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Depression as a condition is indiscriminate. It reaches across demographics, affecting people of varying ages and backgrounds. For many, it can occur during the colder, darker months of winter in the form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Unfortunately, depressive feelings can cause suicidal thoughts. It’s important not to overlook changes in mood and energy and to know when help might be needed.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder is one of the more challenging depressive conditions that can impact emotional wellness. Up to four percent of Canadians experience some form of SAD, while an additional 10-15 percent experience a milder type called subsyndromal SAD. It’s a form of depression which often occurs in winter. Those experiencing it can find themselves dealing with decreased energy, hopelessness, and changed sleep patterns, among other symptoms. Unfortunately, these warning signs can escalate into thoughts of suicide, and if you, or someone you know, are feeling anything out of the ordinary, then consider using a healthcare provider to get a diagnosis.
If you have SAD, there are a number of ways to help you through these difficult months. One method to relieve symptoms, effective for some, is the use of light-therapy boxes that can simulate the effects of a sunny day through about 30 minutes of exposure. You can get ready for the day while doing so and maybe create an energizing area around it with images of summer and, perhaps, some workout equipment.
There are ways to optimize your home so you feel less stress. One way to counter an inhibiting or otherwise discouraging home environment is through plants and bright colours. You could even turn a room into a sanctuary, full of beautiful flora and colourful, mood-enhancing decor, along with things that have inspired and given you happiness. That might be favourite musicians, artists, photographs, or hobbies that have brought joy. Giving some prominence to things that have given delight can potentially bring you much-needed positivity.
Make Some Changes
It can be hard adapting to the effects that depression can have. It’s even harder, still, if there are accompanying thoughts of suicide. The condition may necessitate medication or therapy, but it will likely also require changes in lifestyle for one’s overall emotional well-being. Most importantly is the avoidance of alcohol and drugs, which can exacerbate suicidal thoughts. Staying active is also important. Depression can make any sort of physical activity extra hard, but exercising at least three times a week can have a marked benefit on your emotional well-being as it can produce chemicals that can make us happier and reduce the effects of stress. Lastly, try to open up about what you’re going through, whether to your loved ones or to professionals. You don’t have to be alone, and it can be really beneficial having a support structure of people who are aware of the difficulties you’re facing.
When to Seek Help
Mindfulness is imperative when experiencing any sort of downturn in mood. If you find yourself experiencing a sense of hopelessness, decreased energy, and difficulty concentrating, you may be experiencing some form of depression. You may find yourself sleeping more often or have lost interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can be easy to dismiss these changes, but it’s important to recognize them when they develop. This is especially true if there is a history of mental health issues in your family. Depression can cause suicidal feelings or thoughts of death. So, it’s important that you seek out professional support if you notice any such symptoms. These experts can provide you with advice and treatment to give you the building blocks to challenge a condition which affects millions in Canada. No matter what, it’s important not to blame yourself for what you’re going through. You are not your depression, and as you go through your healing process, you must try to avoid second-guessing yourself.
No matter what brings on depression and suicidal thoughts—it can be a life-changing event—there are things which can be done to alleviate the impact of the condition. That could mean seeking therapy or medication, opening up to your loved ones, or even changing your lifestyle and environment. It’s possible to lessen the strain on you and help manage what you’re facing, and, above all, you can be supported while doing so.
For more information, go to: StopSuicide.info