Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a common form of depression that affects over three million people every year, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s a very common form of depression that causes fatigue, feelings of hopelessness and can even cause people to withdraw from social interactions and events. Seasonal depression can occur for months, often in the winter months (NIMH). It’s usually associated with months where there is less daylight.
Seasonal depression can cause students to skip class, as it can cause a lack of motivation. This can cause lower grades and issues with attendance. The feeling of hopelessness, a common symptom according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), can also make students feel discouraged to keep up with their grades or work on campus.
Depression is a tough feeling to deal with, but like any form of depression, seasonal depression is manageable. If a student on campus believes they may be suffering from seasonal depression, there are resources they can utilize. Students can schedule an appointment with Director of Counseling Services Time Morenz, or one of the graduate student counselors. There are also forms of online therapy that can help students who might feel uncomfortable talking to someone in person, such as Blackburn’s connection with 7cups.
Senior secondary education: history major Samantha Cranmer shared some of her coping tips during the winter season. She said she tries to take vitamins daily to keep her Vitamin D levels up. Sunlight provides Vitamin D, and in the winter time, there’s less opportunity to get sunshine. “I also like to take self-care evenings where I drink hot chocolate, do a face mask and take a hot shower,” she added. It also helps her to spend time with her family and her cat. She recommended that other students who might have SAD spend time at the animal shelter in town. The Macoupin County Animal Shelter does take volunteers on Saturday mornings, if anyone is interested.
Senior Samantha Cranmer alleviating her seasonal depression symptoms with her cat, Pollux
Do not be afraid to reach out if you think you are suffering from seasonal depression. There are resources available both on and off campus that can help. Seasonal depression is temporary and can be treated. Be aware of it, and help others.