I thought I would talk a little about something quite personal today, something I've debated posting about here before, and always thought perhaps it was a 'silly subject'. Seasonal Affective Disorder in itself can sound a little ridiculous to people who don't fully understand the condition - questions like, 'oh, so you get down in winter?' or 'who doesn't hate it when it's cold and dark outside?' are common. And it can seem that simple to anyone who doesn't suffer with SAD, but as someone who was suffering without knowing what the condition was - I was terrified the first time I felt this.


I had just moved to the UK, just started Uni, and I noticed I was feeling... a lot worse than usual. It came on slowly at first and then I noticed day-to-day I was feeling lethargic, pretty apathetic towards everything, irritable, and tearful all the time. At first I thought it was homesickness, but I didn't understand why I would want to be left alone after class, and not see anyone. The feeling went on for around a month before I finally talked to someone, a teacher at LIPA, who suggested I might have something called vitamin D deficiency. Because I had grown up in a sunny place, maybe it was lack of vitamin D that was making me feel so awful. I went to the doctors for a check up and, whilst I didn't have any kind of vitamin deficiency per se, the doctor told me she did think I was suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I got talking to her, and some other sufferers about their experience, and everything clicked. It was like they were speaking my own feelings back to me.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about the condition is that it lifts as quickly as it descends - with the days getting longer and the reappearance of sun in spring, your body can tend to go into a 'hyperactive' phase. It's this up-and-down, this mood irregularity of SAD which makes it difficult to live with, and especially difficult to explain to others.

I'm a lot better about talking about when I'm suffering to loved ones now and, thankfully, even though I just recently had a bad bout coming back from Dubai, I think I'm pulling out of it now with a little light therapy from my Lumie light (review coming soon!). I don't seem to suffer with it anywhere nearly as bad as I did those first few years - I remember my first winter after graduation was particularly awful. I wouldn't move all day on days off work, I was so lethargic and depressed, I hated going to work in darkness, being indoors at the Trafford Centre in artificial light all day, and then coming home in darkness again. It was such a strange and awful cycle and when I told anyone, they just assumed I was being lazy or attention-seeking. It's difficult to explain to people why you're bursting into tears when all you're doing is getting ready for a day at work.

Speaking from a happier place than I was in, I hope you'll be able to take on some of my suggestions if you suffer with SAD and if you're suffering now, I hope it passes soon.

1. Invest in a light therapy lamp (Lumie or otherwise) - Just sitting next to a light therapy lamp can help - the light that is emitted mimics sunlight, and whilst it doesn't give your body exactly what the sun does, it helps my room feel a little warmer and is kinder to wake up to first thing.

2. Make time to go outside when there's daylight - If you get a good day of sunlight, get outside if you can. You'll feel like you've had more of a 'day' and your mood will be lifted by being out in the sunlight.

3. Plan exciting good-weather times - It really helps me to look ahead - I've already planned lots of visits with friends for March and a holiday this summer! Might not work for everyone but it definitely helps me to feel like the winter isn't going to last forever.

4. Colour everything - This is going to sound a little bizarre, but bear with me - wear colour. Eat colourfully. Buy flowers, paint, even colour in! Involve as much colour in your life during these months as you can. Have you ever heard of colour therapy? I'm telling you guys, it's a thing. Colour is a natural mood-booster.

5. Exercise. Trust. - I know this is everyone's answer for everything but guys, it really is the answer for everything. If you can leave everything at the gym? I guarantee your brain won't even have the energy for the negativity. 

And finally? Talk. To a parent, a friend, a professional - anyone. It might sound silly, but SAD is a mental health condition, and it's really important to make it known if you're feeling this way. You don't have to suffer in silence.

I really hope this post was helpful, and I'll see you guys on Wednesday with a beefy beauty post!

2 comments

  1. Hey Tami, I really love this post! I suffered exactly the same thing in my second year of uni; I was the only one of my friends living on campus so I had very little contact with friends during the winter holidays and my room got NO natural light in the winter. I was severely depressed and basically bedridden for about a month until I mustered up the energy to book an appointment with a uni counsellor. That appointment eventually led to me seeking a diagnosis for ADHD which has totally changed my life for the better. Now in the winter I have quite a few coping mechanisms to deal with SAD. To your list I would add: Take supplements if you need to (I take fish oil, zinc, and a B12 complex) and make sure to spend time with people you love and who make you happy.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting Liyana - it means so much to me, and your story also sounded so familiar. I'm really relieved to hear you got the help you needed and that you're coping better now - your tips are excellent, and so useful! I hope that this winter is an easier one for you, and that it goes quickly. Thanks so much again, sending happy thoughts! T xx

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