Students Cope With Seasonal Depression

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Depression can feel like the world around you is very gloomy with little color.

Amanda Stahl, Reporter

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and woodland creatures are coming out to play.  But while springtime seems hyper-cheerful, not everyone’s emotions follow suit. For me people, the spring season can be especially tough, and sadly, research from the Suicide Prevention Hotline shows that depression rates tend to spike in the spring.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a subtype of bipolar depression or clinical depression that is intricately linked to the changing seasons. It typically occurs at the same time every year — starting during fall and then progressing into the winter months. The season that has been known to be the worst for seasonal depression starts around the beginning of March going through May.

Some people experience a mood change during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. Suicide rates spike in the spring and to a lesser extent in the fall, not around the holidays as everyone suspects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All around the country, people who struggle with depression are finding ways to reduce the emotions by distracting themselves with activities.

“As spring comes around, I expect an extra pep in my step; however, usually my depression takes a toll on my performance and ability to function. To get past these bumps in the road, I like to get out more and keep active. I join sports, hang out with friends more and do spring cleaning. By doing these things, I give myself the ability to crawl out of the pit of depression that seasonally comes around and is a refresher and makes me feel active in the upcoming warmer months. Not only does this help get me out of bed, but it also helps with my participation in school, in work and it keeps me motivated,” Lexie Newman, a junior said.

By definition, depression is the feelings of severe despondency and dejection. Symptoms of depression may appear through mood changes, a change in sleeping patterns, loss of appetite, lack of concentration, weight loss/weight gain, and suicidal thoughts. If you are noticing these symptoms in a friend, family member, or yourself, talk to your doctor about actions to take. For students,  counselors are provided.

Ways to reduce symptoms of depression are to reach out and stay connected to supportive people, do things that make you feel good—even when you don’t feel like it, move vigorously during the day—don’t sit for more than an hour, learn about the mood-boosting benefits of omega-3 fats, get a daily dose of sunlight, and challenge negative thinking.

“Staying in the moment by planning ahead. It sounds crazy, but if you always have something to look forward to, being stuck in a seasonal depression is difficult. The waves will come yes, but if you’re always planning for something new, working on something new, painting, drawing, singing, writing, whatever fuels you. It’s much harder to fall into the seasonal depression when your mind is distracted with the things that bring you joy,” McKenna Raasch, a sophomore says.