LSA junior William Devries recently claimed he was concerned about his changes in mood, which he attributed to either “the winter weather really getting [him] down” or his “grades, social life, physical appearance, or anything else, really.”
“When December rolls around, I feel like it’s harder and harder to get out of the house,” said Devries. “And then I have to ask myself: am I feeling this way because of the general lack of sun, or because I have no friends to spend time with even if I do go out?”
While the Mayo Clinic defines Seasonal Affective Disorder as a subset of depression that arises in the winter months, Devries says his melancholy is year-round. “Yes, it’s hard to face the holiday season knowing my family will ask when I’m finally going to bring a girl home,” Devries explained. “But honestly, that’s devastating in the summer months, too.”
Devries also reported that he has been performing poorly in his classes. “Lack of motivation or interest is a classic symptom of weather-triggered depression,” he said. “Of course, my bad grades could also be attributed to the fact that I think I picked the wrong major.”
Devries stated that he has begun taking steps to better his mental health, starting with regular therapy sessions. “Dr. Richmond told me to try this thing where I record both the weather and my feelings in a journal every night, and I started to notice a pattern. Generally, I feel the worst on days when it is cold and cloudy or when I get reminders that my bank balance is low,” he said.
Dr. Richmond also recommends that sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder spend time relaxing under artificial sunlights, take a daily vitamin D supplement, and in the case of patients like Devries, reconsider all personal goals, choices, and relationships.