Seasonal Depression

It is okay to take time for yourself and ask for help

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Seasonal Depression

Madison Feltman, Edior-In-Chief

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As the temperature plummets below freezing, the sun begins to hide and the trees grow bare, fall quickly turns into an early winter. With the beginning of a new season comes several changes as many begin to dig out their ice scrapers, winter coats and turn on the heat. One change that several may be familiar with and some others may not is changes or shifts in mental well-being. 

 

According to recoveryvillage.com, five percent of the U.S. population experiences seasonal depression every year, 80% of which are female. College students are among the highest risk to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) as the age of onset is between the ages of 20-30. With the cold temperature and the reduction of the sun, it is hard to find a balance of time outside and getting the much needed vitamin D that the sun provides. As the cold forces many inside it creates a rift in routine and just simply makes things a lot harder. With time inside it leaves time for many to delve into their thoughts and feel as though a literal darkness has engulfed them as it gets dark outside earlier due to daylight savings time. All of these factors lead to an overwhelming sense of sadness, grief, low self-esteem and hopelessness. 

 

Whilst many students are dealing with these daunting thoughts, they are also dealing with a lack of sleep and the stress and anxiety of finals as the semester is winding down. Personally, I am unfortunately a part of these statistics and the many other statistics that surround mental health as I suffer from major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Coming from someone who already suffers from depression and anxiety, seasonal depression is a very real thing that needs to be talked about. Many people tend to brush off mental health or get discouraged when someone near them is struggling. 

 

When people see someone visibly and mentally struggling they tend to pull away and turn a blind eye as it makes them uncomfortable. Mental health is a very uncomfortable topic and it is extremely hard to understand if you yourself have never experienced anything of its kind. When someone around you is struggling, the key is not to push them away but to pull them close and love them hard. Ask them about their day, ask them how they are doing, ask them if they need anything or simply offer them a hug or a shoulder to cry on. 

 

Depression and seasonal depression often times cause a person to feel extremely alone which can turn into a potentially dangerous situation where a person can feel as if they have no choice but to harm themselves or take their own life. Although trends show that suicide rates go down in the winter months it is still prevelant, especially amongst college campuses. 

 

If you or someone you know is struggling, I urge you to take advantage of the resources on campus, such as the CVIC and the University Counseling Center, both of these services are free to students and provide walk-in appointments. Make a plan as to who you would call in a situation of hopelessness or an escape route as to how you may get out of the situation. 

 

Times may be hard, there will be plenty of days where you feel like giving up, but just remember your life is worth living. Spend some time practicing self-care techniques whether it is taking a bubble bath, watching a few hours of Netflix or cuddling a pet. It is important to take care of yourself during these next few winter months. 

 

During these next few months please check in with yourself and with others, reach out for help, and talk or journal about your feelings. It will be okay and the sun will shine again someday.

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