• Welcome! It’s great to see you.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

Seasonal affective switches

HLon99

HLon99

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
650
Location
London, UK
I have been trying to reasearch the various trigger that can bring on bipolar episodes. One of the major ones is stress; when consistant mental pressure from life builds up, I can slowly feel myself either falling into depression or mania. However, in the run up to my latest episode, my life was previously uneventful. And, unlike most other episodes, did not build up over time, but rather came on very suddenly. I have been trying to track any changes that I have had in my life recently, but couldn't identify one. The only thing I came up with is that the weather had suddenly changed here in the UK. We had winter temperatures of -5 degrees celcius and snow for a couple of weeks and then suddenly it was Spring, +10 and sunny. This seemingly coincided with my episode.

I looked into it and found that it is common for bipolar people to have sudden affective switches in Spring. Coming to think of it, the same thing happened in my first episode. I was depressed for a number of months between January-March, and then in April/May I suddenly became manic. Does anyone else experience sudden changes in their mood when the seasons change? If so, what do you do to prepare and mitigate against it?
 
Topcat

Topcat

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
4,333
I notice mood changes in spring like that. Same as you that cold weather had me in low power mode, as soon as I was outside on that first day with sunshine and warmer air my mood went up to 'everything is possible' and my mind starts whirring with ideas and daydreams. My mood swings haven't been strong for a few years now, so I don't fall into hypomania any more. But I do notice the change. I know when the weather gets changeable in spring, my mood goes up and down with it.
In the past I don't think I would have done anything to mitigate it, simply because I was so happy to not be miserable any more. Forgetting that what goes up just crashes back down again.
 
T

TheHeartHasAVoice

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 14, 2020
Messages
424
Location
Australia
I have been trying to reasearch the various trigger that can bring on bipolar episodes. One of the major ones is stress; when consistant mental pressure from life builds up, I can slowly feel myself either falling into depression or mania. However, in the run up to my latest episode, my life was previously uneventful. And, unlike most other episodes, did not build up over time, but rather came on very suddenly. I have been trying to track any changes that I have had in my life recently, but couldn't identify one. The only thing I came up with is that the weather had suddenly changed here in the UK. We had winter temperatures of -5 degrees celcius and snow for a couple of weeks and then suddenly it was Spring, +10 and sunny. This seemingly coincided with my episode.

I looked into it and found that it is common for bipolar people to have sudden affective switches in Spring. Coming to think of it, the same thing happened in my first episode. I was depressed for a number of months between January-March, and then in April/May I suddenly became manic. Does anyone else experience sudden changes in their mood when the seasons change? If so, what do you do to prepare and mitigate against it?
I think you are right. Today in Sydney Australia it's very cold as opposed to being hot and recently with all these weather changes I have noticed a strange heavy uncharacteristic depression. It's a type of stress so I wouldn't be surprised.
 
T

Tam

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
Messages
127
Location
UK
I am so sensitive to the autumn and winter seasonal change and all that goes with it, rain, gales, sleet, lack of daylight, I could honestly hibernate from around November to March, perhaps I should have been born a bear
 
C

candycane

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Messages
94
Location
Online
For those who suffer with seasonal depression I would try light therapy.
The studies on light therapy,have shown,that it does work for some.
So it might help those in this forum,who suffer with seasonal depression.
I would give it a try.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 20, 2019
Messages
73
Location
England
Yeah, pretty sure this is rooted in exposure to light. Shorter days, dark mornings etc. But in addition is its effect on sleep. The science says that light exposure in the morning and darkness at bedtime equate to a well set sleep-wake cycle. Obviously, through winter, depending on what time you usually get up, the darkness in the morning means you don't get your natural wake up call from the light. Bright sunny mornings, especially as the days lengthen, can mean you start getting that wake up call earlier and before you know it, you're sleeping less. That's a recipe for disaster.

A couple of bits on that:

"Laboratory studies have revealed that mood, like physiological variables such as core body temperature, is regulated by a circadian clock interacting with the sleep homeostat. Many depressed patients, particularly bipolar patients, show delayed sleep phase (late chronotype). Even small shifts in the timing and duration of sleep affect mood state (sleep deprivation and sleep phase advance have an antidepressant effect)." - Diurnal variation of depressive symptoms

If you have a read into the science of sleep - what wakes us and knocks us out - you should find all you're looking for.
 
Top