Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): A Photo Essay

According to the British National Health Service (NHS) Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is:

“a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter…

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • a persistent low mood
  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • irritability
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight”

When a friend mentioned this to me, first in September, then in March. I thought it helped explain how it seemed I had been in an inescapable state of depression for the past few months. I moved from Cape Town to London in September. So I moved from Spring to Autumn. Replayed winter. And it has been SAD. I have been SAD.

Depression however, is not uncommon to me, though undiagnosed as a child, as an adult, I have come to understand, why I felt the way I did as a child. Responded to situations the way I did. I was used to the feelings of despair.

of feeling numb and

IMG_4986
Doleham Station

running out of oxygen.

But it had always come in waves.

it would ebb,

flow,

smack me down.

interrupt me mid sentence,

mid smile,

sometimes I would wake up to it.

– that inexplicable feeling  of enormous grief.

In London, I felt that I have lived under a cloud of inexplicable grief. Yes, there are moments I smile, have sudden bursts of energy, feel myself become lighter and love the company of others. Yet overwhelmingly, I am SAD.

Yet, this state of SADness, is not completely tenebrous, I believe it has taught me so much about myself. Mostly from the SADness, I have learnt to be still within myself. To take deeper breaths. I have learnt about the ways in which I could still retain who I am in academic spaces, that attempt to break and re-mould me into something foreign. I have taken deeper breaths. Fallen in love with silence, staring at the minutest details.

IMG_4820It is the SADness that has brought me back to parts of myself I had thought I had lost forever. Most importantly, my creative side. In this state, I find that I am painting, writing, drawing, singing, creating in new ways that surprise me everyday. I think, if anything I keep falling in love with the womxn I am becoming.

It was this new self-assured me, that attempted a brave little trip into the English countryside by herself. I chose, remote as possible, foreign as possible and a place I could be among my favourite thing: the still beauty of the earth. So off I went to a little farm cottage in Guestling, East Essex.

IMG_4744I was to spend two nights there, and I had big plans to read, write, go venturing out to the sea, perhaps hike. But alas, even in that beauty, there I was again, SAD. I did take the IMG_4719 meditative moments I had intended, I spent a lot of time preparing semi-elaborate meals, I drank copious amounts of tea. But on my second and only full day there, I spent most of it sleeping. Almost unable to move.

But I have long since stopped beating myself up for these types of moments. Because, during the brief moments I got up, I ventured about. Sat still within myself and just breathed. In and out. I was still. This, I am finding, is my new magic. More and more I am finding, I am self-assured. I am not afraid of getting lost in strange places. Of wasting time. I am not even afraid of the dirty stares of racists. I know who I am. And even when I am SAD. I am Unwaveringly Myself. Depression- seasonal or not does not define me.

IMG_4731
My Cottage
IMG_4994
The misty desolate station where I was told “no one ever gets off here. Sometimes people get on here, but never off.”

IMG_4775.JPG

 

*All photos by Mamello Mosiana, please credit if reposting.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Tobenna says:

    “Depression- seasonal or not does not define me” is a very powerful mantra. Beautiful essay

    Liked by 2 people

  2. kelley says:

    Lovely words and visuals to match.

    Liked by 1 person

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