Holy molies, beam me up and put me back down in South-East Asia. Never mind The Jungle, Get Me the Fuck Out Of England in the Winter!
Did you know, it’s estimated that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects about 2 million people in the UK, and more than 12 million people across Northern Europe. Like other types of depression, SAD is more common in women than in men, with up to three times more women than men affected. Bloody typical.
The symptoms of SAD are most likely to develop in people aged 18 to 30. The exact cause of SAD isn’t fully understood, but it’s thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year. You know the feeling, wake up it’s dark, finish work it’s dark. Yuk, is my professional opinion, big fat Yuk. I need sunshine! Don’t you?
Getting of of bed can be such a chore, you’re tearful and indecisive. It’s difficult to concentrate and you feel lethargic. You’re eating enough for a small village and your gym keeps emailing to say how much they miss you. Even if Jennifer Lawrence or Ryan Gosling were stood naked in front of you, you just couldn’t. For many people, SAD can be difficult to live with and it can have a significant effect on day-to-day life, and their fantasy sex life.
Most of the time I can embrace being a singleton but during those dark, rainy, bleak days when you’re all alone, it bothers me somewhat quite frankly. Never mind the Alsations Bridget, I might actually eat myself to put out the misery. Apparently Tinder does not cater for “Can we just snuggle on the sofa watching Midsomer Murders, please”. No, I do not want you to train me as your new submissive. No, I do not want to join your experimental threesome. On your bike Mr Grey. Take a hike Mr & Mrs Smith. Sorry chaps, nowadays this chick is all about the bed socks, hot chocolate and Lakelands. (seriously, have you got their Spider Vac? Life-saver!) I think I am actually starting to smell of mothballs and occasionally I pick up my phone to brush my hair. So yeah, being single and SAD sucks even more.
There’s a whole load of cool Sciencey stuff about SAD but surely what is most important is, how the hell do we fix it. Emigration I hear you cry. No, have you seen the size of those forms? Try these instead, far more time & cost effective:
Go! Make the most of every titchy tiny ray of light we have during these winter months.
Erm, bit of a no brainer here but nonetheless worth mentioning. Maybe wear a subtle sign, “Team SAD: Fuck off and leave us alone.”
Exercise & Eat Well
Yes Chubbs, put down that chocolate cake, it ain’t gonna help. Go green and stock up on all those yummy veg. You know the score: Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Yay! Taxi!
Take a holiday.
After a month away I fully advocate this treatment.
Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl this year. Please pick me up on your sleigh and drop me off in the Caribbean. Yours, Miss Helene-Claire
Buy a light box
Using a light box has been found to be an effective treatment for SAD, as it increases your exposure to light during the winter months. Light boxes are at least ten times the intensity of household lights. They are available in different strengths and sizes – for SAD, a strength of at least 2,500 lux is recommended.
I have never tried one but I’m seriously considering investing in one if Santa stands me up.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that SAD should be treated in the same way as other types of depression. This includes using talking treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or medication such as antidepressants.
Light therapy is also a popular treatment for SAD. However, there’s no strong evidence to support the long-term benefits of using light therapy to treat the condition, although research does suggest that it may have a positive short-term effect.
For further information on SAD and other Mental Health conditions Mind are a great source of info.
As always please, please consult your doctor if you are feeling particularly low. And remember, you are not alone.