An Open Letter to Anyone Suffering from Seasonal Depression

An Open Letter to Anyone Suffering from Seasonal Depression

Gleris Cruz Morales

It’s okay not to be okay,  your feelings and emotions are valid, no matter what they are.


Dearest Friend, 

I want you to know I see you. I can see the pain written all over your face because I know the look of someone trying so hard to act normal when they’re actually falling apart on the inside. You are not alone. I want you to understand how remarkable you are. I don’t mean it in the way your parents say it when they brag about you to their amigos and family; that always seemed forced, even if they meant it. I understand how you’re feeling and I can relate. We’ve all been there. Since fall started, I’ve felt less motivated, I lost interest in my favorite activities, and I’ve even gained some unhealthy weight. But it’s fine; we are not the only ones going through this. You need to know that you are loved. You are important and it is normal to have these feelings, especially when there are so many people out there invalidating others’ emotions. I’m not here to be one of them. 

This phenomenon is called seasonal depression, aka seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that is triggered by changes in season (MAYO, 2021). People start to feel “down” as the days get shorter in the fall and winter and begin to feel better in the spring with longer daylight hours. You may be wondering what causes SAD but according to the Cleveland Clinic, researchers don’t know the exact answers to this question. Theories suggest that it may be caused by biological clock change, brain chemical imbalances, vitamin D deficiency, melatonin boost, or even negative thoughts. 

I know you might be feeling unsalvageable but what if I told you four natural chemicals in your body can actually boost your happiness? Their names are dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin but I like to call them happy chemicals. According to integrisok, Dopamine, also known as the reward chemical, is activated when you eat food you love, when you achieve a goal or complete tasks, give and receive compliments, practice self-love, and self-care activities, and eat raw chocolate. Oxytocin or the love that that hormone is released when you spend time with people who make you feel good, so I suggest you get out and socialize. Other things you could do are: give or receive massages or feel any kind of physical touch, spend time with animals, or help others because acts of kindness are linked to increased feelings of well-being. Helping others can also improve your support networks and encourage you to be more active. This can improve your self-esteem. Endorphin, also referred to as the pain killer chemical, is produced and released when we stop being couch potatoes and work out, go for a walk, and or any other kind of active activities like dancing, cleaning your room with music blasting in the background, riding bikes, and even just stretching. Other things that can help your body release endorphins are listening to happy music, watching inspiring videos, or even listening to a podcast. Last but not least my favorite chemical out of the four, Serotonin, the mood stabilizer. Things like getting fresh air under the sun, being in the presence of nature, meditation, practicing mindfulness, laughing, and eating fruits like plantains, pineapple, bananas, kiwi fruit, plums, and tomatoes (which contain high amounts of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps with the creation of serotonin) are a building key to helping our bodies with the output of more mood-boosting serotonin. I know it’s hard to be going through falltime sadness and being active. I feel you, I just want to lay in bed all day, but that is not good for us, so I encourage you to try some of these methods. Please. 

Now, I want you to promise me this, even when things get tough, which I know they will and presumably are right now. I know people are trying to reach out to you to soothe you that everything will be fine and that they are here for you. Please, and I cannot accentuate this enough, do not push them away or close them out. You may not want to hear it, but those people care about you and would go to great altitudes to help you. So, even if you don’t think they’ll understand your pain, give them a chance. If you don’t let them in, you’ll never know. You are presently feeling isolated. You’re so alone that you don’t believe anyone can understand how much pain you’re in.

Finally, I know you feel like you won’t be able to get through this. I know it appears as if your world is collapsing around you and you are incapable of finding the strength to rise again. I wish I could tell you that you will one day be able to look back on this time in your life and laugh about it but as a person who is going through it, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to laugh about what I’m going through. But I know that one day I’ll look back and be proud of myself for persevering when I wanted to give up. You are meaningful in this world and have a lot of talent and ideas to share. Please. Take things one day at a time. Everything will fall back into place ultimately, so just keep going. I know you want all the answers right now, but I can’t give them to you, or even truly to myself. But I’m with you every step of the way. We’ll get through it together.