Seasonal gloom

Fariha Afsar (Kuragh)

When in winter, if you feel a creepy gloominess around you, then you are not the only one who is experiencing it. In fact, people, who are living in Chitral, are having this disorder frequently, because of the harsh and bleak winter seasons of the area.

When I was little, I used to take pleasure in winter and snowfall to the fullest. But as I started growing up, I perceived a dark burden residing in my heart, and I would feel wretched and hopeless during the winter days. I would lose interest in those things which were my source of joy previously. I came to believe it that I had fallen into the grip of intense depression, and there was nothing I could do about it. This thought would further drain my energy, by making me lethargic throughout the day. But I noticed that this disorder was only gripping me in winter, not any other season of the year.

Recently, I came across information about this depressing disorder. It is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can bring a depressed mood, loss of interest, and change in sleep and appetite. It is more common among women than men.

SAD is related to our internal body clock or Circadian rhythm (which tells us when to sleep, eat and wake up). Because of technological advancement, artificial light is interfering with our Circadian system. In winter due to the bitter cold and snowfall, we could not go out, and by staying indoors, we do not get access to the natural light of the sun. In addition, shorter days and longer nights of winter further fueled the disorder. That is why people with SAD feel lethargic, gloomy and listless. SAD can happen in the summer too. it is the long hours of sunlight which can trigger this problem, but it is not that common compared to winter.

As I am experiencing this disorder, so to tackle it, I have tried to figure out some ways which can minimize its effects. Daily walks and exposure to sunlight can be a great relief. Exercise and meditations are also comforting. Meeting with someone, or going to a relative house is also good because it can distract your mind for a while. My world would light up at the sight of flowers and greenery, so this is the best cure for it. Take a walk to a place, where you would be able to see natural beauty, it will sooth your mind and you will feel light and fresh.

However, if you feel like losing interest in life altogether, then this can be an alarming sign and would indicate the intensity of SAD. If that happens, you need to consult a doctor immediately.

I have known many people, who are going through this disorder, but they do not accept it. They ignore it assuming that it is a trifling mood swing. But negligence is not the solution, in fact you have to own it so that dealing with it would be easy. I have always been an advocate of mental peace and  I frequently say, “If your mental health is at peace, then the rest of the problems can be handled with a burden-free mind”. That is why you need to take care of it.

3 Replies to “Seasonal gloom”

  1. nice and writing on a very common but not so recognized issue in society. Many people feel this in winter though it can also happen in other season as well. Awareness is important especially in Chitral where suicide rate among youth especially women is high.

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