52 thoughts on “(Trying) to Cope with SAD Syndrome

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  4. I understand SAD. I suffer from it too. I use light therapy too, but I’m thinking I may need to increase it. The melancholy has started to kick in. I notice that it also makes my chronic fatigue worse as well. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I am sorry to hear you also suffer from SAD. I must admit, since the days are growing shorter I’ve had to increase my light therapy more.

      It is so frustrating how SAD has these affects on other conditions. I hope it eases for you, especially as it is affecting your chronic fatigue which I can imagine is hard enough to deal with without SAD making things worse.

      Wishing you all the best.

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  6. First, You are a brave woman, Ari – writing so clearly and coping with an invisible illness like SAD. My thoughts and prayers as you fight on. Too many people fail to understand those that aren’t physically manifesting their condition – some are even from the medical profession. You are gathering the means to push forward, such as your light box.

    Second, apologies for taking a while to read this and comment. My own invisible illness – multiple sclerosis – has been messing my life up.

    1. Hi Roland, thank you kindly for your comment. I think because mental illness is still so frustratingly stigmatised that we do need to talk about it, to shine light on it and keep making sure people understand these are conditions and illnesses that deserve proper consideration, attention and understanding.

      I sadly heard of a family member who went to their doctor with severe depression and was told “just get over it” and with so many people committing suicide the harshness of that was just astounding, especially in 2019!! It’s ridiculous that medical people are not all understanding just how damaging mental illness can be. Thankfully, our own doctors are incredible and we have managed to get the family member to register with them so they can get proper help and understanding.

      I am truly sorry to hear your MS has been causing issues for you, I hope that at the time of reading this, you are doing somewhat better. My thoughts are with you.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing, Ari. It’s a very insidious thing, isn’t it? I had classic SAD one year, there was a gradual enclosed feeling and I felt weighed down, I hated the dull light, feeling it was going on and on, then I got depressed, then anxiety stomped in – those serotonin levels fell below my threshold and it felt just like that, it was nothing my attitude or outlook could have done anything to prevent, and medication restored my wellbeing again quite quickly. The rest of the time I’ve a reasonable equilibrium and can be pretty happy most of the time, but I have found the perimenopause hormonal fluctations have thrown some crashes my way. So Yes to all the measures and methods you use to help the effects of SAD, and we all know you do an amazing job in keeping in touch. Honestly, you cover so much for us writers and in such a comprehensive and well expressed way, you needn’t have any concerns about not being around sometimes. We are all behind you. Hope you are feeling better soon :>).

    1. Thanks Lynne. I’m sorry to hear you suffered SAD, it is very insidious. I am glad that there have been happy times too. I hope the crashes caused by perimenopausal fluctuations have not caused you too much distress, my friend. Wishing you all the best.

      Aww you are so sweet to say that, I am always pleased that my articles are enjoyed. I love sharing all sorts of things with my readers and I do try and be comprehensive without being to dry about it! lol

      I appreciate the well wishes and I hope to get back to checking out everyone else’s blogs. 🙂

  8. How brave you are, Ari! The light box works well for my relatives who have SAD. You are doing all the right things. I hope the anxiety calms down enough for you to appreciate the good that the light box is doing and the walks outside in the fresh air. It’s such a pity it has been so cloudy and gloomy lately. With regard to your anxiety please have a look at the following link. This method has been highly recommended and I am currently trying to get my younger daughter to try it.
    He also has a Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/CharlesLindenTheLindenMethod
    He posts live talks about all sorts of mental health issues and they can be very interesting.
    Best wishes xx

    1. Thank you kindly, Clare. I have to say the lightbox has been doing wonders. I even appreciate how well the walks outside have done for my general health, never mind my mental health 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing those links, I’ll look through them as I’m always looking for new methods that can help 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Ivia, I always get these weird moments of “should I blog about this?” but I know how I feel when I read a personal experience on a blog, allowing me to feel more connected and even have that relatable moment. So I just swallow the nerves and write it anyway. lol

  9. It’s empowering to know some of the “why” for these struggles, isn’t it? I’m glad that you’ve got support, and are able to share this, too. The demands of social media to be “on” all the time are stressful, even without these struggles- hoping that you do find time to rest and rebalance as needed.

    1. Thanks Anne. Yes! It is empowering to know the why. I think a lot of my frustrations came, not just from these black moods and overwhelms but from not understanding the why until it kinda hit me in the face. Knowing that helps as I can remind myself, like a mantra, that it will pass.

      I have to admit I’ve been withdrawing from social media recently due to the bouts of SAD that have hit me. I pop on when I can, share and retweet etc but not as often as normal.

      Thanks for your kind words, Anne 🙂 Hope you’re doing okay too

  10. I’m glad you’ve been finding ways to help your situation, especially since they’re ways that avoid the use of medication, which can often cause other issues.

    Take time for yourself when you need to. Looking after your health – physical and mental – is more important than blogs and social media, after all.

    1. Thank you kindly, Victoria. Yes, I do admit I avoid medication when I can, unless I really need it. The lightbox has been a godsend for helping me cope and I get such a boost of energy. I’ve even got my partner using it to help him sleep better.

  11. For years while living in the UK I suffered from SAD syndrome and didn’t know what it was. Latterly I found the natural dawn alarm clock and light box the single most effective thing that helped, only discovered when we were staying in East Prawle in February and woken by natural light and felt sooooo good! We’ve always had dogs so walking out in the natural light has always been part of my life.
    Since moving to Italy 12 years ago, I’ve not had to use light box or alarm, but do have them stashed in my wardrobe… you never know. Take care, Ari.
    Take care, it’s

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jo. I am so sorry you suffered SAD for so long without knowing. I feel it’s one of those mental health issues that is not discussed enough and often trivialised by being referred to as “winter blues”.

      Yes, I LOVE my lightbox and we are digging out my dawn alarm clock too. I was so surprised at how well the lightbox has been at controlling and managing my mood swings. Best purchase ever.

      I’m so pleased to hear that you now no longer need your lightbox, I can imagine it is beautiful living in Italy. Wishing you all the best 🙂

  12. Well done for speaking about this, as an anxiety sufferer I know the pitfalls. Sometimes it is enough that you have got up and carried on. More people need to be candid about mental health so there is not a stigma. In fact, recently I offered to talk about my anxiety in front of people as part of a speech but was told by the person putting on the event that they were worried people would think I was mad and treat me differently. I said OK and agreed, but inside I was fuming, if we want to stop labelling people with mental health problems as crazy we need to talk about it!

    1. Thank you kindly. It’s not easy to talk about our mental health issues, to let people know what we suffer and yet I know it’s important so we can let others know, they aren’t alone, that it happens and there are ways to cope.

      Urgh, I am so sorry to hear that you didn’t get to do a talk about your anxiety. Their attitude is exactly what is wrong with the world, this idea that those with mental health issues are “mad”. It’s the very idea that we treat the brain, an organ, as if there is nothing wrong. Why can’t that organ fail? Why can’t the change in brain chemistry cause symptoms? It’s perfectly logical to understand that so how are some people so incapable.

      Hopefully, you will find another audience to speak to as I do 100% believe this topic needs more people like you, willing to share their experiences.

    1. Hi Jo, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear your depression and anxiety was so dismissed and untreated. It is sad to think how many people have suffered as you have because it was just not talked about, not acknowledged. I hope that the more we all talk about mental illness, the more awareness we bring and the more we push back the stigma.

      I am so sorry for the delay in replying, yes I am happy for you to repost this on your own blog. Thanks so much

    1. I am sorry to hear. I think I lot more people suffer from SAD without realising it because it’s still not talked about much. People call it “winter blues” which I feel almost trivialises it. I hope you are able to find relief from SAD at times. If you aren’t already, I truly can’t recommend the light therapy enough. It has been awesome in helping me manage my bad days better.

  13. Oh Ari, I have thought of your whereabouts several times and wished you someplace exotic and warm…
    Now I wish you a short trip between your SAD days when they come to you and a short time spent there. If those days are upon you they must be for a reason, so stay strong and remember you are not alone.

    I also missed you for my own selfish reasons…you are the only person that looks at my blog…LOL
    I actually think you’re my only fan. Ha!

    Mental illness does carry a stigma with it, man I hate that for all of us.
    However, I love your blog and I appreciate more than you can imagine how truly genuine you have been about the subject.
    Thank you, 🌻

    1. Thanks you so much. I am managing the SAD a lot better recently, though when those bad days hit I do have a habit of just withdrawing from the world to hide.

      lol I’m sure I’m not the only person who visits your blog. But I do enjoy it and I am hoping to get back to my regular pattern of visiting all the awesome blogs I follow.

      Yes, it is sad that mental illness is still treated with such stigma. It’s so silly, after all, we all agree the brain is one of the most important organs and uet people dismiss the idea of it having issues. It’s an organ like any other, why would it not sicken. Why would the change in brain chemistry not cause issues for the person. I hope that by talking about these subjects, we all keep pushing the stigma away.

      Thank you again.

  14. I “liked” this post Ari, for your ability to discuss your SAD condition – it is brave to reveal so much of yourself and perhaps unburdening helped out a little too? I have heard that light therapy is very effective for SAD. I have a friend who lives in western New York and her doctor told her that this corner of the United States has the least amount of sun in the Winter time and she should take Vitamin D to help her bones and her disposition. She has lived there 15 years and will not be without this supplement. I had a friend who suffered from SAD and when he and his wife were nearing retirement age, he wanted to go somewhere warm, but more than just the warmth on his bones, he wanted a place where the sun was shining the most of any state – he researched and found that city and state: Las Cruces, New Mexico. He spent one Winter there on his own – he is a writer and worked from home anyway. He rented an apartment and his wife visited, liked it and they bought a home there and when she retired the following years, they moved there permanently. No regrets. I hate the Winter for the short days and I don’t like driving in Winter – in fact I’m scared to do so, having taken the bus for so many years to my job. So I am happy for working from home. But the loss of time spent out enjoying oneself in nature, or just going for a walk are big losses for me and I also find myself in a funk, wanting only to sleep longer than usual, going to bed sometimes at 8:30. I hope you find the light therapy to be a Godsend Ari – many blessings to you.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Linda. It did help somewhat to discuss it. There’s always that knot in your belly when you share a vulnerability with people.

      I have to say my light box has been awesome for helping. On the odd days I’m unable to use it due to being out of the house for too long and just not getting time, I have bad crashes. Whereas on the days I use it twice, my mood stays more even for longer. Such an awesome purchase. I’ve started taking Vitamin D too since my country is NOT a sunny one.

      I think it’s great your friends have found a sunnier place to live that has been a great help.

      Yes, working from home in the winter when the light fades faster is hard. I find I have fewer “workable hours” before my body clock just starts shutting down with a “time to stop”. Though, like you, I am glad not to have to drive to work when the snow and ice comes!

      1. You are welcome Ari. It’s hard to find the right combination to keep you humming along with no crashes, plus to try to stay off meds if possible, so the light makes total sense – it’s cheap, easy to run, portable … so it is a Godsend to help get through the dark and dreary days of Fall/Winter.

        I am looking forward to the time change next weekend. As a walker, I find myself tapping my foot waiting for it to get lighter, as I daren’t go walking at dawn or dusk – too much crime anymore.

        It is okay to expose your vulnerabilities here with other bloggers who are likely more sympathetic, or in tune with what you are saying, than on other social media platforms where people are quick to comment, often critically.

        Best to you Ari.

      2. ooh I totally forgot we are coming up to daylight savings time. That will definitely be good!

        I know what you mean about the crime, I don’t walk in many places I love, alone, for it’s just too risky. Thankfully my partner loves nature so we get to go to lovely places together.

        How right you are, social media often has its knee-jerk critics, everyone with an opinion, often a harsh and even nasty one at times.

        A blog is a nicer, safer place to be open and I’ve been so blessed to have the nicest followers and readers 🙂

        Take care, my friend.

      3. I don’t mind being alone and am used to it, but there are times where I would like to go places that require being out at night and I won’t do it. We had hot air balloons come to a park near me and I’d have loved to have gone to that festival and launch, but would not come home in the dark. People are crazy enough here during daylight hours.

        Bloggers are not hiding behind a fake name and being judgmental – each of us writes of things that are personal; we write from the heart. I’m not always writing about nature. It takes courage, but, as you say, people are kinder here in this forum.

        You take care as well Ari.

      4. oooh I love hot air balloons. We used to see the odd one floating over our home when we lived in England. In fact, we even had one crash land in the field behind our house!

        I always wanted to go up in one, but it’s so dependant on the weather. We paid to do it once, but never got the chance as the few available days all turned out to be a total wash out 😦

      5. That is the unfortunate thing about some outdoor events – you book in advance and the weather is horrid. The hot air balloons fascinate me and I’d go for a ride as well. We used to have the Goodyear Blimp fly right over my city, enroute to the Grand Prix races on Belle Isle every year, but it hasn’t been here the last two years – to see something as big as the Blimp going overhead was just amazing, and even more amazing at night with all its lights on.

  15. I think I was lowkey suffering from this for a while – it was hard to tell with the school year coinciding with the winter season. I’ve been taking vitamin D for about a year now, and it’s seemed to really help. I hope you find something which works for you and that you feel better soon and your creativity remains undiminished!

    1. I think a lot more people suffer from it than they realise. Strangely I didn’t get it every year but this year was my worst and I totally didn’t twig why my mood swings were so bad. I think it’s another one of those things that isn’t talked about enough. It can also exacerbate other forms of mental health issues too.

      Glad to hear vitamin D helped, we’ve added that to our routine too especially since we aren’t the sunniest of countries 🙂

  16. What you just did took courage. Loads of it! And now that your readers know I think they’ll be a little more understanding when you say you’re having a bad day. And for heaven’s sake don’t think for one nanosecond you’re any less of a human being. What you’ve just done makes you one of the strongest people I know. Everybody has a “flaw”. I learned my big brother, who I always thought to be damn close to invulnerable, is terrified of heights. Put him on the fortieth floor of an office building for a meeting of some sort and he’ll be in the chair closest to the door with his back to the view. I learned this only last year! For over *six* decades I never knew. I still can’t talk about my “flaw”. All I will say is I had it when I was a kid, and only two other kids **in the entire world** had it. I’m sad to report I’m the only person to survive past their very early teens. I can’t remember if I even told my wife. It doesn’t have a name. If my doctor told my parents what it was called they never told me and they’re both gone. All I know is I wish I never had it because it caused so much distress. Its been gone only fifty years last August. I created a cure. a drastic one, but it worked.

    So Ari, when you say you’re having a bad day I fully understand.

    1. Thank you kindly, Tom. It’s never easy to put our weaknesses and illnesses out for all to see, but I’ve been inspired by other blogs and even people on social media and know that if we want the stigma of mental illness to end, we need to keep shining a light on the different aspects and making people know they aren’t alone with what they feel.

      I can understand people don’t always want to discuss their issues. My father is also terrified of heights and it took him a while to admit it. I think we feel we will be judged because of things, and while we can be, we can also be supported 🙂

      I’m glad to hear you were able to create a cure for what you suffered, even if it was a drastic one. Take care

      1. I can write about it thanks to you. You gave me the courage to actually do it. It’s in my blog (It’s called The Flap about Flapping)now. Two other kids had it. The teasing they endured was too much for them and they committed suicide.

      2. I am so pleased you gained the courage to write about it, I will visit your blog today and find the post (apologies, I’ve not visited many blogs recently and I need to get around to viewing them).

        How saddening to hear that people struggled so much with conditions and then to be so mercilessly teased that they took their own lives. It is heartbreaking to hear that.

  17. I’m sorry to hear that you have been struggling. Like you, I had no idea about SAD until later in life. Finally, it all clicked and made sense. It feels good to blame your mood on the weather. This is not because I don’t want to accept responsibility, but because it’s easier for me to cope, knowing that things didn’t just change out of the blue.

    When I stepped outside in the morning a month or so ago and it was dark, I knew the season was upon us and a shiver ran down my spine. Fall is definitely something I have always dreaded. While we cannot do too much about it being darker in the mornings, or in the evenings, there are other ways to try and mitigate the effects. I moved to a place where the sunny days outnumber the cloudy ones. It’s SO helpful. When I feel SAD creeping up on me, I go outside and look at the blue sky and the sun.

    I’m happy to hear that you found some things that work for you. I think those are great. I never used a light box, but I thought about it. Doctors seem to strongly recommend it for sleep related disorders, too.

    1. Thank you kindly for your comment and your understanding. I’m sorry for the delay, after I posted this, I had some bad days and then didn’t want to visit my blog much. Yes!! That is how I felt, having that realisation that there WAS something that was causing it and it’s okay, it will pass (eventually) and that almost gives you a little control in a way.

      It sounds like you did the right thing with moving to a more sunny place and acknowledging when SAD creeps up. I am doing the same, making sure I’m outside and in the daylight every day, I sit close to my window and make sure the curtain is open the minute the daylight appears.

      I do recommend the light box, it takes some getting used to and I do suggest starting in small increments such as 10 mins once a day before working up to 30 mins twice a day. But it has been a big help.

      1. It’s very bright and when you start it can cause headaches and eye ache, so they recommend that you build up to using it for longer so that you get used to it.

        My partner tried to do 30mins immediately and had the worst headaches. Now he knows to start at smaller increments and build up 🙂

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