When Winter comes, interest in my content on Depression skyrockets, but I’m not surprised. I used to facilitate a Depression group and guess when the attendance numbers take a huge jump? December and January.
A time of year that corresponds with the darkest days also corresponds with when people feel at their lowest. Maybe we should be hibernating or working less like the old days but our modern 9-5 doesn’t make allowances for the normal ebb and flow through the seasons.
So we don’t have much choice, we have to keep going and most of us give it a bloody good shot with extra caffeine and an extra biscuit here and there and tackle each day as it comes. Then comes Spring, the Winter way and eating habits that accompany, are easier to change. Except some years it doesn’t really get any brighter, just rolling clouds that last almost through the year.
If you go to your Doc and say your feeling particularly down or Depressed, they will probably give you a pill that aims to increase brain levels of Serotonin. This will hopefully make you feel calmer, better and safer.
Guess what bright light does? Yep, increases Serotonin.
Guess what exercise does? Yep, also increases brain serotonin levels.
Guess what eating sweet things does? You got it, also increases Brain serotonin!
So that’s great, all you need to is eat more sweet things and that’s you sorted for the Winter!
Oh I wish but there is a catch.
If you are suffering from low serotonin levels then that sweet thing will allow a Serotonin precursor called Tryptophan to cross into the brain and raise your Serotonin levels.
The problem is, its such an easy fix that you will probably do it three times a day, every day for eternity until one day you might look down unable to see your toes anymore due to a bulging waistline. Hey but better to be fat than down or Depressed right?
Here is the bad news, you may find yourself jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
You see when you use sweet things regularly to boost your mood, it can start to affect your energy and the health of your gut. This can start to drive the process of inflammation strongly linked with Depression.
This is where it gets easy to cross over from low mood to Depression, through Diet. I say easy, you may have been unknowingly working towards this for years.
So when Depression lands on your doorstep, its easy to think it sprung out of nowhere or your life problems were the cause. Yet we already know that:
- Blood sugar issues are linked with Depression
- That light therapy helps those with Seasonal and non Seasonal Depression
- That inflammation can encourage the sickness behaviour linked with Depression and that this inflammation can be food driven.
- That exercise improves neurotransmitter levels and helps people successfully manage their mood and Depressive symptoms.
So we can know all these things but without implementing any change, we are probably destined to keep on struggling and hope the medication works when we hit rock bottom.
Wouldn’t it be better to strike before Depression hits? If your mood is low, tackle it before it comes a crisis point.
If you see the same problems every Winter then act while you still have the energy to do so. Above is the ‘why’ of the problem but reading articles and accumulating knowledge doesn’t change anything. Only acting on the right info does.