SAD Cause - Light not the answer-purely psychological?

J

jackeades

New member
Joined
Jan 15, 2016
Messages
2
#1
I’m 27 and live in the UK. Ever since I was 15 (and possibly before, although I can’t quite remember) I have felt very low in the winter months, before instantly feeling better again in January. It is particularly bad October/November/December and noticeably takes a turn for the worse when the clocks go back from UK summer time at the end of October. When I was younger, it just seemed as though things were never going to get better – I couldn’t actually see a way out, or anticipate or the future-or even comprehend that things might get better (since learnt a textbook sign of depression-not being able to imagine future events). At least now I just desperately cling on for January and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel (figuratively, literally….whatever!)

I have read about the causes and it is always put down as a physical thing- a deficiency of vitamin D, serotonin, melatonin…..nobody quite knows…..and I think they are all linked at any rate.
I don’t think it is physical, and I will give you my reasons:

1: Every year I seem to get it earlier (or maybe just notice it sooner). I know start feeling low as soon as the summer solstice has passed at the end of July. This would make no sense if it was physical as the weather is often better in August than the rest of the year. And certainly there is a lot more sunlight than January!

2. I usually try and get out of the UK to sunnier climes during the time. I have been to South East Asia 4 times, Cyprus and South America. Although I think it has helped slightly on a couple of occasions, usually the feeling does not clear. All these places are in the northern hemisphere or the tropics (sunset at 1800 ish all year round). The only place that it instantly seemed to clear up was Australia in their summer.

3. It starts clearing at the end of December just after the solstice. The weather can be awful, but suddenly I feel normal/great again.

Anyway, to summarise, I don’t think (in my case as least) it has much to do with sunlight, and everything to do with the psychology of the days getting longer/shorter. So much so I feel compelled to write to people ive never met on the internet like yourself that study it!

When I was younger I just assumed that everyone felt this way, and thought people were lying/couldn’t understand when people said they enjoyed Autumn/the Christmas build-up/Halloween etc. I genuinely believe however that the explanation of ‘lack of sunlight’ is incorrect and the wrong tree is being barked up with regards to finding a cause.

I don’t know what it is about the psychology of the shortening/lengthening of the days does it but……just hope that somebody far clever and with better resources and medical knowledge than me would look into it. Furthermore, the theory that it is a lack of light causing SAD is based purely on the statistic that it is far more prevalent at northern latitudes than those near the equator. As well as the lack of daylight, there are many other factors at play- the primary one (in my opinion) being the greater difference in the length of the days in summer and winter-and therefore the greater the change in daylight hours as the world darkens.
 
Mayfair

Mayfair

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2010
Messages
32,105
Location
8,539
#2
I think it is physical. I think it's just a by-product of our evolution. Most likely in particular from people who migrated away from hotter [all year round] climates.

-

edit just seen you are a new member, :welcome:

These are just my thoughts btw.
 
Last edited:
J

jackeades

New member
Joined
Jan 15, 2016
Messages
2
#3
Fair enough!

I just seem to find a lot doesn't make sense with that explanation for myself.

Could be hard-wired into us to dread the depths of winter? The same sort of instinct that makes us jump away from spiders even if we've never seen one...
 
Mayfair

Mayfair

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2010
Messages
32,105
Location
8,539
#4
Fair enough!

I just seem to find a lot doesn't make sense with that explanation for myself.

Could be hard-wired into us to dread the depths of winter? The same sort of instinct that makes us jump away from spiders even if we've never seen one...
I personally think on the lines, that we've only lived this kind of life (current western style living) for a matter of a couple of hundred years. Far little time to adjust to the fact that warmth and provisions are far more readily available today.

Fair enough!

I just seem to find a lot doesn't make sense with that explanation for myself.

Could be hard-wired into us to dread the depths of winter? The same sort of instinct that makes us jump away from spiders even if we've never seen one...
I don't think dread is necessarily the right word jack. Supplies and fuel stocks would have had to been collected to get through winters for our ancestors, and hence their bodies would have adjusted over many thousands of years to 'slow down' during months when supplies were short. I think that these people only survived because they were able to do this, and this is what remains for people who suffer from this now. All the symptoms would be the same.

They perhaps would have had less energy through lessening of food, and been more lethargic during cold months to preserve energy and weight. This would have been vital for survival, so I see no reason why these traits wouldn't have been valuable to survival and as it happens now are present in many of us now.
 
Mayfair

Mayfair

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2010
Messages
32,105
Location
8,539
#5
Could be hard-wired into us to dread the depths of winter? The same sort of instinct that makes us jump away from spiders even if we've never seen one...
Spiders is a good analogy. Of course, babies and young children aren't afraid of them, but that's a reason why humans nurse their young to quite an old age in comparison to other animals who can just leave them be, pretty much!

There is no logical reason to be scared of spiders if you live in the UK for example because there aren't many that harm us here... but it's still instinct in part because our ancestors won't lived like us.

As it happens, I don't think this just for SAD. I have written a lot about what I think about what is considered to be called MI in today's times.

Perhaps I'm MAD ( :LOL: ) though. Who knows! Loads of people think I am, so what do I know! haha
 
S

ssMarilyn

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
13
Location
Minnesota, USA
#6
I just recently found out that SAD is actually caused by our body needing more thyroid hormone in the winter. Some doctors did a study on a group of people at either the north or south pole, not sure which now, and they gave Armour, a natural form of thyroid hormone to half the group and a placebo to the other half. The group that took the Armour had less depression than the placebo group and some of the Armour group had no depression at all. Low D levels will also add to the problem.
 
Mayfair

Mayfair

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2010
Messages
32,105
Location
8,539
#7
I just recently found out that SAD is actually caused by our body needing more thyroid hormone in the winter. Some doctors did a study on a group of people at either the north or south pole, not sure which now, and they gave Armour, a natural form of thyroid hormone to half the group and a placebo to the other half. The group that took the Armour had less depression than the placebo group and some of the Armour group had no depression at all. Low D levels will also add to the problem.[/B]
hmmmmmm
 
BorderlineDownunder

BorderlineDownunder

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
17,144
#8
vitamin D

most of us are low

I thought I had SAD and it turns out I was desperately, tragically low in Vit D
 
S

ssMarilyn

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
13
Location
Minnesota, USA
#9
I have hypothyroidism and was put on Armour. I had SAD so bad that I really wished I would just die. I take my normal dosage of Armour split into two dosages at 9am and 2pm. If I feel the SAD coming on late afternoon, which is when it usually hits me, my doctor gave me some 15 mg tabs of Armour that I can take. I take just one and in about 1.5 - 2 hours, I feel so much better, almost normal again. SAD is miserable and I feel bad for anyone who has it and doesn't know what to do about it. Antidepressants aren't the answer... it's the thyroid and also can be low D levels. Need to ensure both areas are covered!

SAD hit me about 3 hours ago and 1 hour ago I took my 15 mg of Armour. Hope to see relief soon!
 
Last edited: