Why are you so SAD?

Why are you so SAD? Is it because it’s fucking winter and that sucks? What even is SAD? Is it actually real?

What is SAD?

It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder and it affects about 3 in 100 people in the UK. The symptoms generally start to show themselves when you are in your 20s or 30s but children can suffer from SAD too. It normally happens in the Winter but it can show itself in any season, depending on the person.
Women are four times more likely to be affected by this than men but believe me it can also take its toll on the fellas too. The main difference in how these stats are taken is more than likely due to men not speaking about their symptoms. For me, it’s always the same. I hate winter and it has really affected me more in the last 4 years.
This is just one of many disorders that can affect mental health and it is one of the least talked about! The risk is known to decrease with age but here I am at 45 and no signs of slowing down. But, why have I started to be more affected by it in recent years?

Depression leads to depression

If you suffer from depression then other disorders can start to become worse. It’s like a snowball effect where problems just get bigger the longer you let them roll. If you stand up and start to talk about things then a resolution can be found. Sadly, not enough men are talking about their depression. It’s why Instagram groups like Mental BSG are becoming more important. They are a safe place for men to share their problems without feeling judged.
If you feel like you have nowhere to go then please join one of these amazing groups where men, just like you, know how it feels. After all, if we don’t talk and we keep things bottled up, that’s when things can go very bad.

Why am I affected?

For me personally I think it’s because when depression first hit me, like a Mike Tyson uppercut, it was Autumn. Autumn as we know leads on to Winter and I have never been a fan of the cold. I am a summer child, born in May, I live for the summer months and the sunshine. I guess I had SAD for a lot longer but it only really showed itself in later life.
There’s definitely a bit of association going on where it gets to this time of year and I start to close up. Not because I’m afraid to talk, but because I want to try and control it myself. I have reached a point where this can be possible but it is never easy.
Bring me the sun, I yearn for it and my dream is to live in a hot country. Spain is the obvious choice but there are plenty of other hot countries available! Maybe when I retire. Until then I have to find a way to get around this.

Christmas is joyous

Christmas is a good thing that keeps me going for a while. I love the festive atmosphere, the music and the decorations. The Christmas jumpers, the family getting together and the food. Man, all the food!! Unfortunately, once Christmas is gone, January rears its ugly head with a big fuck you.
January is the worst month for people who suffer with SAD. It really hits home as all Christmas shenanigans are done, the New Year has started and the weather is shit. I hate January and to some extent February as well.
March starts to bring a better outlook as Spring takes over and life looks a little bit better. I didn’t realise how low I could feel just because of the weather, but what is it that causes SAD?

The cause and the effects

SAD is generally caused by a change in the seasons. What happens when Autumn is in full swing? There is less light and when the clocks go back it gets even worse. This is what is thought to be the actual cause of this disorder.  It makes sense as you can become disorientated by the lack of sun and your mood becomes worse. The symptoms for it are similar to depression but don’t always last throughout the year.
Some of these symptoms are

  • feeling low and losing interest in your usual activities
  • feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • having low energy levels
  • finding it difficult to wake up in the morning
  • feeling less sociable
  • sleeping more than usual

and many more. As you can see a lot of these symptoms are what you have when you suffer from depression. When you have SAD it can be only at the specific time of year. When you have both it can be a little more complicated.

Getting help

As I mentioned before, there are groups you can join where you can discuss your mental health issues freely and without any judgement. You can also get help by speaking to your GP. The Samaritans are another source of help and you can call them on 116 123 or visit their website www.samaritans.org. There is www.mind.org.uk that you can visit for support and many more.
One thing you need to remember is you are not alone. There are other people who are feeling the same as you and you can reach out to them and others for help. As men we need to come together and support each other, without judgement or criticism. Being a man doesn’t mean we have to be strong all the time.
If you are needing an ear to listen to you then don’t hesitate to message me on Instagram @the.beardedbrit or email me at tony@thebeardedbrit.com. 
That’s your lot for today, thanks for reading Why are you so SAD? Check out my last blog Beard On 21. Don’t forget to check back here on Thursday for my next review!
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