Thursday, December 11, 2008

Feeling Blue?

"You're looking awfully blue today.
Cheer up! Spring is just around the corner!"


(Male & Female Bluebirds) Photo by Jan Doble, 12/2008

It's not uncommon to hear people talk about feeling SAD around this time of year. Sometimes, it can be related to life events, and other times, chemical imbalances. The SAD I'm talking about is due to lack of light...which does produce a chemical imbalance in some people's brains...like mine, for instance!

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a form of depression that starts anytime from the late fall to early winter, and usually begins to subside by early spring, as the days become longer. As the sun begins to shine for longer periods of time, many people with S.A.D. notice a desire to get outside more, which leads to taking walks, and other outdoor activities such as gardening. Seasonal Affective Disorder appears to vary according to latitude, age and sex. At higher latitudes (farther North), there are more cases of seasonal affective disorder. Since sunlight decreases with higher latitude, the length of day appears to be a factor. It also tends to be colder in the winter, with harsher conditions and storms, as you travel farther North. (Psychology Information Online).


(2 Male Bluebirds) Photo by Jan Doble, 12/2008
According to the Mayo Clinic (online), symptoms of S.A.D. may include: Depression, Hopelessness, Anxiety, Loss of energy, Social withdrawal, Oversleeping, Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates, Weight gain, and Difficulty concentrating and processing information.

If you think you may be suffering from S.A.D., it is a good idea to first check with your doctor for a complete exam and evaluation. You may be given suggestions to follow, such as the use of a light-box. From personal experience, I cannot say enough good things about light therapy. Since using one this year, I have noticed a huge improvement in my mood, as compared to last fall and winter, when I was not using one. Please be aware, however, that in some individuals, use of a light box can create mania and is not recommended for everyone. For some individuals, more extensive treatment (such as antidepressant medication) may be necessary, so be sure to talk to your doctor prior to purchasing a light therapy box.


(3 Male Bluebirds) Photo by Jan Doble, 12/2008

Of course, like anything, there are many brands to select from. I am not in a position to promote any particular light box, however, it is important to choose a Full Spectrum system, (about 10,000 Lux) and an approved box which delivers no UV rays. Other features and factors to consider in a light therapy box can be found at this link: Choosing a Light Therapy Box

I don't know of any studies that look at S.A.D. in gardeners, specifically--but it makes sense to me that there could be a correlation. I've noticed several gardening blogs where the blogger has discussed his or her struggle with S.A.D. Gardeners usually love to be outdoors, and when it's cold and dark, the garden can't be tended to. Most gardeners crave the sun as much as the plants in their gardens!

If you are feeling blue, remember, you are in good company. There is something that others are doing to help themselves, and you can too!


(1 Female & 3 Male Bluebirds) Photo by Jan Doble, 12/2008
*S.A.D. can also effect people in the spring and/or summer. For further information about both forms, read the information provided by the Mayo Clinic (link provided, above) or, do a google search for Seasonal Affective Disorder.

--Today I'm thankful for...light!

31 comments:

  1. Lovely bluebirds Jan, fantastic. They look so happy at your bird bath! The post is very helpful and supportive! Take care and keep warm...gail

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Jan !
    Those are such sweet little birds .. I would love to see one in real life some time : )
    I really think there is a correlation with SAD and gardeners in particular .. we appreciate life and light so much when we get cut off (in the far north ? haha) it affects us quite profoundly. I considered a light box.. but for now I love these salt lamps !

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very informative, great photos. Thanks for the comment, I just signed up for Blotanical, not sure how it works. Help? And I read don't pick!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post! Working in an office for over 32 years, there were some really difficult winters. I was fortunate in that SAD was taken seriously at the software company where I worked. I was a senior employee, manager, etc., so I was fortunate to always have a window office. That helped.

    I'm so glad to be outdoors most of the time... although it's rainy with severe weather and tornado watches right now.

    Cameron

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your post is very timely as the northern hemisphere nears its winter solstice and longs for more daylight hours. It's funny how doctors and scientists think that providing a name for a disorder solves everything. Maybe it does for the pharmaceutical companies. Is there a pill for it yet, I wonder? I'll stick to getting as much light as possible and maybe indulging in some aromatherapy, which can also be mood-altering but without any adverse side effects. I love your birds conversing with each other. They're a cheerful sight anytime.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your blue birds are so beautiful. I put up a bluebird house last summer so I am hoping some will come to live.They are not staying around my house. I am so glad that SAD is being acknowledged now and that they are coming up with help for it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love your bluebird photos - just gorgeous! I know many people who struggle with SAD here in the winter months. Thanks for a very informative post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have never seen birds that look like that - those pix are beautiful. I have heard that the lamps are very helpful for treatment of SAD.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is such a interesting thought...about SAD and gardeners. I think you may have something there. mMny gardens love to be outside. they crave itas you say.
    Your bluebirds made me happy, too!
    Best regards,
    Philip

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi, Jan--What an informative post. I've been lucky in that I don't think I'm affected by SAD--on the other hand, we spend a lot of time in Arizona and I DO know the sun makes me feel good. Your bluebirds were the perfect illustration.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your bluebirds sure are sad today since they are so blue:) Whenever I think of SAD I think of Men in Trees and the police woman with her florescent lights she is always sitting in front of for therapy. Of course she is in Alaska and would truly need light therapy there I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good morning Jan, great and informative post just the way I like them and then the bird...just amazing. I don't know how you do it but they are brilliant photos, how do you keep them still :-)
    Have a lovely weekend/ Tyra
    Blooming Friday – blomming fredag i Tyras Trädgård

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your birdbath seems to satiate the Bluebirds and they look sweet. Are they localites? Do they always visit your birdbath?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent post and I love the pic of the bluebirds. In my country The Netherlands 10 % of the population suffers from SAD, myself included.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I absolutely love your photographs. You're a very talented photography. (And your writings are great also!)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello, Thanks for 2 Day

    Thank you for becoming a 'follower' of PICTURES JUST PICTURES. I'm really glad you like it.

    I voted for 'Can't Wait for Snow' on your poll. Not that we have any hope for it on the South Coast of England. It's just that I wish . . .

    About SAD. I'm the opposite. I love autumn and winter. The summer makes me wilt.

    I never see bluebirds in real life. Your photos are delightful.

    Lucy

    P.S.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've heard of it and wondered from time to time how much it affects me (living in northern Illinois). I imagine it does affect us to some degree but most of us can function normally.

    I loved seeing your blue birds. I've never had any so I envy you. Is that a heated birdbath?
    Marnie

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've wondered if the full-spectrum lights work, I've thought of purchasing one. Glad you wrote on this topic and gave your recommendation. By the way, love your photos and the comical caption!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dear Jan ~ you turned many lights 'on' with this timely post. I think many suffer some degree of S.A.D. ... I know, I do and crave winter daylight. But Dec 22 is near ... yea ... and why I am thankful for the Winter Solstice!

    ReplyDelete
  20. What an incredibly informative post Jan. The bluebird photos are lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Everyone! Please forgive my lateness in responding to you all! I'll be back here this weekend but in the meantime just wanted to thank you for leaving such wonderful comments and questions. I'm trying to figure out how to add another 24 hrs. to a typical day. There just don't seem to be enough of them

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Jan, love the bluebird photos (and that fat squirrel in your other post!). Are the bluebirds at your home all year long? I've been looking and waiting for the American Goldfinches to show up here but no luck yet. Great post.
    Jean

    ReplyDelete
  23. What beautiful photographs! Thank you for sharing! (I don't get here often enough, either!) :-)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Gail, Joy, Darla, Cameron: Glad you found this informative! That was the purpose, just to bring up the subject. Many people don't realize that lack of light may be the reason they're feeling low.
    Hi Walk2Write: S.A.D. is just one of many forms of depression in people, so it simply is a classification for people to rule out and recognize whether their low mood could be related to lack of light. Glad you liked the bluebirds!
    Hocking Hills, Blossom, Bonnie, Phillip, Cosmo, Tina: Yes, it's been recognized for some time now that lack of light is a factor contributing to depression in some people, and it's important for folks to be aware of it:) The bluebirds make me smile too:)
    Tyra, Chandramouli: The bluebirds have come to my yard for the last 3 winters, and just seem to hang out here all winter long! To me, it's a bright spot in the season! And they are drawn to the water provided in the birdbath.
    Yolanda Elizabet: Depending on which country you live in, the statistics vary, but I read where some places have up to 20% of the population effected. I hope you are able to get relief this winter:) Remembering & hanging on to the fact that there is 'light at the end of the tunnel--I mean winter'--is also something that can give us some amount of hope.
    Shady: Thanks for the compliment; the birds do all the work--I just snap the button on the camera. No talent is necessary:)
    Lucy: Having snow is a treat for me but I'm always glad to see it go! Sorry to hear you suffer from the spring/summer form of S.A.D. and I hope you are able to find a way to get some relief;)
    Roses&Lilacs: There are so many variations and degrees of S.A.D. in the population that it's simply helpful to be aware that it's not uncommon to be sensitive to the lack of sunlight.
    I do have a heated birdbath, and honestly, I think that's what draws them to my yard!
    SpookyDragonfly: The light might not work for everyone, since we all react differently to just about everything:) But it's worth looking into if you feel you're sensitive to lack of light. The caption just seemed appropos for this topic!
    Joey: If you can manage without light until winter solstice then you'll be so happy when it arrives! But that still won't give the light you so crave--that's why the light box could be helpful until spring. Everyone has to decide for him/herself:)
    PG: I'm glad you found this helpful, and happy you enjoyed the bluebirds!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Jean: The bluebirds have come only when it begins to get cold and I put out the heated birdbath. They feast on hulled sunflower seeds and fresh water all winter long! I am fortunate because we have goldfinches the whole year round!
    Shady Gardener: I'm glad you stopped by! Glad you enjoyed the photos!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Jan,
    I think gardeners are a little more apt to develop depression in winter. Wonder of one could use the sad light to grow seedlings? !! Two birds singing at once! Also vitamin D I've heard to help.
    kind regards,
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  27. Very interesting info Jan. I enjoy bird and smokie blooming over here. :) HUG

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wonderful bird photos...and such a variety of kinds, you must feed them very well!
    I suffer from SAD, usually starting in Jan., but since getting a light box a few years ago it is much improved.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I’m so happy to read this post. I’ve always thought in the past I was affected by S.A.D. but I have had several good years. It has me perplexed as to why I am suffering so much this year. Reading this post has helped me to realize I’m not the only one that feels this way. Though I do wish I knew why it is happening this year, I’m going to research the link you provided more. Jan, I really do like the idea that you list what you are thankful for at the end of each post. Would mind if I followed you lead and did the same on all my post? BTW your photos are fabulous! Hoping you have a happy New Year.--Randy

    ReplyDelete
  30. Jan,

    Thanks for reposting your article. I walk in all seasons (even when it gets really snowy up here) and I've found that the combination of the exercise and the light exposure has a really positive impact on my mood. Even when I'm feeling a bit low, and walking is the last thing I want to do, I go out anyway and then Yipee! the mood lifts.

    I think the same can be said of gardening... which as we all know can be aerobic exercise sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Your bluebirds are beautiful, Jan -- I hope they are always bluebirds of happiness for you. :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment! Please enjoy your TODAY and all of the gifts in YOUR garden of life!

Jan

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Post Topics

17 year Cicadas...Enough Already! 2011 Official Post 2012 4th of July collage 5-lined skink A Certain Kind of Light A Cozy Fire A Dusting of Snow A Family Meal A Hawkish Tale A Little Bit of Winter A Visit From Miss Glad on Blooming Friday A Visit With The Queen A Warm Cup of Tea Acorns African Violets African Violets:Kitty Style Agastache Allium Am I too late for GBBD Amaryllis Amazing Zinnias American Beautyberry American Hazelnut American Lady American Robin Anemone Anenome Anglewings Anise Hyssop Another Birthday aphids April 2010 April blooms Arbor Day Are Words Really Necessary? Artemesia Asarum Asclepias Asiatic lilies Aster Aster Yellows Audubon-at-Home August 2009 GBBD August 2013 Autumn Autumn Reflections Awards Awesome Azaleas Azalea on Ice;Picture This Photo Contest;Winter's Beauty Azaleas Azealea Back Yard Backyard Bird Series backyard birds Backyard Makeover Bald Eagles Balloon Flower Bee Collage Bee-Balm Bees Bees Busily Buzzing on Blooms Before and After Being Settled berries Big Eyes Bird Collage Bird Conversations Bird Itch Birdfeeding Birds Birds Before Blooms Birthday Books Black Swallowtail Black Swallowtail Butterflies Black Swallowtail butterfly cats Blackeyed Susan Bleeding Heart Blog Anniversary Blogger blogging blogging friends Blogiversary Blooming Friday Blotanical Blotanical awards Blotanical's 2009 Best Virginia Award Blue Blooms Bluebeard Bluebird Bluebird Fledglings Bluebird in Snow Botanical Interests Boulder Bouquet of the Month:April 2010 Bouquet of the Month:March 2010 Bright Flowers broad-winged damselfly Brown Creeper Brunnera Buddleia Bugbane Bulbs BulbsSproutinginPot Bumblebees Butterflies BUTTERFLIES LIVE Butterfly on Salvia Butterfly weed Calorie-Free Candy Camera-less in April Can You Guess What This Is? Can You Please Identify Me Can't Get Enough Cosmos Cancer Experience Cardinal Cardinal (Female) Cardinal (Male) Cardinal Flower Carolina Wren Carolyn's Shade Gardens Carpenter Bees Carpet Rose Caryopteris Caryopteris x clandonensis Catmint Cedar Waxwing CedarWaxwing celandine poppy Celebrate Your Freedom Cercis canadensis Certified Wildlife Sanctuary Chelone Cherry Blossoms Chickadee Chris McLaughlin Christmas Fern Christmas Rose Chrysanthemum Cicada's Ahead of Schedule Cicada's May 2009 Cicadas May 2013 Cinquefoil Clematis CobraHead Collage Collages Columbine Common Buckeye Common Whitetail dragonfly Composter Coneflower Containers Cooper's Hawk Coral Red Honeysuckle Coreopsis Corona Corydalis Cosmos Covered Hellebore Plants Cozy and Warm Cranberrybush Vibernum Crepe Myrtle Crested Iris Crocus Crocus 'Romance' Crow Cut Flowers From My Garden Cutleaved Coneflower Daffodil Daffodils dainty blue flowers Dayflower Daylilies December 2010 December Birds Deer Poop Desert Island Plant Challenge Desperate for Color on Bloom Day Devastation in the Garden Devotion Dicentra Digitalis purpurea Does This Outfit Make Me Look Fat? Dogs Dragonflies Dragonfly or Damselfly Dried Blooms ducklings Dutchman's Breeches Dwarf Nandina Dwarf Sumac e-Bird e.e.cummings e.e.cummings:i thank You God for most this amazing Earth Day Eastern Bluebird Eastern Comma butterfly Eastern Redbud Eastern Tiger Swallowtail eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly Ebony Jewelwing Echinacea Elderberry Emily Dickinson End of the Line Epimedium Euphorbia Evening Primrose facebook Faith Fall Color Project Feasting on Seeds Feb 2010 GBBD Feb 2010 monster storm Feeling Blue Feeling Blue? Finch Fire Pink First Day of April First Snow First Snowfall Project Fiskars Flame Azalea Flat Tire Basket Flick'r photo large sizes Floral Collages Focal Black and White photo Foliage-Followup Forsythia Fourth of July Foxglove Foxy in November Free Will Friends Fritillaria Frozen Blooms Galanthus Garden Garden Blessings Garden Blogger Bloom Day:November 2008 Garden Blogger Muse Day November 2009 Garden Blogger Muse Day:December 2008 Garden Blogger's Bloom Day:January 2009 Garden Bloggers Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Garden Bloggers Muse Day Garden Bloggers Muse Day (April 2009) Garden Bloggers Operation Christmas Child Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day Garden Bloggers' Muse Day: June 2009 Garden Books Garden Give Away Garden Give Aways Garden Give-Aways Garden Product Give Away Gardening Gone Wild photography contest Gardening Nude Gardening-by-Letter project GardenShoesOnline Garter Snake Ingests Toad GBBD Febrary 2009 GBBD July 2009 GBBD June 2010 GBBD March 09 GBBD:December 2008 GBMD May 2009 GBMD:January 2009 Geese in a Row--and Ducks too Giant Hyssop Give-Away Winner Gladiola Gloves Go Native Goblins and Pumpkins and Snakes oh my God in the Garden Golden Groundsel Goldenglow Goldenrod Goldfinch Goodbye March Graham Rice Gramma's Afghan Grapes Grasshopper Grateful Great Backyard Bird Count Great House Plant Census of 2010 Green and Gold Green Cure fungicide Hairy Woodpecker Happy Father's Day Haven Brand Manure Tea Hawk hawks Heated Birdbath Heather Heliopsis Heliotrope Hellebore Hellebore Collage HelleboreHover Hellebores Hellebores Book Give-Away Helleborus Helleborus niger Help Identify Animal Tracks Henry David Thoreau: Hepatica Heron Heuchera High School Orchestra Concert Highbush Blueberry Hip Mountain Mama Holiday Stress Holiday stress: How Much is Self-Imposed Holly Honored and Humbled Hornworms House Finch Hummingbird Clearwing Hyacinth Hyacinths Hylotelephium I Am Truly Thankful! I'm a bit Bee-hind Iberis Ice on Stream Ice Storm Ilex Impatiens Indentifying Butterflies Iris Iris reticulata It's Here Its Grown On Me Jacob's Ladder January 2010 snow January 2011 January 2013 Japanese Anemone Joe Pye Weed John Keats July garden 2010 Junco June 19th 2009 Just Be Gardens Kerria Kerria-Japanese Rose Keter Dynamic Composter Kombi Ladybird Johnson Lake Anna Lake Anna June 2009 Lake Vacation Lamium Lantana Late to the Party Again lavender Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Leyland Cypress Liatris Life Experiences Light Lilac Bush Limestone Liriope Liverwort Lobelia Lonicera sempervirens Luna the Greyhound Lungwort Lyme Disease Lyme Disease has gone to my Head Macro in a Mason Jar Mallard ducks March Birthday Bloggers March GBBD mention master gardener May 2010 May Apple Meaning Memorial Day 2010 Memories Mertensia Mid Summer's Eve Mid-June Blooms MidMarch Blooms and Foliage Milkweed Miniature Dachshund mishmash wednesday Mistflower Mites Monarchs Monarchs and Milkweed Monarda Monkshood Monthly Garden Bouquet Moon More April Bouquets Morning Light Mountain Laurel Mourning Doves MuhlyGrass Mums Muscari Muscle My Cat Smokie My Daughter My Dog James My Family My FIRST Enlarged Photo My Husband My Mother My Son My Yard Mystery Tracks Nandina Nandina berries National Cherry Blossom Festival Native Ginger Native Honeysuckle native plants Natural Habitat Nepata New York Fern Non-Natives Northern Flicker Not The Best Notecards November 2009 GBBD Now that's an 'ice picture Obedient Plant Oct 2008 GBBD Almost Ready Oct 2009 October 2009GBBD Of Gloves and Shovels Oh Say Can You See Okay so who or what is eating my plants Oliver Herford:I Heard a Bird Sing Operation Christmas Child Pain Management Techniques Pansies Pansy paperwhites Pay It Forward Project Pay-It-Forward gift-giving exchange Peanut Feeder Peonies by Mary Oliver Peony Perennials Perennials in my garden Perovskia Personal Poetry Personal Poetry: Petunia Phlox Phlox paniculata photo contest Photography Contests phytoplasma Pieris Pieris Japonica Pileated Woodpecker Pine Siskin Pink Azalea Pink Peony Planting Natives Plants on Ice Poetry Pollinators Polymonium Pond Critters Poppy Potentilla Potomac River Pretty Pink Peony Has Popped Prize Winners Product Reviews Project FeederWatch Pulmonaria Pumpkin Carving Purple Coneflower Purpose Questionmark butterfly radishes Rain Rain Barrel Rainbarrel Rainbow Project Rainy Days Raspberry and Lemon Sherbet Reasons I Garden red admiral Red Winged Blackbird Red-Bellied Woodpecker Red-Spotted Purple Red-winged Blackbird Redbud Relaxing Remember Renee's Garden Revised GBBD February 15 Richmond VA Robert Frost Robin Robin'sNestingPlace Rock Soapwort Rock Solid RockSoapwort Roly-Poly Squirrel Rose hips Roses Roses with Thorns Rosy Maple Moth Rudbeckia Rudbeckia lanciniata Russian Sage S.A.D. Salvia Salvia greggi Samuel Taylor Coleridge:The Nightengale Sanguinaria Scilla Seagulls Seasonal Affective Disorder Security Blanket Sedum Sedum Autumn Joy Seed Planting Experiment Seed Starter System Seed-Planting Experiment#1 Seed-Planting Experiment#2 Seed-Planting Experiment#2 (cont.) Seeds Sense of Humor September blooms September Blooms:A Series of Surprises September Surprises #3 Serviceberry Shades of Blue Shady Gardener:Gladsome Be? sharing Sharp-shinned Hawk Shawna Coronado Shirl's Garden Watch Siberion Buglose Skink Slaty Skimmer dragonfly Snake Snake skin Snow Snow in Spring Snowdrop Anenome Snowdrops Snowstorm Solomon's Seal Sounds of the Birds Speedwell Spicebush Swallowtail Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly cats spicebush swallowtail caterpillar Spider Webs Spiderwort sprained ankle Spring Buds and Bulbs Spring Has Sprung Spurge Squirrel Squirrels stainless steel water bottle Standard Poodle Starling Steam on Fence Strawberries Succulents Summer Flowers SunRays Sunrise Sustainable Living project Swallowtail Butterflies Sweaters Hoods and Coats Sweet Allysum Sweet William Teacup and Teapot Tete-a-Tete Thank You to Phillip Thanksgiving The Best Christmas Gifts The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting The Gardener's Guide to Growing Hellebores The GGW photo contest I 'almost' entered on time The Multi-Hued Greens of Spring The Ocean The Seed Keeper Company The Sun Shines at Night The Thrush This Ain't No April Fools Joke This aMayzing Day Thyme Tiarella Titmouse Toad Lily Tools Toulouse goose Tradescantia Tree Sparrow Trees Trillium Trout Lily Tufted Titmouse Tulips Tulips in Spring Tulips on Thursday Turtle Crossing turtle garden Turtlehead TX-Bluebonnet Umbrella VA Gardener Magazine Valentine's Display variegated foliage Verbena Veronica Vinca Violas Virginia Bluebells Virginia Gardener Magazine Wake Robin Walt Whitman:Miracles Washington DC Water Fountain Water Garden Waterfall/Stream WBBS Wednesday Words Weeping Willow West County Gardener What Are You Waiting For What d'ya think Janet What's Happening? What's New in November White Embden geese White Peony White-Breasted Nuthatch Wild Geranium Wild Ginger Wildflower Wednesday Wildflowers Will the Real Turtle Please Come Out William Wordsworth William Wordsworth:The Daffodil's Willow Leaved Sunflower Window; Death; Personal Photography Winter I Am So Over You Winter is for the Birds Winter Light Winter Solstice winter storm slide-show Winter Walk-Off 2014 Winterberry Witch Hazel Woodfern Woodland Pinkroot Woodpecker WORDLESS Friday Wordless Wednesday: Wren X-Rated Yellow but not Mellow Yesterday and Today Zinnia Zinnia Bud (Plan B)
Loading...