Dealing With and Understanding Seasonal Depression

Dealing With and Understanding Seasonal Depression

You wake up. It’s dark and cloudy. You don’t feel like you did yesterday. Maybe you weren’t happy, but the day hasn’t started yet and already you want to climb in your bed and never get up. You walk to the bathroom. Suddenly you feel sick. You start dry-heaving in the toilet but nothing comes out. It would be better to puke, but you can’t. Now you’re late to class. It feels like the day is ruined. Your friends try to talk to you. They don’t understand what’s wrong. You lash out at the smallest things and can’t handle their jokes. Finally the day’s done. That was horrible, it’s time for bed. But you can’t sleep. You have no energy, but still it takes you hours to sleep, even melatonin won’t help. Welcome to the world of someone with seasonal affective disorder.

The “Winter Blues” should be treated much more seriously than just a passing cliché.

According to Mental Health America, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, affects over 5 percent of the population, especially in the winter. With the temperature beginning to drop and the days getting shorter, SAD is coming in full force. People already plagued by depression can plunge to even lower points once SAD sets in. People that normally don’t feel depressed can slump to a moderate depression in an instant. The signs of SAD vary, but according to Mental Health America, symptoms are consistent with regular signs of depression. Symptoms include anxiety, mood swings, nausea, social anxiety, lethargy and lack of sleep.

For me there are times when I wake up depressed for no reason. I’m regularly nauseous in the morning and a bit irritable. If problems happen in my life they get blown up much more due to SAD. But as I’ve grown up I’ve learned how to cope with it.

Yes, I will always risk a drop into a massive depression at a moment’s notice, but the key to getting out of the fog is routine and recognizing when your mind starts to slip. SAD actually doesn’t usually come until  20, but I’ve had it my whole life. For several students at colder climate colleges, especially if you’re from a warm area, SAD can sneak up on you. With that, here are a few tips I used and how someone not afflicted by SAD can help their friends and identify.

Get up

The toughest thing to do when depressed and it looks horrible outside is get up. Staying in bed under the covers is the worst thing for you to do. It lets you sulk in misery and the brain generates depressing thoughts. You have to stay active or hang out with friends. If you can’t hang out with friends, take baby steps. First, get up. Then, shower. Then, eat. Then, see how you feel. If you still can’t bring yourself to be around others, that’s ok. At least you got up and tried. As an alternative, don’t Netflix binge when you’re depressed. Instead, accomplish something. It could be an assignment, passion project or a simple hobby. Do something to not waste your day. Knowing you were productive will help you when you try again tomorrow.

Gym

Yes it sucks to trudge through the snow and, motivation to work out tends to drop with weather. But, as Nike says — “just do it.” Whether you like heavy-lifting, playing basketball or running, just getting up and going to the gym releases endorphins and increases serotonin. That’s the juice in your brain that causes euphoria and confidence. Plus, it’s easy to get out of shape in the winter. If you check the mirror and you look good, you’ll feel good.

Light Therapy

Some people swear light therapy helps them overcome SAD. Just order a big bright light and expose yourself to it for about 30 minutes. Honestly, it has worked miracles before.

Reward Yourself

Before I learned to manage my depression I used to write down five goals for my day. If I completed the goals, I would reward myself in some capacity. I found it kept me on track and eventually I didn’t need the goal sheets. But, when you feel alone and down, any little motivation helps pick you up. Go slow at first. You might not reach all your goals every day and that’s ok. Above all though, stick with it. Knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel will help you fight through the darkness.

Punching Bag

Exercise is great, but sometimes you want to just release the stress of the day. Working the bag can help you get it all out. Man or woman, go slow at first to develop a semblance of technique. Then, once you feel ready — go to town. People may look at you weird in the gym, but once they see how hard you hit the bag, they won’t mess with you.

Talk to Someone

Whether it’s just a close friend, family member or therapist, talking to someone about your sadness or anger will help calm you down. Venting all your problems and hearing them out loud can help you frame your thoughts and work towards a solution. I’m not saying bother your friends with every single problem, but if you need someone to talk to ask them. More than likely, they’ll listen if they care about you.

Journal

Journaling all your thoughts and keeping track of patterns in your behavior not only increases self-awareness, but it helps you release your feelings. Writing about every little thing that happened during the day or all the thoughts swimming in your head will help you release.

Meditate

Obviously it’s too cold to go outside, but with the right Spotify playlist and an understanding to keep it quiet between your roommates, you can feel at peace. Fifteen minutes a day leave all the craziness of the world behind and will help you just relax. Have some herbal tea after; maybe take a warm shower. You could even meditate in the shower if you wanted. There are no rules, so just relax.

Not all of these tips will work. Some people react differently to different stimuli. However, giving them a try can’t hurt anything and maybe you’ll find your way out of the fog.

If you aren’t afflicted with SAD, you most likely have friends that are. The number one key to helping them is patience. Your friend may or may not tell you if they have SAD or any form of depression, but if you see them down, comfort them.

With my closest friends and roommates, I tell them up front when SAD hits me. It genuinely does affect how you handle the everyday stresses of life. Being patient and understanding will increase trust with them. If you increase trust with someone going through something, they’ll be more inclined to tell you when something’s wrong. Don’t get overly mad at them. Stay calm if they mess up. Many people afflicted with SAD probably don’t know and some may never have had any mental health treatment.

Recognizing the signs of SAD and knowing how to treat and deal with people afflicted is important this time of year.

Be kind; you never know the battle someone’s going through.

svetzjr14@bonaventure.edu

Teddy

Teddy

@svetz17

He’s seen better days.

The stuffing has started to fall out of his belly. When he first arrived, his eyes were dark black without a scratch on them. His fur was a radiant light brown. On his face sat a painted black smile, a smile you could trust. He was soft, warm and felt like love.

He traveled everywhere. He loved strolls in the park, but he enjoyed the thrill of the ball games. He knew when it was time to hide inside. He never minded being inside. No matter how long he had to stay there.

He was a friend. Now, he’s ragged, ripped and torn apart by adolescence.

He was Teddy.

He was loved. 

-From an assignment I wrote in Denny Wilkins class. We were asked to write about an object that had meaning to us. I struggled to find something for a while and then I thought of my childhood teddy bear. Honestly, I had to choke back some tears when I wrote this. I figured it would interest someone and maybe relate to the phases of growing up as we outgrow the things we once loved.

Where It All Went Wrong

Where It All Went Wrong

@svetz17

She left yesterday, but returned today. It made me feel good, yet caused me strain. I wish I could quit you, but I know it’s in vain.

The needle’s too precious, as it enters my vein. Spinning and wondering, where’d it go wrong? Fell on the floor, the feeling’s gone.

I try to get up, but it’s no use. My body refuses to take the abuse.

So here I lay, dead to the world.

Wondering where it all went wrong.

– From an assignment I wrote in Denny Wilkins class. It was supposed to be Twitter Fiction, but it became a poem. Purely fiction.

 

 

The First Day of Seasonal Depression

@svetz17

I remember feeling happy yesterday.

Today, I woke up and felt empty.

I look outside, the sun has vanished.

Large stormy clouds have swallowed up the UV rays once present.

The glow of sunshine has been replaced by the gloomy and black shadows overcast.

Rain falls vigorously, splattering onto the ground, taunting the once beautiful grass.

I don’t feel that smile I had before.

The last few days I’ve woken up to a glow in my bedroom.

Now that’s been replaced by a dark and dim light barely penetrating through my window.

I rise from my bed.

I usually put on some Kanye West and Lil Uzi to get jazzed up for the day.

Today, I’m drawn to Drake “Know Yourself,” introspective Mac Miller and Earl Sweatshirt’s latest project.

All three use somber beats and in Earl’s case, it’s one of the most isolated hip hop albums I’ve ever heard.

I shouldn’t listen to this stuff.

I should try to fake happy.

I can’t, not today.

I’m going through the motions — I’ve decided.

I’ll still dap you up, but know it comes from more necessity today than anything.

We have to keep up appearances, its human nature.

It’s not that I don’t like you.

But today — I’m not real.

I’m not myself.

Or maybe I’m more myself than I ever am, depends who you ask.

The day’s begun, time to go to my class I could care less about.

If I had it my way I’d stay in all day listening to music and sleeping.

But I have responsibilities.

It’s time to kick myself in the ass and get in gear.

As I walk outside the rain trickles down and seeps into my hair.

Well damn, I tried.

After all the pep talks I’m back to square one.

Now what?

Sad music again should help me cope.

I can’t shake the feeling today’s not going to go the way I want as I drive my broken down Subaru to class.

I park my car, there’s the rain again.

I put my hood up to deflect it, but it’s no use.

It’s coming down harder than before.

I only have a few yards to walk, but it feels like eternity.

I’m off today.

I like to call it a “fog.”

Most people with depression have a name for it.

I walk into the room and I’m late.

I’m usually late to class, procrastination gets the best of me.

But today I’m not having fun with it.

I sit down immediately, look forward and zombify.

I’m not even checking my laptop.

Today, I’m zoning out and contemplating life.

Well, I do that every day.

However, today I’m not real.

Class has ended.

Usually I grab something to eat, hang with friends, do something social, but not today.

My hood goes back up.

I get in my car and put on another down-tempo song and drive off.

I’m back home now, still down.

I couldn’t tell you what would actually help me right now.

Maybe I’ll get on my computer.

I have mad shit to do today.

Huh, that’s odd, a blank word document seems to have not been used.

I guess I’ll write.

An hour passes.

I finished my piece.

I feel better.

Sure, the sky has stayed gloomy and the rain continues to pour, but I feel better.

I wouldn’t say happy, but better.

For someone experiencing the effects of seasonal depression for the first time this year — that’s good.

I’m still not myself, but I’m better.

The fog has lifted.

I’m whole again.

Everything Happens For a Reason

yut@svetz17

Up front, I’m not much of a religious person.

However, I do believe some spiritual force tinkers with our lives.

Through my experiences, I’ve come to find “everything happens for a reason” is much more than a stupid cliché’.

Growing up, I had some trying times.

I dealt with depression in some form all my life.

I also dealt with social anxiety, which I believe I’ve had since birth.

It’s hard enough to come of age as is, but to navigate childhood when you hadn’t yet experienced true happiness created a lot of issues early on.

I had friends, but I never fit in with the crowd.

When other kids played kickball and hung out on the playground, I was writing stories, creating TV shows, making bands, literally creating my own world.

At the time, I thought I was just an aloof that would never be able to use my hobbies as a profession.

But now, I realize my creativity as a kid prepped me for my career aspirations today.

The fantasy lands in my head showcased my creativity, and with the right tools, I’ve channeled that energy constructively.

Making 32-team Madden franchises and commentating all the games was just prep for my broadcasting career.

Writing short stories and tracking all the data from my endeavors in countless notebooks just got me ready to become a writer.

It’s funny how things work out.

Here I sat sulking about my predicament, when it all paid off as my life moved forward.

What to learn from this?

Next time you have a trying time, try and find the silver lining. Then, once you’re over it, wait a little bit.

Sometimes, that situation you considered a curse ended up being a blessing in disguise.

Sometimes good things have to fall apart to make room for something better.

Remember, everything in your life is either a blessing or a lesson.

Cherish the former, learn from the latter.

Thank You, Kid Cudi

th0mv790d5

@Svetz17

Preface:

Today is World Mental Health Day. I want to make something clear. Asking for help isn’t a weakness — its a strength. It’s much easier to let mental health issues win rather than fighting them. If you’re in pain — get help. If you know someone in pain–talk to them, try to help them or find a professional who can. Going to therapy is not a sign of weakness. If your therapist doesn’t work out, find another one. Sometimes it takes several to find one that works. Be like Cudi, be strong, ask for help. This battle is not yours alone — we’re all in this together.  

 

Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi.

Musician, actor, producer, director, artist, writer, comedian, a true genius and one of the most talented human beings alive.

But sadly, a troubled person, as many tortured geniuses through history have been.

Seeing Cudi enter rehab for depression and suicidal urges hurts my heart.

Like the late Kurt Cobain, Cudi helped me and countless others through some of the most difficult periods of life.

Now, all I want to do is give back.

But how do you give back to someone in pain?

By telling them how much they mean to you.

My problems don’t match Cudi’s.

I’m a well-off kid from a two-parent household in the suburbs.

But in my life, I’ve felt out of place.

The true genius of Cudi came from his ability to connect to the dreamers of the world.

I consider myself such.

The soundtrack to my life consisted largely of Cudi.

When I felt down about myself due to others, I put on “Heart of a Lion.”

When I recluse into my shell due to over-analysis, I put on “These Worries.”

When I felt overwhelmed with negative energy, I put on “Just What I Am.”

And when I heard people talk shit about things going on in my life, I put on “Too Bad I Have to Destroy You Now.”

For me, no matter how alone I felt, Cudi always understood. His versatility of music matched any mood I had.

Joy, anxiety, isolation, depression, retribution — anything.

In particular, I remember my sophomore year of college, just a little over a year ago.

I was kicked out of a living situation with people I thought were going to be life-long friends. I’ve since reconciled with them, but that’s not the point.

I remember feeling defeated, alone, isolated.

I walked outside and sat on the bleachers near our soccer stadium, contemplating my situation.

I put “Solo Dolo” on repeat and suddenly I didn’t feel alone.

 

Of course I was still extremely depressed, but from that song, I heard lyrics like; “Why must it feel so wrong when I try and do right…do right?” and “Look at me, you tell me, just what you see | Am I, someone whom, you may love, or enemy? | Am I, speaking for, you and yours, or someone else? | I need some answers.”

It spoke to me.

I said to myself, “he gets it.”

And Cudi refused to let you stay in that dark place.

The final verse: “Listen good: I don’t need nobody | This is what you feel are the sounds of insanity | Hoping what I hear loops itself to finish me | No, I won’t be afraid.”

With this, Cudi is saying it’s ok to feel alone, it’s a strength to be able to handle the world on your own.

It only increases your chances of success; it’s a blessing, not a curse.

Rap Genius says this song is a message to critics of his music. But music acts as an interpretive art form.

For me, it was about getting through a period of alienation.

For someone else, it could be about a lost parent, a breakup, anything that matches the somber mood.

That’s the beauty of music: it acts as a catalyst to your emotions. 

The power of music knows no bounds and Cudi proved that.

His legions of fans defend him to the end because he identified with us.

Cudi spoke for a generation of outcasts, misfits and star-gazers.

Now, it’s time to give back to him.

For all the missed social events.

For all the nights stuck in my room contemplating life.

For all the thoughts about what the hell I wanted out of life.

Thank you, Kid Cudi. Thank you for understanding when no one else could.

 

2016 August Fantasy Football Rankings

First ever Fantasy Pros ranking for Standard scoring and PPR.

Currently, it’ll be updated through Fantasy Pros and published on my Word Press, but I’m in negotiations to get my rankings posted elsewhere.

Until then though, this will do just fine.

Check them out below.

http://partners.fantasypros.com/external/widget/nfl-rankings.php?id=845&year=2016&week=0&notes=true&height=800&css=FFFFFF:000000:FFFFFF:195E8D&ts=1470094134”,

//partners.fantasypros.com/js/widget.js

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

– Josh Svetz