Seasonal Affective Disorder: My Beast by Joey Pezzino posted by A Nocton

Living in New England for almost my entire life, I grew up around the change of seasons. Winters are very chilly, and snow days as a kid were a blessing. From October to March in New England, white snowflakes fall from the sky. Water droplets begin to freeze in the cold air, and snow begins to fall through the sky and piles up on the ground. Spring was uncomfortable; the snow was melting, the pollen gave me allergies, and the trees still looked bleak. Summer was more enjoyable, with no school, fantastic weather, and vacations and time with friends. Fall was the transition from summer to Winter; the leaves were changing colors, the soccer season started again, and the weather wasn’t that cold. Finally, I could throw on a sweatshirt and some shorts. 

Throughout the seasons and weather changes, many people worldwide suffer from something called «seasonal depression.» What is seasonal depression? «Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. These symptoms often resolve during the spring and summer months. SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer less often and resolves during the fall or winter months. A mood disorder characterized by depression coincides every year.» (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651) seasonal affective disorder occurs in climates with less sunlight at certain times. Symptoms include fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal. Treatment includes light therapy (phototherapy), talk therapy, and medications. The most common seasonal month occurs in Winter.

Primarily because if you live in New England mostly or in a state that snows, the coldness and change from fall to Winter affect people differently. During the Winter, most teenagers, even myself, sometimes lose interest in certain activities I used to enjoy. The cold and lack of sunlight may also affect a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which may affect the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. So the lack of melatonin will cause your body to feel constantly drained. During Winter, I played high school basketball and those times kept me going during the dreadful Winter. The holiday season is another positive aspect of Winter, Christmas with your friends and family and the holiday break from school. Some other activities I found myself trying for the first time in Winter were, sledding with my friends at local hills, participating in ski club riding down mountains, and ice skating with my friends at a local rink. 

When the snow melts and it becomes warmer, my seasonal depression seems to fade away. I see the upcoming months and seasons of spring and summer I look forward to every single year. Spring is towards the end of the school year, with more physical outdoor activities. One of my favorite hobbies in the spring season was playing golf; during high school, I played on the golf team in my Junior and Senior years. I was going after school to play golf with my buddies; The sport was also very relaxing, and the coaches were down to earth. When I played soccer and basketball, the games and practices were more severe and intense, so a break and having fun with my friends during the spring improved my mental health status. Most people enjoy the summer the most out of all four seasons, and I agree. School is out, the weather is beautiful, and all the free time and memories with my friends. When I was a little kid, I remember going on bike rides with my friends in my neighborhood for hours and not having a care in the world. There are no alarms or school bus rides in the morning. Vacation time with my family was also one of my happiest moments. Almost every summer I remember, my family and I would go to cape cod. My mom would love to go to the beach, so my family and I would all go swimming, look at hermit crabs and kick a soccer ball around. This past summer, my girlfriend Riley and I spent a lot of time in Rhode island and at the beach. I finally understood why my mom liked it so much. While she tans, I will either fall asleep and get a horrible tan line or swim in the water. This summer alone, I have made unforgettable memories with family, friends, and her, so I would say my inner beasts aren’t here; as of right now, I don’t know what will happen this Winter when I have this much free time on my hand with a month of school. No sport to play as I have played basketball in the Winter since I was seven years old. 

Finally, there was fall; while I was in school, I didn’t enjoy fall because school was starting again, and I had to get into the routine of getting up earlier—the transition from the warm weather, the free time, and memories with my friends and family. The leaves looked beautiful; the beginning of soccer and football season for the NFL. Throughout my 18-year life, I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, then moved to Champaign, Illinois, then finally lived in New England for the past 13 years. The transitions between the four seasons can create internal and external beasts. For example, with the weather changing so constantly, in the months of spring and fall, my body isn’t used to the temperature, causing me to suffer migraines and headaches. During the Winter, especially in Connecticut, the sun begins to set around 5 o’clock, causing less sunlight and more tiredness throughout the day. These seasons bring positive and negative aspects to how I live and my internal issues with my beasts. 

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