When *Kerry decided to follow her boyfriend to his hometown of Michigan in 2007, she never expected her life to change in the next four years.

 

“That first winter in Michigan was brutal. It was dark, cold and I just didn’t feel like doing anything,” Kerry said. “I just wasn’t motivated. I grew up in northeast Ohio and it didn’t get that cold. No one could have told me that the weather would have an affect on me like this.”

 

Kerry, like so many others suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, depression that occurs during the same time each year.

 

What is SAD?

 

Photo: Shutterstock

 

It is not known what causes SAD, but it may be linked to lack of sunlight.

 

Seasonal depression or winter depression can affect anyone, but it’s more common in women, people who live far from the equator, where winter daylight hours are short, people between the ages of 15-55 and individuals who have relatives with SAD, according to University of Michigan, Michigan Medicine.

 

With the excitement of the holidays near, it is still easy to slip into a slump when the sun is absent from the sky and temperatures dip below freezing.

 

 

“I would look outside, see the snow and get back in the bed. All I wanted to do was drink wine and eat,” Kerry said. “Not only did my boyfriend (now husband) notice a change in me, I noticed it too and didn’t like who I was becoming.”

 

Photo: Time.com

 

After months of feeling depressed, Kerry sought out treatment at Beaumont hospital where she was diagnosed with SAD.

 

Depression

The seasons may not be the cause of depression, there can be many other factors.

The community was shocked to learn Jessica Starr; local meteorologist at WJBK-TV (Channel 2) took her own life, Thursday. Starr posted on her Facebook page mid-November, that she was “struggling” after a Lasik SMILE eye procedure, but it’s still unclear why she committed suicide.

 

 

This year, a report found that Michigan’s suicide rate increased by 33 percent in the last 20 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reported that more than half of people who commit suicide have no known mental health challenges. Substance abuse, health problems and relationships were noted as common factors.

 

While Kerry was able to pinpoint her symptoms of SAD, *Tim doesn’t know why or how his started.

 

“I know it’s the time for joy, love and the holidays, but sometimes the world just seems dark,” Tim said. “I have learned to play “the game”, smile at gatherings and put on a mask.”

Before he was prescribed sertraline (Zoloft), Tim confessed that his depression was so bad that he would call in to work and say he was suffering with migraines because he was ashamed to let anyone know what he was going through.

 

Photo: Giphy

 

Some people may choose to hide how they are feeling, but seeking treatment is crucial in improving depression.

 

Although very treatable, only 37 percent of depressed individuals across the U.S. receive treatment, according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

 

Photo: Beaumont.org

Fast forward to 2018, Kerry is now living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two children ages, five and three months old. She credits therapy, drinking plenty of water, brisk walks and fresh air in helping her cope through the winter months.

 

“Getting help was one of the best things I could have done for myself. I know I would have been worse off if I didn’t,” Kerry said. “Anyone that might be going through this, talk to someone. Be honest with yourself. Know that there are resources for you.”

*Names have been changed

 

Symptoms of SAD

  • Feelings sad, anxious, moody
  • Lose of interest in usual activities
  • Weight gain
  • Sleeping more, but feeling tired
  • Trouble concentrating

 

If you are someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.

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Read Next: 5 Step Survival Guide To Staying Healthy During the Holidays


Kyla Heat

Kyla’s family and friends describe her as a walking Encyclopedia when it comes to everything pop culture, beauty, fitness and fashion. Kyla knew she wanted to be a writer when she began writing short stories and poems for her family. A true Michigander at heart, Kyla graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in journalism and attended Specs Howard School of Media Arts. Along the way, she has interviewed everyone from, Idris Elba, Kerry Washington, Jack Kevorkian, Robert Kennedy Jr., Joel Osteen, Russell Simmons and Wiz Khalifa. After a stint working at a psychic shop and producing shows for an all talk radio station on iHeartRadio, Kyla landed at The Detroit News, working as an editorial assistant and reporter. She worked at PBS Detroit, as a social media manager before joining the Urban Content Studios team. When she is not writing, Kyla likes to spend time with family, shop and compete in fitness bikini competitions.

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