Blame It On The Weather. No, Seriously, Blame It On The Weather #depression

Hey Hey Guys!!

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Depression is something that can change like the weather. Think I’m joking?

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a genuine illness. Not gonna lie, I’m not an expert, so I’m not sure if you would class it as a mental illness or a mood disorder, but it is classified as a varied form of depression.

So what actually is it. Well, the NHS UK website says this:

Sunlight can affect some of the brain’s chemicals and hormones. However, it’s not clear what this effect is. One theory is that light stimulates a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls mood, appetite and sleep. These things can affect how you feel.

In people with SAD, a lack of sunlight and a problem with certain brain chemicals stops the hypothalamus working properly. The lack of light is thought to affect the:

  • production of the hormone melatonin

  • production of the hormone serotonin

  • body’s circadian rhythm (its internal clock, which regulates several biological processes during a 24-hour period)

It affects an estimated 2 million people in the UK, commonly affecting people between the ages of 18-30 and, like other forms of depression, is more common in women than in men. There is a lot of skepticism surrounding the condition, mainly because it can be difficult to understand how someone can feel depressed simply because of the weather. It’s one thing to say that you change your mind like the wind, another to say that you can’t face getting out of bed because it’s raining.

Symptoms include lethargy, insomnia, poor concentration, negative thoughts and mood, unwillingness to socialise, decreased libido and weight gain.

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This is what 12 million people across Europe are facing. Again, I’m not an expert, but as a sufferer, there are a few words I can impart on the subject.

There are days when the thought of having to choose one pair of socks over another seems like an insurmountable problem. Can you imagine the implications of going outside when it is anything less than radiant out there? As if were not bad enough that the world already seems like one of the blackest corners of hell; what if it’s raining as well!? The fact that the weather reflects damp, cold in your soul, preventing you from feeling the glow of all the good things in around you is just confirmation to the depressed side of your brain that there is nothing good out there to admire. That everything really is as horrible and out to get you as you suspect.

But if the sun is out…

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I’m a total fire baby. I was predisposed, being a Leo (m’on the August-born troops!!) and if it is anything short of swelteringly roasty toasty, then I am inconsolably miserable. I’m talking, in tears, shaking, terrified of even the slightest baby’s breath of a draft. Lemme put this into context for you; I was in Ibiza during a heatwave and wore a cardigan. Yeah. So the fact that I live in BLOODY SCOTLAND, one of the coldest places South of the Arctic, is a hellish situation to be in. I don’t think people realise quite how many layers I wear on a daily basis. Maybe it’s a useful thing that I’m so skinny; all those layers don’t look so thick on a skelatal frame.

The past few days we have been experiencing a random heat wave and I know several people with varying forms of depression and anxiety who have (seemingly inexplicably) seen a lift in their mood. I swear, Blame It On the Weather! Being in the sun can literally feel like bands are being removed from your chest and you can breathe and in hail the sweet scent of real oxygen. Not just tolerate the stale air you’ve tasted recently.

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However you want to call it, Sunny Side Up, Everything’s Better on the Other Side, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Mr Sunshine, Light of My Life, Build Me Up Buttercup, Mr Golden Sun; attribute any cheesy song lyric you like, the summary is still the same – EVERYTHING IS BETTER IN THE GODDAMN SUNSHINE!!!!!

The irritating thing, is that it has not been sunny all day. It comes and goes. The problem with this is that my mood has been going up and down as well. Literally, the sun being out one minute means I’m relatively happy, not too bad, occasionally I’ll giggle. Then it goes behind a cloud. Maybe there is a smattering of rain. And suddenly that cloud burst seems more like hell is spitting like icy shards of glass at me, determined to extinguish that ember of happiness fighting to burn hot enough to light so much as a candle. It’s exhausting.

Here is a link to treatment advice on SAD as well as some lovely handy dandy websites for mental health issues. Seriously, i have used some of them and even the info you can get online these days isn’t half bad.

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Remember though; the sun can be thought of in the same was as those middle aged women/students think of booze – if it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, it’s mid day somewhere else! The sun is always up somewhere, even if it isn’t where you are. If you are a sufferer of depression or SAD, do the daytime version of what Oscar Wilde liked to do; instead of looking at the stars, look to the sky. See the sun, love the light, feel the glow.

Mind.org

NHS treatment of SAD

Samaritans

SSDD

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The Winds Of Change Smell Like Barcelona, Ottowa and Glasgow

The Winds Of Change

The winds of change are getting me all a tither.

The re-start of Uni is fast approaching (literally 2 weeks!!) and it has only just occurred to me that at long last things may be beginning to change in a very interesting direction for me. Instead of the stagnation I’ve been tolerating in certain aspects of my life of late it seems things are gonna be hotting up in terms of my education.

1185197_10151811904576480_934853721_n (1)I’ve never ventured to Barcelona but a couple of my friends are taking a few months there as part of an exchange for our Uni course. A couple more are already attending classes in Canada  (follow her here!!!!!). Things like, studies of Sex and Equality or something else awesome, which, for my pal who is a bisexual feminist, is the exact most interesting thing in the world for her!

 

What’s That I Sense?

Exciting things are potentially floating on the winds that are heading towards us. The thing is, I’m a little bit nervous. I’ve spent such a long time knowing this is coming and yet now that it’s finally here… There is doubt in me that I can pull it off.

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Sure, I’m well aware that there’s no point in comparing your life with anyone else’s, so I’m not going to. I’m comparing it to my own life so far. It feels like there has been this great chasm of flux for the past few months, one that grew out of the dark hole of hell and change that came before it. It was a period of relative calm for me to regain a bit of the control I lost and learn how to deal with it.

Yet while I’ve been doing that, my peers have been moving on to bigger and better things – literally! Granted, I was not ready for such drastic continental shifts, though I did move house, I guess, technically (if you could call it that), but as far as selfactualisation goes, I haven’t really been in any position to achieve it to the same standards as my friends. And that frustrates me.

Moving On

I guess this is a little bit of catharsis. Or perhaps a touch of narcissism. Examining one’s own faults is never something we find easy as people and yet we relentlessly punish ourselves with a constant practice of it. One persons success suddenly takes on another meaning and becomes a reflection of your own inadequacy. As pleased as you are for their success, as enthused and elated and over-joyed and excited as you are to hear that someone you care about is happy and satisfied by a job well done, there may always be that little niggle of jealousy, or perhaps disappointment, that your own triumphs seem to somewhat pale in comparison.

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But now that may be about to change. I am embarking on a leg of my own journey that I have long been (re)preparing for and I think the only problem is that I’m nervous I won’t meet the bar my friends have unwittingly set.

That and the fact that the Uni computer system won’t let me bloody register yet!

SSDD

Take A Break From Your Head

Your Own Head Is Often Crowded

Exhausted by the mental whirlygig of everyday trials and tribulations? Sick of being slowly blinkered by a life that seems perennial and resolute in its mission to blacken your soul? Exasperated by perpetually cheery co-workers who just don’t get that no, the sun does not always shine out of the worlds every orifice, especially when said world hasn’t gifted you with a day off in… EVER!

If one particular co-worker seems to spend an inordinate amount of time in the stationary closet, they are probably doing the nasty with another suspiciously cheery co-worker. Anything to pass the eternity between those ever elusive holidays…

Taking a break can alter you in ways you never realised it could. Holidays can be more than just a physical break from location so much as a mental relocation.

So Take A Break

Fresh surroundings can do wonders for the mind and the mood. I think it’s something to do with the complete break from routine. You can try to keep as much to your own ways as possible but there’s no avoiding the fact that a new place is just bigger than you. It is more set in it’s permanence and you, as a foreign entity intruding on it’s turf, have no leverage in trying to meld it around yourself.

That’s why we go on holiday, really. To be forced into a situation that is outwith our control, somewhere that has it’s whole own set of rules and pre-ordained regulations. We can take a break from the humdrum normality of our own lives and be dropped into some other cats alley.

A break from being yourself can be just what the doctor ordered, but the question is, where will provide such a release…

Stay tunes to find my confusingly blissful oblivion… 🙂

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SSDD

Weekly Writing Challenge: Never Underestimate the Price of Silence

We should never underestimate the price of silence. Silence is by nature, empty. It is the very most basic, expressionless, non-existent thing known to man.

Or is it??

They say that there is no sound in space, because there is nothing there for the molecules to bounce off of and create the noises that our ears pick up; but rather than making that the most gaping and vacant, miserable expanse of nothingness, I rather think that might make it the most peaceful place I could ever imagine being.

It took Hollywood directors so much effort to find a place of complete silence, that they often refuse to re-create it for each film. That’s right; they buy it from the guy who “recorded” it, sometimes paying thousands for a 30 second clip. Never has there been such a perfect capturing of utter quiet on earth – without totally removing sound, that is.

Because the world in complete mute is unearthly. People do not like to feel that they are alone. Even the sound of your own breathing is enough to make a person feel that there is enough life left that hope still exists.

And yet, achieving the stillness, the motionless existence, the utter suspension of all things around you that make up what in each individuals eye constitutes the correct level of “silence”, is obscenely difficult.

For NASA, nothing less than that place so deep within the heart of SPACE, is silent enough. For Hollywood, there is no more natural nor inimitable a silence than the one found in the desert.

For myself, the perfect silence comes when I am alone in my house. The only sounds are the ones I make. There are no voiced, in this silent domain of mine. There might be the ratt-a-tatt-tat of my fingers as they tap out something like this, or perhaps something for Uni, or a message to a friend. More often, there might be the crisp swish, as a page in a book is turned, a crackle, as the page falls into place on top of its predecessor. There are no voices, in my silence, nor snores, nor televisions blaring nonsense at me.

We all find pockets of solace in different ways. But in order to achieve such peace, one might have to battle long and tragically hard to win over the domain that is; the comfiest seat in the house.

We should never underestimate the price of silence.

SSDD