I’m S.A.D., The February Blues

Is it fair to say that February is literally the worst month of the year?  It starts off with a visit from a furry little rodent named Punxsutawney Phil reminding us that winter is still far from over whether he sees his damn shadow or not.  Also, despite the fact that February is actually a few days shorter than the average month, it still feels the longest, especially when we spend half of it bitching about how cold and dreary it is outside.  Sure the first couple of snow falls of the season can seem magical, but by February they are just downright frightful.  All they do is cause disruption and chaos in our lives, and lets not forget the same disruption and chaos it causes our poor, innocent fur babies too.

February is also met by the worst part of the cold and flu season, which has delightfully been making its way through our home recently, like we haven’t suffered enough already?  The temperature can fluctuate in any given week from -30c to +8c, sometimes within hours, making it nearly impossible to dress appropriately on any given day.  And who by February isn’t sick and tired of wearing oversized sweaters, weighted down boots, bulky coats and always sporting a permanent look of hat head?

Then before you know it, it’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day, which is nothing more than a commercialized holiday meant to celebrate love and romance.  Single people yearning for love are hastily reminded of their failed attempts while leisurely strolling the aisles of any large retail chain store, their local drugstore, the grocery store or the neighbourhood mall just wanting to buy a few household necessities, but instead are flooded with boxes of heart-shaped chocolates and adorable, cuddly teddy bears sporting a t-shirt that reads “Be My Valentine”.  The holiday can no doubt feel just as overwhelming for people who are in a committed and loving relationship, many of whom often miss the signals given to them by their significant other only to quickly turn their well-intended efforts into something out of a Stephen King novel.

Getting through February can seem tiresome, monotonous and somewhat tedious for many people waking up to another somber day.  I myself have never been a big fan of winter, it quite frankly has little to no redeeming qualities, except maybe as a child when you woke up for school and your parents told you “it’s a snow day!”, although now as a parent myself, that excitement somehow gets lost in translation.  If it weren’t for my adoration for what in my opinion is the greatest Country in the world, I’d of found a new place to live a long time ago where sunshine and warmth are more predictable twelve months a year.

For many seemingly healthy individuals, February can often prompt feelings of depression and anxiety, and for me it simply intensifies them.  These feelings are more prevalent than society is willing to recognize, however there is an actual clinical diagnosis for it.  ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ or more commonly known as ‘S.A.D.’ is a mood disorder whereby an individual within a normal mental health range may begin to exhibit symptoms of hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, loss of interest in regular activities, sleep and appetite problems and a lack of concentration.  To be considered S.A.D., a person generally shows signs of irregular mood patterns during the winter months which usually begin to lift once the seasons start to change.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is typically caused by environmental disturbances such as our decline in activity during the winter months, the decrease in sunlight, or daylight hours, and just trying to survive the cold weather.  A commonly used and often valuable treatment for S.A.D. or depression in general during these taxing months is Light Therapy.  Light Therapy is an artificial light box which exposes you to bright lights and emulates natural outdoor light which is thought to alter your brain chemicals associated with mood and sleep.

I have tried Light Therapy during several counselling sessions (by now there isn’t much I haven’t tried) and it can be quite soothing.  Suffering with depression and anxiety feels like a dark shadow is always encircling me, one that allows for little to no light to radiate through. This could be the reason why I am very uncomfortable in darkness and always need to be surrounded by lightness both day and night, especially during the dismal days of winter.  Light Therapy is definitely worth investigating further, and if not, I always have a backup plan, a simple alternative may be trying what millions of other species do every winter, find a warm bed and enter into hibernation.

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

2 thoughts on “I’m S.A.D., The February Blues”

  1. Winter months are definitely tough. I always have more energy in spring/summer. I try to force myself to get outside, but I don’t like being cold. My poor dog hasn’t gone for walks lately either because it’s been frightfully cold here.

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