Bipolar Life- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Spring! It’s the happiest time of my year.

The excitement I feel as the days get longer and the sun shines bright is energetic. I love watching winter roll away into the distance. As the time changed, the veiled lifted, and I once again emerged. What is the phenomenon I encounter every single fall?

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is a clinical explanation:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD 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. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.

Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:

*Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
*Weight gain
*Tiredness or low energy

This here is my reality. It has not helped there were other factors that clearly create mood swings over the last few years. Life has been rough- many things have occurred outside of my control. I put effort in to attempt to lift myself, but the shorter the days, the shorter my fuse. The fatigue is real; the mood swings are probably unbearable to those around me.

I work a full time job so I usually get through my workday just fine. I experience the crash at the end of the day and it is crazy! I will go home and immediately fall asleep. I have no additional energy and feel completely drained. I put on the extra weight, the whole shebang. I crave time in my shorts and tank tops on a daily basis, and dream of the beach. Colorado has many winter days filled with sunshine, but when it disappears so early and it is 30 degrees out, the sunshine is not inviting.

While this disorder is frustrating enough in itself, add in the bipolar. Fall/Winter can include depression and Spring/Summer a milder mania- just our luck! It is imperative to my overall health to be aware of my mood swings, and to recognize the changes that occur.

My answer is to move back to Florida. Even in the midst of a cool to downright cold February, living in the sunshine state was easier on my mental health. The ocean was a drive away, and it is my happy place. I do not ski, and I do not like the snow so Colorado mountains do not have the same peace in the winter that they do in the fall. Their snowcapped peaks look pretty from away and that is about it. Our environment plays a big role in our mental health.

Since I am not moving back to Florida any time soon, some of my key aides include essential oils in numerous combinations- lavender is ‘essential’, intentional time outdoors during the day, journaling, exercise, and dedication to meal plans that lift and not load! This year was a rough one, I will prepare in advance next time around. Until then, I will enjoy the spring and summer!

We can get through these changes if we take some time to research and know how to help ourselves. Those remedies may include a plan with medication, light therapy, or specialized therapy. All of which should be considered on an individual basis. For more information on SAD, visit the Mayo Clinic website here.

If you experience SAD, what are your go to home remedies during the difficult seasons?

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