Feeling “Under the Weather”—The Practical Side

Have you ever been to a tanning bed? This topic came up in conversation with a friend of mine last week.  I told her I had only been to a tanning bed a couple times in my life (no judgment here if you go regularly). You see, as a Florida native, I have grown accustomed to—maybe even been unknowingly spoiled by—our extravagant amount of sunshine and balmy days.

My friend, who spent the first 20 something years of her life in Detroit, Michigan, said she went to the tanning bed for a few sessions every winter “just to see the sun.” Meaning, she wanted some sensation of seeing (and feeling!) the sun. She told me she never went to get tan—though she admitted that was a bonus—she just craved “the light.” In Detroit, where she grew up, it gets dark around 5 PM every day during the winter, and the winter lasts for several months.

Before this conversation it had never occurred to me just how much people crave sunshine. They are even willing to frequent tanning beds to have some semblance of it. And even though I am not accustomed to living life “without sunshine,” as a therapist I am familiar with seasonal depression. I can imagine how my mood would be negatively impacted if I was without warmth AND sunshine filled blue skies… for days on end. My conversation with my friend got me thinking about not only how weather affects our mood, but also about seasonal depression.

The onset of seasonal depression often occurs in fall and winter and may be characterized by hypersomnia, overeating, weight gain and/or a craving for carbohydrates. Maybe you have experienced seasonal depression. Do you feel blue every fall and then start to come around when spring begins? Or perhaps your seasonal depression is atypical. Maybe fall is your favorite time of year and now that the flowers are starting to bloom you just cannot seem to harness joy, no matter how hard you try.

Whatever type of depression you are experiencing (seasonal or otherwise), a licensed Orlando mental health counselor can help you. Whether you need individual, couple or family therapy, our trained therapists can help. Realizing you are depressed is the first step. The next and most important step is finding support. Our expert Orlando staff of psychotherapists is here to support you as you learn coping skills and identify and implement solutions to your specific life challenges. Depression is much too hard to navigate alone. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to begin your journey of hope. 


Yolanda Brailey