Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) also known as seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which individuals who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms during particular seasons year after year. Typically winter months when sunlight is filtered or staying indoors due to extreme weather conditions for extended periods of time. I have usually controlled my S.A.D. by getting at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight exposure each day, but the Texas heat has been so intense this year (71 days of triple digit temps this summer so far and this weekend is expected to be the worse: 108 -110 on Sat & Sun- in the shade) I have stayed shut-up indoors and over the past few weeks I have paid the price.
Depression is no fun, isolation, lack of energy, thoughts of suicide…
I’ve had S.A.D. all my life, but could not explain the reoccurring seasonal bouts of depression until a psychiatrist recognized my condition about 25 years ago. I don’t believe in chemical treatment, so I’m currently undergoing intense light treatment, so far, I have not had to undergo melatonin hormone treatment yet, that is a last resort, however, chemical treatment would be my extreme last resort. My last bout with S.A.D. was about 10 years ago, since then I’ve been able to keep it under control, until this summer when I hunkered down at home avoiding exposure to the extreme heat.
So… that’s my story, a life with occassional bouts of uncontrollable depression, numerous suicide attempts (5 to be exact) and very dark periods. Until this moment, it’s been my secret, one that I have been ashamed to admit. I have hidden my secret behind casting jokes and laughter, concealing my private hell from those around me. Now I’m publicly admitting to having this condition, not to garner your pity, but in hopes that this will help other individuals to recognize the disorder in either themselves or someone you know. By understanding S.A.D. those individuals suffering from the condition can get the proper treatment and not suffer any longer. S.A.D. is a treatable condition, not something to be ashamed and feel that it makes you a defective individual. Depression is debilitating not only to the one suffering, but also to those around them, but if it is a result of S.A.D. it is treatable and often times avoidable. I’m no longer hiding my condition, it does not identify me as an individual and I refuse to let it control me. I’m coming out of the closet.
Hello, my name is Dustin Adrian Rhodes and I have S.A.D.