It’s that time of year once again. Sweater weather, eggnog on the shelves of the grocery stores, Thanksgiving and Christmas break right around the corner, midterms, final exams and – seasonal depression?
Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is very common around this time of year, especially among students. According to MentalHealthAmerica.org, the main age of onset seasonal depression is between the ages of 20-30 years old and about 5% of the population have the disorder.
The questions students need to ask are “Am I depressed or seasonally depressed?”, “Do I even know the difference between the two?”, “Have I talked about it with someone?”. “Will I talk about it?” Some Florida A&M University students know the difference and had a lot of information to share about their personal encounter with the disorder, feeling that no one should suffer alone.
“Seasonal depression looks like being unmotivated, tired, not taking care of yourself, shutting yourself off from other people, and being anxious about small things,” Raquel Permaul, a senior business administration student said. “It happens when the seasons are changing, and you feel down or moody when the seasons change.”
Regardless of one’s depression being seasonal or not, there is a way out and no one should have to suffer in silence. There are various resources such as the free therapists that FAMU offers on campus. Spreading awareness about the disorder is important and is in our hands.
Permaulstrongly believes in the importance of spreading awareness. “I think it’s imperative to discuss seasonal depression and depression in general, so people don’t feel so alone in the struggle,” Permaul said. “If people spread more awareness about it, they wouldn’t feel like they’re alone and others would understand the symptoms.”
Tamia Dorsey, a senior English student feels the same way about sharing knowledge and resources about the disorder.
“It is imperative to spread awareness of seasonal depression,” Dorsey said. “Many people dismiss it and or don’t recognize they suffer from it because seasonal depression has been desensitized.”
Dorsey reflected on what her seasonal depression looks like and what she does to alleviate the disorder, saying “I would begin to delve into past holiday trauma, this is better known as regression. But when we work through those repressed feelings and alter the effects of the experience, I’ve been able to counteract my seasonal depression greatly.”
Dorsey also said she indulges in self-love practices.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, millions of Americans may suffer from SAD and that itoccurs much more often in women than in men.
“People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter,” The National Institute of Mental Health said. “In some cases, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities.”
On the National Institute of Mental Health page, they recommend seeking “talk therapy.” So, let’s talk it out Rattlers. If you’re feeling hopeless, unmotivated, or just not yourself in this season, please talk it out with a friend, teacher or therapist.