Is it just the “winter blues” or am I depressed?
As mother nature hands us another (rather large) dose of winter weather, many of us find ourselves inside yet again, making important and very familiar decisions like “Which show should I binge watch today?” or “Should I bake brownies or chocolate chip cookies?” or “How can I possibly keep a four year old entertained inside for 12 straight hours?”
While these questions seemed appropriate and cozy indoor snow day activities were exciting in January, by March these questions seem tedious and can be accompanied by frustration, sadness and irritation.
Many of us are left wondering – should I feel this sad? Is this really just the “winter blues”?
Here are five ways to tell if you are just dealing with cabin fever or if you are suffering from Depression:
How long have you been feeling this way? Do your feelings of sadness and hopelessness predate the winter? If your feelings are a direct reaction to the weather or a specific situation, it may just be the “winter blues” or a reaction to your situation. However, if you have consistently felt this way for two weeks or more, this may be a sign of Depression.
How intense are your feelings of sadness and anger? Do you feel irritable or can your feelings be categorized as feelings of worthlessness, isolation, excessive guilt or shame? Feelings of worthlessness, isolation and shame can be indications of a Depressive Disorder.
Weather permitting, are your professional, educational and social activities at the level that is normal for you or are you withdrawing from normal activities? If you are less involved in your normal activities or your performance at school and/or work has deteriorated recently this is indicative of Depression.
Have you experienced major changes in your weight or appetite? If you have experienced major changes in your weight or appetite or are having trouble sleeping at night or waking up in the morning, these are symptoms of depression.
If you are experiencing thoughts of death or suicide or have any plans relating to suicidality it is imperative that you seek professional help.
If you think you’re just feeling some “winter blues” snuggle up with some hot chocolate and a favorite TV show and remember that Spring is just around the corner.