Clouded Skies, Clouded Thoughts

by The Cowl Editor on November 4, 2021


Clouded Skies, Clouded Thoughts

The Battles of Seasonal Depression and Seeking The Personal Counseling Center

By Jezel Tracey ’24

Life is not easy. It sounds like a cliché, but really it is not. No matter the circumstances of a person’s life, there are always other factors that distort one’s feelings of happiness.

Has there ever been a moment where life feels like it is going well or, at least, easy enough to keep up with? Then suddenly, there is a shift and what felt like “keeping up” has now turned into a struggle. For some, this might be a minor shift that lasts for a few days. For others, what begins as a short phase lasts for a season.

As the leaves and temperature fall, so does energy and mental sustainability. The darkened clouds in the sky are emulated in the overcast within one’s mind. This deficiency in vitamin D goes beyond a loss in bone density. Rather, it becomes a catalyst for seasonal depression. Whether one is aware of the technical phrase or not, this is something that affects many people throughout their day-to-day life.

Oftentimes, when thinking about seasonal depression, one will view it as an excessive amount of crying during a specific time of year. However, it is more than that. The effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) range from not wanting to be around people to feeling a loss of concentration, irritable anger, and melancholic feelings with no explainable reason.

Seasonal depression is a struggle that should never be ignored or undermined. For some, it might be hard to hide, but for others, it can be camouflaged with smiles and laughter. It is important to understand that this ability to conceal such a vulnerable feeling does not diminish the impact it has on their life. While they might be able to hide it, it does not mean that they are not being affected as much as people who cannot hide it.

As the weather gets colder and the clock takes away an hour of daylight, it is very important to recognize and address these feelings. Being able to do this should not be embarrassing or shameful, but mindful and necessary to the betterment of one’s mental health. If you or a friend experiences the struggles of SAD, it should not be interpreted as defeat, but rather something that needs help.

The resources to address these issues are easier and closer than one might think. This is not a struggle that should be dealt with alone. There are resources on campus that might not remove this problem but will surely make the battle easier.

This help should not be the last resort or a “worst-case scenario.” These resources are created for you. Any feeling of sadness or loss of control is enough to make an appointment with the personal counseling services at PC. It is a welcoming and safe space for everyone to go to. If you feel that there is something hard to deal with, do not hesitate to call or email personal counseling.

If one does not feel comfortable meeting with someone that they are not familiar with, that is not a problem. The problem arises when those feelings are suppressed and not recognized. Whether it is or is not addressed with a personal counseling appointment, talking to a friend or family member can also be helpful in this struggle.

Seasonal depression should never be interpreted as a weakness or a character flaw. It should be understood as a bump in the road rather than a definition of one’s journey.