10 Signs You Might Have Seasonal Affective Disorder

Here in the northeast, we are angry, we are bitter, we are tired and we are sick. And frankly, we are sick and tired of being bitter and angry. On Instagram, there is a hashtag #f%$@thiswinter and while I find that mildly disturbing, it actually made me feel good to see a picture of a bloody snowman being stabbed with a sword.

Even, people who claim to love the winter are starting to lose it. When you live in the tristate area, part of the reason you love the winter is so you can play in the snow once or twice and look forward to the beautiful rebirth of spring. We had more than our fair share of snow and ice — even the kids are done with snowball fights — and spring is starting to look like last year’s winter. I am so exhausted I’ve done two pregnancy tests because other than when I had mono, it is the only other time I’ve felt this kind of fatigue. (Both were negative or I’d be writing this from an asylum.) I’ve considered a slew of chronic illnesses, but with my main symptoms being extreme moodiness and lack of patience, I think I may be SAD, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.

How can you tell if you have SAD, for which there are treatments or therapies, or you are just really sick of being cooped up with your kids?

– SAD usually starts in the late fall with symptoms not clearing until spring or summer (check)

Symptoms include:
1. Depression
2. Hopelessness
3. Anxiety
4. Decreased libido
5. Oversleeping and fatigue
6. Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
7. Social withdrawal
8. Changes in your appetite
9. Weight gain
10. Difficulty concentrating

Uh oh! Depending on the day, I’m at least 5 for 10. In addition, women experience SAD more frequently than men, but men may have more severe symptoms. So … should I write myself a prescription?

When should you see your doctor?
– if your symptoms become severe, interfering with your daily activities and/or work
– if you are self-medicating with alcohol or drugs
– if your sleeping or eating patterns have changed
– if you are feeling hopeless or suicidal
– if you just can’t take it anymore

For more on Seasonal Affective Disorder, diagnosis and treatment, check out the Mayo Clinic’s website. 

A true diagnosis of SAD requires two years of symptoms. Take note of how you are feeling now and how you are feeling 4-6 weeks from now. If you currently have many of the above symptoms and they clear before summer, pay attention come autumn. If, as the days shorten, so does your love of life, you should take action before you suffer through another season of SAD. Speak with your doctor, there are treatments available.


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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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