Living in Whatcom County we are surrounded by lush greenery, fresh air, scenic mountains and gorgeous bodies of water. For many, the challenge comes during the dark, rainy months. These gray days can affect even the healthiest person’s mood. For some, the weather causes a mild impact, but for others it can trigger clinical depression.
Bellingham is often cited as a city that receives the least amount of sunshine during the year. These extended days of darkness can correlate with decreased mood and fatigue. Sometimes this can be mild often called “winder blues.”
However, about 2% of the population experiences more than “winter blues.” Instead, the weather change triggers a profound feeling of sadness. This condition is called Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern (commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder). The essential feature of this diagnosis is the onset and remission of significant depressive feelings at certain times of the year. In most cases, the episodes begin in fall or winter and end in spring. Less common are those whose recurrent depressive episodes are triggered by the summer. It is estimated that women are two to three times more likely to suffer from seasonal depression than men.
Warning Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder (Seasonal Pattern Depression)
During specific and recurring times of the year:
- You feel sad most days, nearly every day.
- Things you used to enjoy give you less pleasure.
- You gain or lose an excessive amount of weight.
- You feel keyed up or slowed down.
- You feel fatigued nearly every day.
- You feel an undue sense of worthlessness or guilt.
- You sleep excessively or find you can’t fall or stay asleep.
- You find it hard to concentrate.
- The depressed feelings emerge and leave around the same time of year for at least the previous two years.
Do some of these symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (Seasonal Pattern Depression) resonate with you? Then it might be time to seek help.
There is hope. It’s time to break out of your pattern of seasonal depression. Trained therapists such as Allison Huffman using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other tools can empower you to change your mind’s response to the seasons. Reach out and allow yourself to enjoy your world all year long. Call or text today to explore how therapy could help you (360) 480-7048.