This time of the year presents many changes as we transition from Summer to the Autumn and Winter months.
One of the most notable changes is with the climate as the weather gets cooler and we start to see the sun less and less during the day.
This can lead to some of us experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), which is a type of depression, according to Eleanor Snitka who's the Outreach Manager and Support Worker for the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba in the Parkland Region. "Symptoms can be very much the same as regular depression... our internal clock is sort of programmed that when the sun comes up, when the lights go on, we wake up. When the sun goes down, we go to sleep, but if the sun doesn't come up, we can stay asleep for a long time", explained Snitka.
This extra sleep and fatigue can lead to negative moods and withdrawal from society, which becomes part of a cycle of sadness and loneliness, among other negative feelings. "It's kind of a vicious circle, but those are often the signs we have", Snitka commented.
According to Snitka, four times as many women experience Seasonal Affective Disorder than men, and usually between the ages of 20 and 50. This could be because of the different hormones in men and women, or the tendency of men to speak less about what's bothering them.
If you know or live with someone who experiences S.A.D, Snitka says one of the best things to do is be someone who is empathic, understanding, and there for them. The Mood Disorders Association of Mantioba also has some support groups that run in Dauphin and Ste. Rose. You can also rent or buy S.A.D. lamps which are designed to replicate sunlight, and you only need to use one for about 30 minutes a day. The Dauphin Friendship Centre and the Dauphin Senior Centre both have lamps available for individuals to try out.
For more information and resources, head over to the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba's website.