The effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Alexis Holton

“I know a girl who was self-diagnosed with S.A.D [Seasonal Affective Disorder], and when she told me about it I was like ‘Okay, whatever’ but then I started realizing that she was serious. S.A.D usually comes into effect at the end of January close to the beginning of February. She usually goes away for a few weeks to get away from the nasty winter weather, then when she comes back, she’s her shiny happy self again. In some ways her attitude plummets in the winter. What is usually my happy friend is now a ball of S.A.D in a nutshell,”  Security Guard Sharon DeWit said. “I’m glad that she goes out for vacation because she’s herself when she gets home.”

   S.A.D is a powerful force that affects many West Ottawans. The disorder is depression associated with late autumn and winter and thought to be caused by a lack of light.

   Those in charge at WO notice the effects of S.A.D. Assistant Principal Don Clavette said, “The rate of disobedience goes up for kids in the month of February. Kids usually don’t get to do things that they please, so it makes the seasons harder on them, attitude wise.” This is important to be aware of as well. Some people have different ways of coping with the reactions of the weather change.

   Many students recognize that they suffer from S.A.D. “Life feels much slower and there’s less going on. Making plans is harder. I have no motivation to do things, in the winter,” Jr. Kieley Wheeler said. Jr. Tylar West agrees with Wheeler, she said, “When the weather changes, I lose energy and ambition. I feel awful during the winter. It may be a vitamin D deficiency too because a lot of people get it, but I get depressed.”

    This disorder doesn’t only affect the kids. ”I have a friend who wasn’t diagnosed specifically, but still feels it, so she uses an ultraviolet light in her office during the winter,” Clavette said. Although some people aren’t diagnosed with S.A.D, they still feel it.

  “I know a colleague who was diagnosed with S.A.D. She’s an elementary teacher and when the disorder comes into play, she gets irritated with her students easier. She feels, in a sense, insomnia. She’s tired and down during this period. Things in her life will be completely perfect and for no reason she will get constant depression. She goes to sunny places during the breaks, winter and spring break. She bought something called a ‘phototherapy light box’ to use as a soothing method. It reflects the mimic of ultraviolet lights and boosts her attitude for the season,” Counselor Carola VanHeukolum said.

Although some may express it in different ways, most of us feel the effects of S.A.D.