SAD Awareness

It’s almost winter, which means there’s a lot coming. The days will feel shorter, busier, and the time will fly. It’s going to be chilly (because, let’s be honest, Atlanta won’t get cold) and dark, creating a perfect storm for sad boi hours to become sad boi days or weeks.

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When I say sad, I don’t mean listening to your emo playlist and feeling angsty, I’m talking about SAD. Seasonal affective disorder, commonly referred to as seasonal depression.

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I had a professor last year who looked off into the distance during a pause in class and said aloud, “I am so sad this time of year.” I respect him because, honestly, I can get sad this time of year too. I’m sure he didn’t mean to fill the silence with angst, but he did and it made me realize that there are more people than just me who can feel this way. It’s a very real thing to feel your mood changes throughout the colder months and recognizing it as mood troubles rather than something like hormones or stress can help you cope with it.

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To give you some background: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. It begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. It isn’t always just a case of the winter blues, or a seasonal funk, that you have to deal with on your own. There are steps you can take to recognize your feelings and keep your mood steady.

 

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While most of us know the symptoms of depression (no interest in things you once enjoyed, sleeping troubles, difficulty concentrating, agitation, feeling guilty all the time), there are some symptoms that can be specific to this cold-weather change, like the following:

  • Oversleeping

  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates

  • Weight gain

  • Tiredness or low energy

If you recognize these in yourself, please seek help. Depression, even if it is something that might come and go with the seasons for you, is serious but can be treated. Emory is here for you, your peers are here for you, CAPS is here for you, therapy dogs are here for you, and even the DUC-ling workers would listen to you. No person should suffer in silence, so please reach out to whoever you need.

Whether you need to lighten up your room (light therapy is helpful), go for a quick jog (get those endorphins pumping), or just meditate to set yourself back on track, please do. SAD boi hours are fine, but being perpetually sad is a waste. You deserve to be happy, and everyone here is more than willing to help you be.

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Be a friend to your peers, and follow the golden rule: we’re all here to learn, grow, be happy, and have a good time. If you know someone who seems withdrawn, reach out as a friend and let them know that you’re there for them. We’re all in this together.

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If you feel like you don’t have help, don’t fret because you do. If you need anyone, at any time, reach out to the resources below:

  • Emory Helpline: 404.727.4357

  • CAPS: (404) 727-7450

  • Emory cares for you

  • Psychiatry after-hours: 404-778-5000

  • Student Intervention Services: 404-430-1120talk support GIF by Chibird