Samhain and S.A.D.

Why do we love a season that makes us feel like crud? Even The Bloggess has been going through a funk and she’s made of awesome and rainbow ninjas sprinkled with sarcasm. I’m always tempted to hibernate through this time of year, and wake up at Yule. So although I have a lot to write about, I have been sternly warned I’m not allowed to go crazy. Instead of rushing about trying to pull together a post, take care of every e-mail, dot every i and cross every T, I’m going to spend some time today not going nuts and taking care of my own mental health.

So enjoy this video about the Great Pumpkin, and if you like, share your experience with S.A.D. Do you consider it a normal part of the season and just go with the flow? Do you try to treat it with natural or prescriptive remedies? Or do you just go a bit crazy, shake your fist, and, like Sally, demand restitution? (I’m guilty of the latter.)

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About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://thesatyrsthicket.blogspot.com Nicholas Farrell

    Speak for yourself. I happen to love this season! :D

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FCM62LRWJYSJZAWCXGUA62L7B4 nothing

    I’m sorry you had a funky type of day…this time of year is just up my alley…I love the dark cold weather, I come alive in…strange?  yes I guess it is, I find it invigorating but I’m not the only one…I have a brother who is just like me and he asked his Dr. about it, if he and I were nuts lol…we aren’t nuts just unusual because most people react as you do..which makes people like me in the minority. I live for this time of  year with the long nights and short days, I don’t sleep any more than any other time of year. I hate the heat of summer, I suppose that’s a good reason why I like this time of year. But I find the long nights and shorter darker days comforting and cozy. It’s cold here right now as I write this in VA and I have all my windows open. I confess to being a crazy woman who has always enjoyed the colder weather!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FCM62LRWJYSJZAWCXGUA62L7B4 nothing

    I’m sorry you had a funky type of day…this time of year is just up my alley…I love the dark cold weather, I come alive in…strange?  yes I guess it is, I find it invigorating but I’m not the only one…I have a brother who is just like me and he asked his Dr. about it, if he and I were nuts lol…we aren’t nuts just unusual because most people react as you do..which makes people like me in the minority. I live for this time of  year with the long nights and short days, I don’t sleep any more than any other time of year. I hate the heat of summer, I suppose that’s a good reason why I like this time of year. But I find the long nights and shorter darker days comforting and cozy. It’s cold here right now as I write this in VA and I have all my windows open. I confess to being a crazy woman who has always enjoyed the colder weather!

  • Gingerspark

    Sorry for you Star. In the past SAD hasn’t hit for me until deep winter, which for me in NC doesn’t hit until February/March. And its always been bad and dark. Definitely crazy making. Last year I seemed to get a reprieve despite it being colder and snowier than before and I attribute it to my being out daily and walking no matter the weather…last year my little guy started school and we are fortunate to live a half mile away. That little bit of walk in the morning and afternoon made a difference for me in connecting to nature and gathering up the small bits of sunshine. So I would recommend a walk today if you can…Take care. 

  • Gingerspark

    Sorry for you Star. In the past SAD hasn’t hit for me until deep winter, which for me in NC doesn’t hit until February/March. And its always been bad and dark. Definitely crazy making. Last year I seemed to get a reprieve despite it being colder and snowier than before and I attribute it to my being out daily and walking no matter the weather…last year my little guy started school and we are fortunate to live a half mile away. That little bit of walk in the morning and afternoon made a difference for me in connecting to nature and gathering up the small bits of sunshine. So I would recommend a walk today if you can…Take care. 

  • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

    For me it’s not really the time of year that triggers that kind of feeling, I tend to get SAD more when there are extended periods of cloudy/ rainy weather no matter what the season. We’re also going into the period when there are so many holidays which helps to counter how dark it gets. I’d be more likely to begin to weary of the cold and dark after New Years when you pretty much just have to wait out the rest of winter and wait for Spring.

    • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

      That’s not really S.A.D., what you describe.  It’s certainly a type of environmental-factor depression, but the very definition of Seasonal Affective Disorder is that it’s affective on a seasonal basis.

  • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

    For me it’s not really the time of year that triggers that kind of feeling, I tend to get SAD more when there are extended periods of cloudy/ rainy weather no matter what the season. We’re also going into the period when there are so many holidays which helps to counter how dark it gets. I’d be more likely to begin to weary of the cold and dark after New Years when you pretty much just have to wait out the rest of winter and wait for Spring.

    • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

      That’s not really S.A.D., what you describe.  It’s certainly a type of environmental-factor depression, but the very definition of Seasonal Affective Disorder is that it’s affective on a seasonal basis, not merely related to relatively unpleasant weather.

  • val bobincheck

    I was born in november, so I seem to have an affinity for cold, sleety and rainy days…If I get an attack of the funks, a quicky walk w/ the dog and a hot cup of tea, and maybe a cookie, get me right back into the swing of things!  I definitely think being outside is the key.

    • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

      As some-one who gets major depressive periods in winter, I really hope your “advice” is not intended to be as patronising as it’s coming across as.  I don’t experience “an attack of the funks” but major depression, to the point that if I’m out of my room at all, I’m a lump on the couch, and being outside absolutely is key —to making it so much worse.

      • WhiteBirch

        Thank you for that. I also have severe SAD, and the fact that it’s frequently treated like I get bummed in bad weather is patronizing. I’m sure (at least I hope) that wasn’t what Val was doing, but it did sound a bit smug from my perspective.  Since I live in a place where the dark part of the year is longer than the light part, it’s not something that affects me lightly or briefly, it’s the defining feature of my life for more than half of each year. 

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          I’m sorry to hear about that, about yourself; I admit that I’m relatively lucky in some ways, as my SAD period is deep winter, and I live far enough in the southern part of my U$ state that winters could be worse than they are (but with the Great Lakes affecting the weather, “winter” isn’t always this concrete span of time, but more an occurrence of 8-12 weeks in this generalised period of time between November and March).

          I, too, hope that Val wasn’t being as smug as he seemed, but in my experiences, all too often any time topics like SAD, or Circadian rhythm disorders, or postpartum depression, or attention-deficit disorder, or frankly any truly poorly-understood mental or emotional pecularity gets mentioned, suddenly anybody with Internet access is a self-proclaimed “expert” ready to dole out advice on how we can all just fix ourselves with exercise and vitamins.  Basically, there are certain disorders that somehow turn most people into temporary Scientologists, and it’s actually rather maddening.

          No offense to Ms Foster, but even her initial post seems, at a glance, to conflate Seasonal Affective Disorder with any sort of seasonal mood shift, and I have to admit that I’m genuinely unsure if she’s actually experienced SAD or if she’s just talking about a relatively normal shift in mood because all the leaves are brown and the skies are grey and that’s just kind of sad.  I’m not even sure what she means when asking “Or do you just go a bit crazy, shake your fist, and, like Sally, demand restitution? (I’m guilty of the latter.)”  I know what *I’d* mean saying that, but “go a bit crazy” is pretty vague, and the whole “shake your fist and demand restitution” doesn’t really sound like SAD as I or several of my friends have experienced it (including my housemate, who has a guaranteed two weeks of Summer SAD every year, though admittedly not to the degree that I or my best friend get depressed in winter).  It seems like she’s merely conflating SAD with a relatively normal seasonal mood shift that most people without SAD experience to a very mild degree, but she links to the article on Wikipaedia, which is actually pretty good for an unlocked article, so I’m presuming she’s read it and knows what SAD actually is.

  • val bobincheck

    I was born in november, so I seem to have an affinity for cold, sleety and rainy days…If I get an attack of the funks, a quicky walk w/ the dog and a hot cup of tea, and maybe a cookie, get me right back into the swing of things!  I definitely think being outside is the key.

    • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

      As some-one who gets major depressive periods in winter, I really hope your “advice” is not intended to be as patronising as it’s coming across as.  I don’t experience “an attack of the funks” but major depression, to the point that if I’m out of my room at all, I’m a lump on the couch, and being outside absolutely is key —to making it much, much worse.

      • WhiteBirch

        Thank you for that. I also have severe SAD, and the fact that it’s frequently treated like I get bummed in bad weather is patronizing. I’m sure (at least I hope) that wasn’t what Val was doing, but it did sound a bit smug from my perspective.  Since I live in a place where the dark part of the year is longer than the light part, it’s not something that affects me lightly or briefly, it’s the defining feature of my life for more than half of each year. 

        • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

          I’m sorry to hear about that, about yourself; I admit that I’m relatively lucky in some ways, as my SAD period is deep winter, and I live far enough in the southern part of my U$ state that winters could be worse than they are (but with the Great Lakes affecting the weather, “winter” isn’t always this concrete span of time, but more an occurrence of 8-12 weeks in this generalised period of time between November and March).

          I, too, hope that Val wasn’t being as smug as he seemed, but in my experiences, all too often any time topics like SAD, or Circadian rhythm disorders, or postpartum depression, or attention-deficit disorder, or frankly any truly poorly-understood mental or emotional pecularity gets mentioned, suddenly anybody with Internet access is a self-proclaimed “expert” ready to dole out advice on how we can all just fix ourselves with exercise and vitamins.  Basically, there are certain disorders that somehow turn most people into temporary Scientologists, and it’s actually rather maddening.

          No offense to Ms Foster, but even her initial post seems, at a glance, to conflate Seasonal Affective Disorder with any sort of seasonal mood shift, and I have to admit that I’m genuinely unsure if she’s actually experienced SAD or if she’s just talking about a relatively normal shift in mood because all the leaves are brown and the skies are grey and that’s just kind of sad.  I’m not even sure what she means when asking “Or do you just go a bit crazy, shake your fist, and, like Sally, demand restitution? (I’m guilty of the latter.)”  I know what *I’d* mean saying that, but “go a bit crazy” is pretty vague, and the whole “shake your fist and demand restitution” doesn’t really sound like SAD as I or several of my friends have experienced it (including my housemate, who has a guaranteed two weeks of Summer SAD every year, though admittedly not to the degree that I or my best friend get depressed in winter).  It seems like she’s merely conflating SAD with a relatively normal seasonal mood shift that most people without SAD experience to a very mild degree, but she links to the article on Wikipaedia, which is actually pretty good for an unlocked article, so I’m presuming she’s read it and knows what SAD actually is.

  • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

    You’re speaking in the Royal We, oui?  After all, Seasonal Affective Disorder is only present in less than 10% of the U$ population, and fewer in the South than in the North, and worldwide statistics show, at most, Ireland’s population may have a SAD rate of 20%.  That’s hardly a universal “we”.

    Additionally, some people have SAD or SAD-like symptoms in the Summer and Spring rather than Winter or Autumn; Dver at the Forest Door blog describes summer as her “down time”, just as an example of some-one who is pretty darned vocal about how they’re actually energised during the cold months (as strange as that may seem to some-one like myself, who barely leaves his room once the snow hits), even if it’s not outright SAD.  While Winter SAD seems the most common, and Autumn SAD a substantial 2nd Place, it’s really unfair to characterise SAD as solely a daimon of cold weather as it makes Spring & Summer SAD appear less “real” — the fact that it’s been observed in warm seasons is the primary and most telling reason that the terminology has shifted to Seasonal Affective Disorder rather than “winter depression” and “winter sickness”.

  • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

    You’re speaking in the Royal We, oui?  After all, Seasonal Affective Disorder is only present in less than 10% of the U$ population, and fewer in the South than in the North, and worldwide statistics show, at most, Ireland’s population may have a SAD rate of 20% (as per even the Wikipaedia article you link to).  That’s hardly a universal “we”.

    Additionally, some people have SAD or SAD-like symptoms in the Summer and Spring rather than Winter or Autumn; Dver at the Forest Door blog describes summer as her “down time”, just as an easily-accessable example of some-one who is pretty darned vocal about how they’re actually energised during the cold months (as strange as that may seem to some-one like myself, who barely leaves his room once the snow hits), even if it’s not outright SAD.  While Winter SAD seems the most common, and Autumn SAD a substantial 2nd Place, it’s really unfair to characterise SAD as solely a daimon of cold weather as it makes Spring & Summer SAD appear less “real” — the fact that it’s been observed in warm seasons is the primary and most telling reason that the terminology has shifted to Seasonal Affective Disorder rather than “winter depression” and “winter sickness”.

  • Aj / Melia

    Get your vitamin D levels checked people.  Chances are very good that you have less in your system than you need.

    • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

      My doctor had me on a D supplement, and it’s really not all that effective on major seasonal depression.  Maybe people with milder depressive episodes get a significant benefit from it, but not everybody does.

  • Aj / Melia

    Get your vitamin D levels checked people.  Chances are very good that you have less in your system than you need.

    • http://omo.peacockfairy.com/ Ruadhán J McElroy

      My doctor had me on a D supplement, and it’s really not all that effective on major seasonal depression.  Maybe people with milder depressive episodes get a significant benefit from it, but not everybody does.


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