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The Wire

The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

Keeping Busy to Prevent Seasonal Depression

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Photo Credit: Katie Olson
Seasonal depression affecting students mental health.

During this winter season as the holidays are just ending, students of West Potomac High School might be starting to feel symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder more commonly known as Seasonal Depression or SAD. 

Seasonal Depression is more common in the winter, especially because the lack of sunlight and length of days are shorter compared to the summertime. This makes it so people’s bodies produce more melatonin which can make them very tired, and it also is inferred to produce a chemical in the brain that leads to depression.

If students are starting to feel down during this frostbite of a winter, they need to make sure they are doing things that have always brought them joy. 

Since students and staff are in the middle of the school year, it can be easy for them to lose track of doing their favorite activities. “Sometimes I forget to do my favorite activities because of school work,” Kira Canizalez (Freshman) said. Work and school can be very stressful and hard at times but putting too much pressure on yourself is never a good thing. Students need to make sure that if they really love doing something, they make time for it in their schedule, even if they are busy because in the stress of doing so much work. There can be times people forget how much they need to find time for themselves. Maybe this means they start making time to hangout with friends, or maybe go on a walk with their dog every so often, or even watch an episode of the show they love.

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It is vastly important to make sure students and staff are putting themselves first ahead of school and work because mental health should come first in any situation.

If someone is feeling sad, sluggish, hopeless, or even guilty, ensure that they aren’t feeling these every day, because these are symptoms of Seasonal Depression. “I think it’s important to know that when the weather is not nice, and you don’t feel good, I don’t think that means you have seasonal affective disorder, it’s just a yucky day so you feel yucky,” Ms. Lauren Heslep, school social worker, said. 

Small things like not being able to concentrate and not being able to sleep or sleeping too much repeatedly can be signs of SAD but make sure that students talk to their trusted adult before they make a diagnosis because it could be signs of other things too. It is also more common to get diagnosed with Seasonal depression after age 18.

There is a lot of overlap between the depression most people are familiar with and seasonal depression. “…like the mood symptoms and sometimes loss of interest, negative thinking and all that can be the same but there’s definitely more of a loss of energy and maybe feeling really sleepy even if you’ve gotten enough sleep.” “With seasonal depression there is actually some evidence of over-eating and craving carbs,” said Ms. Megan Runion, West Potomac school Psychologist said.

Seasonal depression is a hard thing to go through but know that everyone is not alone and if they need help, they can find it almost anywhere. If someone has symptoms, they should talk to their trusted adult or counselor and if things are starting to get worse, they can seek more professional care.

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About the Contributor
Katie Olson, Reporter
Katie Olson is new to West Potomac, starting her freshman year at the school. Katie currently enjoys playing soccer and field hockey with her friends. She also loves music and her favorite artists include Taylor Swift, Drake, Harry Styles and The Weekend. This school year, Katie hopes to make new friends, get more involved in school activities, and have an amazing year over all.

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