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December 23, 2013

Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD. [wikipedia]

also known as winter depression, winter blues […] or seasonal depression, was considered a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter […]

I’ve known for years the difference in how happy I am during the warm nice summer, short as it is in Sweden, and the slightly more introvert and quiet me during the long dark winter months. It’s been part of my personality for as long as I can remember, and I guess I never gave it much thought.

Until a few years ago. Thanks to people close to me I realised that this didn’t just affect me – it affected them as well. I even found myself having made some very bad life choices at times that seems to have been a direct result of a very negative outlook of the future – and they all correlated with late autumn/winter.

Now I’m a person of a very positive mindset and consider everything that happens in life to be part of the experiences that make up who I am. However, having understood the way my SAD – because that’s what it is – caused negativity around me I decided to take action. I had learned to live with it, to hibernate through the winter, but that’s no reason to force the same upon others.

Since two months back I’m on so-called anti depressants, SSRIs. And besides the quite interesting swings between ecstasy and utter boredom that are known side effects at the start of the treatment, I’ve now gotten myself back even though we just hit the darkest part of the year.

Almost 10% of the population in Sweden suffer from SAD to some extent. The number is easily verified by just going through the Facebook updates by friends of mine – yet I almost never see anyone talking about it, or getting treatment.

I’m a migraine basket case. When I suffer from a migraine attack I become a horrible person – extremely irritable. Luckily I’ve found medication that works and I wouldn’t consider for a second not taking it when I’m in the situation of others having to interact with me.

I posit there’s no sane reason for thinking about SAD medication differently. Besides the social stigma of yesteryear where “sickness of the mind” was something to be ashamed of – of course – but we’re a lot more enlightened than that today.

Aren’t we?

Oh and btw – if SSRIs happen to contribute to increased neurogenesis and synaptogenesis I’ll likely continue taking them all year round ;)

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