Kaelin Jenkins
JRNM 151
It is not just the winter blues; it is a type of feeling that people cannot escape.
Amaya Melendez, a student at Lorain County Community College, suffers from seasonal depression, saying that she “sometimes feels stuck because I have no motivation to do anything.”
Lisa Lindblom, licensed professional clinical counselor supervisor at the Advocacy Resource Center at LCCC, said that “seasonal depression occurs in all four seasons. The fall and winter seasons are the most common times people are affected because that is when the days become shorter and the sky becomes gloomier. People will physically and mentally feel the effects.”
Symptoms of seasonal depression which is clinically known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD include, anxiety, loneliness, loss of interest, mood swings, sadness, excess sleep, insomnia, sleep deprivation, appetite
changes, fatigue, social isolation, lack of concentration, irritability and more. Still these symptoms can vary in severity for each person.
Lindblom explained that some people cannot get out of bed to function. “We always encourage people to not self-diagnose this or any mental health disorder, but to go seek professional consultation. When getting tested for SAD, it is more of a checklist people go through. In order to get diagnosed the patient has to have had symptoms for two consecutive seasons as it shows a pattern.’
Lindblom said there are things that could potentially help people that are suffering from SAD such as photo-therapy, also known as light therapy, which is a specialized light that a person uses for a certain amount of time a day. This ultraviolet light mimics the sun’s rays giving off vital Vitamin D.
Lindblom advised getting a recommendation from a medical professional before doing this type of therapy because there could be side effects similar to those that develop with heat stroke.
Talk therapy is also recommended as it helps the patient adjust to human interaction.
Destiny Torres, an English and Journalism major at LCCC is one of the many affected by SAD. She says, “Depression makes me feel as if I can’t get anything done because of the weight and lack of motivation it puts on me. There are some days when it’s nice out that I feel more like myself all because I can get some sun and feel less numb.”
Sadly, just sunlight does not work for all people. Sometimes medication is crucial. Basic self-care can also go a long way along with a good diet, fixed sleep schedule, exercise, and using a support system.
“Advice I would give people who suffer from seasonal depression is to find a hobby you enjoy to get your mind off things. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about how you’re feeling,” Melendez explained.
Contrary to belief, Ohioans experience all four seasons. Many students might feel a huge shift in their emotions between fall and spring semester which could be an indication of SAD.
Students who are enrolled at LCCC for the current semester are eligible for the ARC services offered on campus. ARC offers counseling in-person, over the phone, and over video chat as well as other mental health supports, some of which are listed below along with the ARC’s contact information: Advocacy Resource Center Contact: (440)-366- 4272 or arc@lorainccc.edu; WELLTRACK- Free Mental Health App; WECARE- Free Mental Health App; TOGETHERALL- Safe online peer to peer support community; and The Shrink Space- Directory of off campus therapists. lorainccc.theshrinkspace. com/signup
Lauren Hoffman vontributed to the story.