What is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), otherwise known as seasonal depression, affects millions of people every year. It’s a type of depression that is related to the change in seasons, usually at the beginning or end of each season. It is most commonly experienced in the winter and can be especially detrimental to those with pre-existing depression. As someone who has both depression and anxiety, I can attest to the massive effects that seasonal depression has on my mental health in the winter. The ever-present feeling of a lack of motivation and hopelessness can really take a toll on someone.

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in seasonal depression or mental illness in general, but I’ve had anxiety and depression for the majority of my life. Both of my parents and my sister struggle with some form of mental illness, so it was pretty much inevitable that I would develop some form of mental illness.

Depression sucks, we all know that, but it especially sucks when the sun doesn’t shine for weeks on end. This winter has been especially cruel because it didn’t really hit until the end of January, and, oh boy, did it hit us HARD here in Ellensburg. It has been endless gray skies for the past few weeks, and the lack of sunshine is said to be a key factor in seasonal depression. In the winter, when the sun starts to set earlier than normal, is when seasonal depression hits the hardest. Pair that with crappy weather and you have a perfect recipe for depression. Many other factors like genetics and chemical imbalance are said to contribute to SAD, but the lack of sun affects the psyche the most.

As I sit here and I write this, the sun is shining and the snow is starting to melt. There is hope that this winter that has felt like forever is about to come to an end. And I think all of my SAD peeps can agree that this is a good thing.

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