By: Wengsi Chiu
It’s 7am. The alarm rings for school. It’s dark out and it’s cold in your room. What do you do? You get into the fetal position, rock back and forth, and mope. Or maybe that’s not you. But that’s pretty much a lot of teens (including me sometimes) from mid-October to December.
You get home from a great day at school but nothing’s feeling right. You try hard to remember what went wrong but can’t think of anything. Everything went great, even better than usual. You managed to sneak some last minute graphs into a math ISU, you passed that test you thought was a guaranteed fail, and you even got some free shampoo at Yonge and Eg on the way to school.
So why are you feeling so down?
It’s a simple three-letter answer. And no, it’s not PMS, but that comes pretty close. This once a year depression is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Un-ironically, it spells SAD, and it can last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks depending on the person. Its less severe condition is known as the “winter blues,” though it generally occurs during fall. Not everyone who has it is aware of it, but it affects several teens.
Besides answering the obvious question of what’s with the constant mood swings?, this condition answers many other questions such as why are my thighs flabbier than usual? or how can I be failing data? Well, some symptoms of SAD include a change in appetite (a craving for sweet or starchy foods), weight gain, decreased energy, tendency to oversleep, difficulty concentrating, irritability, avoidance of social situations, and anxiety and despair.
So be understanding if your friend’s been acting like a bitch lately, if they’ve been eating your food, and don’t laugh at their minor weight gain. All that will only last for a short time. If you are the friend, then stop sulking and clearing refrigerators. You’ve got some major issues and need serious help. (But not actually… This stuff happens to everyone.)
Unfortunately, hibernation is not a solution. You could try turning to “light therapy” where you sit beside a special fluorescent light box everyday (but then you’ve got other major issues to deal with). Or you can just fight it out for the few weeks you have it. Go out more with friends, monitor your diet, and get some exercise into your day.
Just know that you’re not alone and this miserable feeling will soon pass. Guidance is always open for a nice talk. If not, then a nice, long shower with that free shampoo will surely cheer you up.