Living Behind The Mask Charity Organisation

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SAD(Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted on March 11, 2016 at 7:45 PM


BY Ellen Murewi



Just want to share something with you All lovely people ...

 

Kind of a long one, but just want to share. I just hope I can help at least one person or two who suffer in silence without knowing what it is.

Every winter I suffer from a very rare condition known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe at this time of the year. Some people might just call it winter blues. The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They're most severe during December, January and February. In most cases the symptoms of SAD begin to improve in the spring before eventually disappearing.

 

 

What causes SAD?

 


 

The exact cause of SAD isn't fully understood, but it's thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year. Sunlight can affect some of the brain's chemicals and hormones. However, it's not clear what this effect is. One theory is that light stimulates a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls mood, appetite and sleep. These things can affect how you feel. In people with SAD, a lack of sunlight and a problem with certain brain chemicals stops the hypothalamus working properly. The lack of light is thought to affect the:

•production of the hormone melatonin

•production of the hormone serotonin

•body's circadian rhythm (its internal clock, which regulates several biological processes during a 24-hour period.

•Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder

 

 


 

The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are similar to those of normal depression, but they occur at a particular time each year.

 

Most people's symptoms start in the autumn or winter and improve in the spring. (Mine used to occur from early October to towards end of March the following year. ) ( I will explain why I'm saying "used to" in the end.

 

The symptoms of SAD are usually fairly mild at the start of the autumn and get worse as the winter progresses and the amount of sunlight decreases. However, the nature and severity of the symptoms will vary from person to person.

 

SAD symptoms

 


 

The main symptoms of SAD include a low mood and a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities. Other depressive symptoms can include:

•feeling irritable

•feelings of despair

•feelings of guilt and worthlessness

•low self-esteem

•indecisiveness

•tearfulness

•feeling stressed or anxious

•a reduced sex drive

 

In addition to the above symptoms, you may also:

•be less active than normal

•feel tired and sleep more than normal (hypersomnia)

•feel lethargic (lacking in energy)

•find it difficult to concentrate

•have an increased appetite and eat more than usual (hyperphagia)

 

For many people, SAD can be difficult to live with and it can have a significant effect on day-to-day life. However, it can be successfully treated.

 

Treating seasonal affective disorder

 


 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can usually be effectively treated using various treatments, including cognitive behavioural therapy, antidepressants and light therapy.

 

Depending on the nature and severity of your symptoms, your GP will recommend the most suitable treatment option for you. This may involve using a combination of treatments to get the best results.

 

This previously year I survived by using Light therapy. This helped improve my mood considerably. It involves sitting in front of or beneath a light box. Light boxes are special lamps that come in a variety of designs, including desk lamps and wall-mounted fixtures. They produce a very bright light that portrays rays of the sun. Light intensity is measured in lux – the higher lux, the brighter the light. That's the light in my picture above. If it wasn't of good friends like ..... I don't know how I would have managed. These ladies are truly friends in need.

 

Now then, I receive many compliments of my SMILE which I declare as a personal mantra BUT I just wanna share with you that the smile on my face doesn't mean my life is perfect , it means I appreciate what I have and what God blessed me with. Through this illness and of course some hardships of my past marriage I learnt to be really good at hiding my feelings. No matter how sad or upset I am I declared to still keep a smile on my face at all times and that's just me. Life is too short

 

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