I can almost set my clock by it. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a sneaky illness, at least in my experience. I’ve had this leafy, dark cloak in my closet for about seven years now. It comes out only from about mid-October and gets shoved away at the end of February, and weighs heavily on my back.
As I’ve got older, the intensity of my symptoms has increased. I’m still without a diagnosis, but I feel I haven’t got the energy I need to fight to prove that there is a real pattern to having depression as the weather deteriorates into dark mornings and dark nights that seem to be endless, with rain falling and sunlight in scarce supply.
2020 is the first year I have really spoken this openly about my depression, as previously I was afraid to mention having my mental health affected by the seasons changing, that others just think it would be an excuse for being grumpy, or in ‘one of those moods’.
To finally stop all the self-stigmatising, to stop all of the behaviour that must look really odd to my work colleagues and friends, like making a strange excuse to rush outside for some precious vitamin D in a freezing wind with a winter sun.
It isn’t only the feeling low in mood, it’s having a short fuse, sleeping problems, it’s the feeling of ‘do I really have to face the day again?’ on some mornings, opening the curtains to dark grey skies and heavy rain with an instant inner sigh. It’s the lacking in motivation, the knowing that no matter what you say, someone won’t ‘get’ it and will somehow find it funny or wind you up. It’s happened too many times where I’ve snapped at someone and instantly regretted it, or burst into tears over a single comment.
So I took a pledge to do something with my depression and anxiety. And my first step was to help a mental health startup called Mind Health AI to develop an artificial intelligent therapist that would be able to diagnose mental health conditions. I shared my experience with the founders of Mind Health AI and advised them on how to develop a platform that can help you improve your mood and make you feel better.
If you want to check their platform, here is the link:
There are things that I have found incredibly helpful though. Medication, though it doesn’t work for everyone, including vitamin D supplements, really helps maintain my mood at a manageable level. The things that worked for me is finding inner peace with myself and others around me. I started doing meditation, believe it or not VR also helped me a lot. So, that’s my story and I thought it’s my duty to share it with others and raise awareness.