S.A.D seems to get more intense winter by winter

Hello.

I am a 47 year old male and have battled general depression for 20 years but these last few years I have noticed that I am very affected by the lack of natural sunlight in the winter months.

Things are now different as I now have got myself a job after 19 years of being unemployed, which has been a great help not only to my depression but my life in general. It has given me the confidence to talk with my GP about coming off my antidepressants this year as when I'm at work I feel so good and full of life.

BUT suddenly last November I seem to crash, everything seemed like 30 times the effort, I was making a lot of careless mistakes at work because my concentration is affected and away from work all I want to do is sleep in bed. I regularly use light therapy but it only just about gives me the energy and brain stimulants I need to get by at work, which sometimes involves me getting up at 5am, in the cold and dark - and it's still both a good hour and a half into my shift. I tend to be better on colder less cloudy days as the sunrise and sunset is not impeded by cloud. I am quite unaffected by cold and negative temperatures...it's purely light.

How do other people cope holding down employment that in the non-winter months they would otherwise enjoy and give their all effortlessly - whilst doing battle with SAD?

Thank you,

David, Midlands, United Kingdom

6 Replies

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  • Hi David,

    Sorry to read you're struggling with depression and SAD.

    Pleased to read you're using light therapy and wonder whether you have thought of embarking on some psychotherapy to support you as you come off your anti-depressants.Quite often it is really helpful to get to the route of the reason you are taking meds to cope with mood levels.

    It might also help to have an appointment with an aromatherapist who may suggest some essential oils to help life you mood.

  • Hello Ida's Mum and many thanks for your reply.

    I have found January to be a more difficult time than the Winter Solstice before Christmas as everything seems so bleak and depressing once the lights get switched off and decorations come down. I try to look at the weather app and see how the days are drawing out, at the moment in mid January it is a minute in the morning and a minute and a half in the evening. That will speed up in February as we work towards the Spring Equinox on 23rd March, after which there will be more light hours than dark.

    February is the month that I begin to perk up as you really begin to notice the mornings getting lighter then, so I'll look forward to seeing dawn break driving into work and waiting outside for the boss to arrive instead of pitch blackness which really makes me want to go straight back to bed and slows down my metabolism, and reactions.

    I really don't know why the seasons 'bother' me at this stage in life, as a child I thought nothing of it, and in my 20s getting up for work in the dark was no real difference to getting up in June.

    I want to come off myADs in the spring as I believe I've been on them for so long I've become tolerant to them and their effects are null.

    I have had all the counselling and psychotherapythat the NHS can offer but I may have to go down the paid for route just so I can understand why I feel like this. I've also read theories that as humans we have some sort of hibernation instinct that reacts with the waning levels of natural light and cold in the winter, but I can't help thinking that this is as much a Daily Mailish scare story for SAD sufferers as it may be true!

    I've also tried to learn a musical instrument but I find my concentration is impeded by my condition, so it gets me nowhere.

    D.

  • Hi David

    Please look up Human Givens and perhaps look for a HG therapist who lives in your area. A therapist would be able to lift you out of your depression in 4-6 sessions. I am a nurse of 30 years and suffered with PTSD (ex army) and was treated in just 4 sessions ... and am now training to be a HG therapist!

    You have done brilliantly - applying for a job, going through the interview process and now working after being out of work for so long .... amazing!

    I wish you well, take care

    Deb's x

  • David have you a SAD light that you could have on your desk at work and leave it on to see if that helps?

  • I do have an SAD light but such is the nature of my work I cannot take it with me. Work is actually okay in terms of ambience, it is clean and tidy, the walls are all white and it is a constant 20 degrees - and there are no windows. It is when I'm at home and having to get up at 0500 in the darkness or away from work when I notice things which makes me feel sluggish. Maybe the root of my problem is that I consider and think about things too much.

    I've found a very unusual method of combating the winter blues, listening to Reggae music!

  • This is screaming out to me with the words get your vitamin D levels checked and up into decent numbers.

    Seasonally your levels will plumet as the dark nights go by you're working indoors.

    Vitsmin D plays a big part in seasonal mood changes.

    A private finger prick test is less than £40 from somewhere like Medichecks if the doctor won't test it.

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