It's about this time of year I start thinking we should be like bears. Eat tons of food, go into a warm cave around November, fall into a deep sleep---and not wake until April.
Ah, Portland in the winter. Months of relentless rain, grim gray and too much sitting in front of the screen. If you're new to the Northwest, you're probably wondering about now why you came. For those of us old-timers, it's still a struggle to push ourselves out of lethargy and away from melancholy.
For many, the feelings can become a form of seasonal depression, a mood disorder called SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter
daylight hours and a lack of sunlight in winter.Some of the symptoms are:
- Sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
- Changes in weight