Understanding Seasonal Depression

We’ve all been sad before. Maybe your childhood pet had just passed away, or you had to move to a new state where you knew no one. It is all cause and effect. Your pet dying had caused you to be sad. You moving where you knew nobody had caused you to be sad. But what if there was never a cause?

What if you woke up one day and just felt like the world was on your shoulders. For once, socializing with your best friends doesn't seem appealing to you. You sit in your bed, cuddled up with all your blankets and favorite PJ’s, your lights off but you're not turning on your favorite TV show. Nothing seems appealing to you. Your phone is buzzing but for some odd reason you want to just turn it off. You think to yourself “it's just one of those days I guess.”

But what if it keeps happening. No cause, just effect. No energy to do your favorite things, yet can't sleep. Sitting in the shower for hours just sitting there sounds amazing, but you can't get up. You ask yourself, “Why is it getting harder to smile? Why don't I wanna eat? Why have I never felt like this? Why isn't this going away?” It is called depression. More specifically seasonal depression.

There are a lot of things people do not understand about seasonal depression, like how it begins or ends. Also, contrary to what your body thinks, there are reasons for your symptoms: melatonin levels, your biological clock and serotonin levels. Most of the time it affects people around the same time every year. Maybe you start to notice you're becoming on edge and moody during the fall and more aggressive symptoms, like withdrawal and hopelessness, into the winter months. According to Psychology Today, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects around 3 percent of Americans.

Everyone has been sad but, not everyone has been depressed. If these are symptoms happening to you, have no fear because Her Campus is here to help you through it!


Surround yourself with friends

As hard as it might be to get yourself out of your antisocial shell you like to call your room, it is so important to be surrounded by people who care. Even if it means just venturing into your living room with your roommates and watching a classic rom-com. Somethings you can't battle yourself and that's okay. If they can't handle you at your worst, they don't deserve you at your best.


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Eat right and workout

Making sure your body is getting the proper nutrients it needs is super beneficial to overcoming "the blues". For some people going to the gym after a long day of classes might sound delusional, but again this is so beneficial to becoming the happiest you can be. When you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins can also trigger positive feelings throughout your body while you workout. So even if it’s just 30 minutes of running, like Shia Labeouf screams, “JUST DO IT!”


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Have a ‘Treat Yo Self’ day

When we are sad or depressed we tend to want to let go of ourselves. The pamper sessions that we usually have tend to stop because we feel that we dont deserve it. We lose our self-worth and self-confidence. Do not give up on little things that make you feel good! Let yourself have a ‘Treat Yo Self’ day; go get your nails done, maybe have an at-home spa day and take a long bubble bath. Whatever it is, let that one thing show you that you can be happy. There is nothing wrong with getting or doing something that helps you gain pleasure, afterall, isn't that what they are made for?

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Lastly, you're never alone. To all my fellow Mountaineers reading this, there is always a safe place for you. The West Virginia University Carruth Center offers quality counseling and psychiatry services. The Carruth Center also holds events such as workshops and educational talks to help all members of the WVU community.

If you feel a friend or yourself is feeling suicidal, visit the Crisis Text Hotline or dial 1-800-273-8255 for 24/7 care.