I believe the stigma associated with complaining about being depressed when most of the world is feeling happy or we are told to feel happy makes people less likely to come forward. Here is an article about it.

    http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/05/some-people-get-sad-in-the-summer.html

    My secret weapon to handle when I feel so down that all the joy and beauty of life has been sucked away is spend time doing some steady state exercise. On the bike, inside or out, on the erg (which I haven’t been able to do yet because of a recent back surgery), or even swimming laps, spending 45 to 90 minutes with my heart rate just right seems to always make me fee much better.

  41. It’s not as odd you think. See my comment. I suffer from this too. Summers hit me hard. Take care of yourself, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

  42. Yes it’s real. It wasn’t a thing until I moved so far north that our days are 7 hours long and the temp regularly drops below -40, but it’s certainly a thing.

  43. I’m not attacking depressed people. I’m saying that there is no connection whatsoever between the seasons and depression. I readily acknowledge that depression is a real thing, but that it isn’t tied to winter. The Scandinavian countries are in winter for much of the year and are some of the happiest people on the planet. I AM saying that SAD is a made up condition to curl up and be lazy. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. Depression, meanwhile, is not. Also, depression has been found to bem ostly caused by diet and lifestyle, as depression didn’t use to be a thing before processed foods, the death of community, social media, sedentary lifestyles, and the like. Yes, some depression is genetic. But a very small percentage.

  44. The evidence goes against what you have “been through.” Unless you’re just talking about depression in general. My stance is only against SAD, not depression itself.

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