Do i suffer from seasonal depression?

Hey so i recently just spoke out about my mums acohol abuse and as much as one can try to be strong for those kind of situations there are fallbacks. I live in South Africa and I find myself getting more sad and feeling very depressed around December all the way through to February which is Summer here. But then come all winter and spring im usually in higher spirirts even when i think about the most painful things. I havnt gone to a phsyc because finding one you believe you can trust is hard and maybe im a bit terrified of being told im looney but does anyone have anything to say about this?

Depends if you live above the equator or below the equator. If you look at a map of the world you'll notice most of the land is above the equator (which is probably why most maps are oriented with North upwards).


In the northern hemisphere the short dark days of Fall and Winter are around December, and the long sunny days of Spring and Summer are around July.


In the southern hemisphere this is reversed, with the short dark days in July, and the long sunny days in December.


People who live near the equator don't have as much variation in the length of their days.


Seasonal Affective Disorder people tend to get depressed during the dark season when they don't get much sunlight. One remedy is to get a special lamp that simulates the sun and basically sit in front of it for a good long time every day during the dark months, to trick your brain into thinking it's still long sunny days.


Though I know someone with S.A.D. and she didn't have enough patience to sit in front of a lamp for an hour each morning. She gets the medication that works better for her anyway. (Quite well.)


Sorry about your mom's alcoholism. Most people become alcoholics because they want to escape a painful life. It initially works, but it always, always ends up being an even bigger problem in itself. If you can identify the source of their pain, that might help. The thing that seems to help best is to get them into a small support group of others who accept her as she is, usually a group of other alcoholics who want to recover, because no one understands an alcoholic better than another alcoholic. A small group of about 10 people, 6 to 10 people is the optimum size, above 10 the dynamics of the group begins to change, and instead of feeling a part of a small group, you start to feel alone in a crowd. Go to those meetings and basically it doesn't matter what you talk about, as long as you feel accepted by the other people in the group. That's how they end up healing each other.


And there are Al-Anon groups for people like you, people who are affected by someone else's alcoholism. It's basically the same thing, a group of 6-10 people who have something in common: an alcoholic in their family. First just having a group you can go to once a week, or however often you want to go, gives you a brief period of taking a break from life and just be with others in a relaxed atmosphere. The other people get to know you and accept you, and you get to know them and accept them, and you just feel better after spending an hour with them. 


Best wishes.

Nope. You may experience situational depression, but SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) occurs when people are exposed to prolonged darkness, like people who live in Northern Alaska where they have darkness 24/7 for weeks on end. The lack of sunlight changes the stimulation of the pineal gland (which regulates sleep cycles) and it, by extention, would also impact the normal flux of serotonin (the happy hormone); together, this causes a hormone imbalance leading to depression.


In your scenario, you feel sad during summer months and more emotionally stable in winter months. There is no reason that your seasons would lead to a hormone imbalance, not to mention that South Africa, while at a low latitude, is nowhere CLOSE to being far enough south to experience the polar night that causes SAD. 


That being said, it is much more likely that you have a normal stress response to your life. I'm not even going to suggest that you have depression, because it doesn't sound like you do. Getting sad at times and getting stressed out is part of life. With summer months come a lot of family events and holidays that may be much harder for you to deal with because it's hard to ignore your family drama at Christmas than it is during your winter months, where you are farther removed from it.


Also, experiencing depression or even just prolonged sadness doesn't make you "looney."  


Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment