This time of year is very difficult in the Pacific Northwest. In fact everyone above the 45th parallel (roughly Salem Oregon) on the globe struggles a bit more for a variety of reasons. However, if you or your loved one struggles with seasonal affective disorder, bi-polar disorder, depression, anxiety or another mood disorder this time of year can be very difficult.
We are not sure entirely why but we know it does have to do with the sun and the changing of the season. Vitamin D levels are at their lowest above the 45th parallel. We do know there are some things you can do to help.
First you need vitamin D if you are reading this and live in the areas affected. You are low. We all are up here. However I don’t know how much YOU need so talk with your doctor! Second, diet and exercise really are a thing. I know it is extremely hard to get out this time of year due to the weather and the feelings of depression themselves! Third by replacement bulbs that have a temperature frequency of 5000K or higher and put them in a room that you will be in daily for at least 15 minutes straight. We know for a fact that light therapy works to be very helpful for depression. Personally I put some above my bathroom vanity because getting ready in the morning keeps me accountable to the light!
I want you to be aware though. This time of year from about Mid-February to Mid-May is a tough transition in particular for folks struggling with Bi-polar. This time of year can mean bigger swings with depression and thoughts about suicide and bigger swings into mania including lack of sleep and extreme impulsivity. On both “poles” the bi-polar person can become psychotic seeing/hearing things that are not there or delusional in their beliefs. I want to stress that folks with Bipolar who have never really had these symptoms are still vulnerable to those this time of year!
If you have been prescribed medication you need to be religious about taking it and if after all these tricks I’ve mentioned you still feel worse than usual OR you are having psychotic symptoms your regular doctor needs to be contacted immediately and medication likely adjusted. Psychotic symptoms can come on very fast and the solutions I mentioned above will have little to no effect. Typically folks with Bipolar have a psychiatrist. Try to get through to them on emergency first before attempting other options. They know you and they can help get you the help you need specifically for you and it may save you a hospital stay!
Keep heart the sun is coming! Weather stabilization is on its way that is why everything is so crazy now! Keep mindful of weather at the higher elevations or in other parts of the state and if you see sun in the forecast drive there!