#takeonnews: Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]

Even though I’ve been diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and wouldn’t even consider going off my medication, I have doubts about some of the syndromes and disorders that are talked about in the psychiatric field. I question how far they go to find something wrong with a patient. I question whether there is actually something wrong or could they be taking away the individualism of people.

There are three schools of thought about the disorder, SAD [Seasonal Affective Disorder]. Some say is it an actual diagnosis. Others say it’s just another term for clinical depression. Still, others are proclaiming this analysis is altogether invalid. I fall into the last category — of course, as a layman.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD] is a subtype of depression, something like bipolar depression is. They reel off a batch of symptoms that, in my opinion, are way too common for almost everyone, except for maybe the first one listed.

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

[list quoted from the Mayo Clinic site]

They say these symptoms may be included. Does that mean they may not be present with the disorder? To me, it’s an ill-defined diagnosis and has me skeptical of the disorder itself.

My doubt comes from knowing how events can lead to clinical depression. True, maybe people are more serious during the winter months but that doesn’t mean they are depressed. If something occurs that puts the burden of grief or anxiety on a person during these months of less daylight, it would seem logical the person would be more susceptible to clinical depression. However, I disbelieve it’s the lack of daylight, itself, that is causing the deep sadness.

I’ve pondered on the notion that people of current society are more susceptible to clinical depression during the winter season. I think people have become more isolated since the boom of technology and have more of a tendency to use a phone, tablet, laptop, or personal computer to fill their time rather than seeking companionship with a friend or family member. People aren’t going to see the reactions on a device like they would if they spend real time with another person. I can certainly understand how that would make a person more somber. Still, that is not SAD.

Mayo Clinic’s list includes problems with sleep. There are so many reasons why a person is having such a problem, whether it be sleeping too much or not enough. According to Healthline, it could be as simple as there’s so much going on in a person’s life that there are days when he or she isn’t getting enough sleep and, then, when there is a day of leisure, that person will sleep for fifteen hours in one stretch. The site goes on to explain it could be something more serious like:

And they were not talking about SAD being one of the depression aspects.

I agree the lack of daylight is annoying so I do what I can to combat it. I will spend the little extra to have lights on throughout the house during the day. I’ll even turn on a second light so reading or writing isn’t a strain on my eyes. If I feel I’m getting too serious, I’ll call a friend or a family member just to chat for a bit. Being serious is the way I am most comfortable but sometimes a person has to break away from it. Just stepping outside even though it’s cloudy and maybe even wet with rain or snow can be exhilarating, lightning up my mood.



I’m sure there are those who disagree with me, believing SAD is a real form of depression. Chances are those people suffer from depression each winter, not realizing the underlying cause of it. To those who suffer, I wish you success in finding the cause and also hope you have the courage needed to overcome it.

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


14 thoughts on “#takeonnews: Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]

  1. I’ve heard of SAD before and am inclined to think it might actually exist, and some of us feel more down in winter compared to the other months. For many years, I felt that the shorter days and lack of daylight made me a bit down and wanted more warmth. But last winter I was okay with it and had many things to keep me occupied and think about. Distraction and really finding something to do often takes our minds off what we want and focus on doing and being a better person.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know about a clinical diagnosis, but I remember my ex-wife having a rough time when we lived in Seattle, WA. Of course, the days are much shorter there due to the latitude (47°n for Seattle vs. 41° for Hartford), it was usually overcast and she worked in a data center that was largely underground. There were days when she never saw daylight at all.

    I agree that stepping outside, even on a day like today when the high might not get out of single-digits, makes me feel much better. I try to do things that allow me to appreciate the season. I enjoy a reasonable amount of snow, and I like the views we get of sunrise and sunset through the bare trees.

    Keep the lights on and have a Happy New Year, Glynis.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I told Mabel right above you in this comment section, I believe we’re supposed to wind a little during these months. Still, turning on lights when the overcast is heavy does a lot for my mood just like stepping outside to get the brisk feeling going. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I notice that I tend to be more depressed in the winter and active in summer. Part of it just biological and has to do with exposure to light. My body tends to want to sleep when it’s dark and be awake when it’s light. I sleep less in summer, but am more active than in winter when I sleep less.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I run through this list myself when I’m sadder than usual. I’m pretty upbeat so being unhappy is a bit strange. I stutter on the one about “no interest in activities that used to interest you”. Hmmm…. Find a new hobby maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, Jacqui. We evolve mental, which changes are interests.

      I’m usually pretty upbeat myself although I am a relatively serious person, not laugh ofter, sometimes not even smiling. I’m interested in the world around me, I guess.


  5. My mom lives in a facility for people with memory problems, like Alzheimer’s disease (the majority of the residents) Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s. Since so many people there suffer from Alz, family members are always on the look out for any respite from the mental and emotional decline we all see. One of the newer studies showing promise is making sure that residents have access to strong light for several hours each day. Sunlight is preferred but brightly lit room lights will work if the day is rainy or overcast. So far, this regimen is showing a positive affect. The residents are happier and more “present” when they’ve been exposed to light. I’ve personally witnessed dramatic changes when night comes on. Some people who are usually affable and easy going become anxious and aggressive. People with Alz are incapable of consciously manipulating their behavior, and I tend to view these changes as authentic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting stuff, Shari. Yes, having a light on when the weather is cloudy outside does perk me up.

      I wonder if this focus on light helps the memory system in us too. I’ll have to pay more attention to that idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m with you, Glynis, I’ve always believed its natural to wind down a bit in winter, to become more introspective, to bustle about less. I also find the best tonic for feeling a bit down is to go outside, turn on lights (I twine little white lights around my house plants and bookcases during the winter months that follow Christmas and place white candles here and there. I love lighting them and sitting in their glow), catch a sunrise or sunset, call or visit friends or loved ones. I hope your new year is everything you would like it to be, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been so long since I’ve been out west. I still don’t feel like I fit in here among the southerners but can’t help wondering if I’d fit in the west either anymore. Then you send me this comment and I am, once again, certain I am a westerner and would feel at ease west of the Mississippi.

      Janet, I wish you all good things for this new year. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I do believe the winter season does make people more melancholy, and for some it can affect their psyche. I guess it is matter of developing strategies to manage it, though I do know that isn’t easy. I suffered from depression and one doesn’t fully recover from it, you find ways to deal with it, sometimes with medication. I no longer need medication but do need to be mindful of my mental activity. My depression was a result from a bad car accident,or rather a series of car accidents, none of which were my fault.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every once in a while I get depressed but I’m sure it’s not the clinical kind because I can snap myself out of it. My problem is anxiety, which I take a pill for. Because there usually isn’t much happening in the winter except for the December holidays, my anxiety level goes down at the first of the new year. The holiday weeks are a little hard for me but I use cognitive tricks to cope.

      Liked by 1 person

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