Singing the winter blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder

During my presentation for Women’s Programming at Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, I touched on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). With the shorter days in full swing, I want to dive a little deeper and share how it affects me and what I am doing to hopefully slay it this year.

I saw my doctor recently to be proactive and to come up with an action plan. During the winter months, I commonly have less energy, difficulty concentrating, and an overall lack of desire to be productive. I don’t know if my depression gets worse necessarily but I definitely feel an overall downturn in motivation.

I wake up when it is dark and I leave work when it is dark and the lack of sunlight takes a toll on me mentally. I sat at my dining room table yesterday at 5:40 PM and the lake in my community that is usually in plain view from my table had disappeared into darkness. Dinner was still to be eaten, and yet it felt like the day should be done.

At one time in my life, I would have just suffered through the cold and sunless months. But not now. I refuse to let SAD just sort itself out or to just let it pass through time. I ordered a light-therapy lamp which should arrive on Monday and I have been taking vitamin D daily since visiting my doctor.

My doctor has also given me approval to increase my antidepressant medication dose if I feel it will help; however, I will need to have an EKG to monitor my heart as well as stay on the increased dose for at least six months. If I do increase my dose, I will be on the highest prescribed dose for Citalopram and possible side affects can include irregular heartbeat.

I have always enjoyed being outside in the winter so it’s not as if I want to hibernate away from the cold and snow. I love walking through the frosted prairie landscape with my dog, hiking in the Canadian Shield, and jigging my fishing rod into a hole drilled into frozen ice. I definitely try to live it up in the winter to get the most out of it.



But…it is the short sunlit days that get to me and my energy is zapped. I am hoping that with the addition of daily vitiman D and a light-therapy lamp that SAD is a little more happy this winter.

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