Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Does buprenorphine treat depression? Is my depression from Suboxone? Will Suboxone treat bipolar? Will naltrexone or Vivitrol make me depressed?
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Acoustic
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Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by Acoustic » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:36 pm

There was a topic down below that dealt with this, but I thought I start a new thread in case anybody else is struggling with this problem this time of year. I'm just a few weeks into my Suboxone induction, and so far things are going pretty well. Though it did take a week or two for things to level out for me.

I know that in the past one reason I've been prone to opiate addiction is depression, especially seasonal depression, particularly in the fall/winter/early spring. My addiction did help to numb me, but it's time for me to deal with it in more healthy ways. Exercise has helped some in the past, the trick is getting off my rear and engaging. I've tried a couple of medications in the past (Stratera, Wellbutrin), but I didn't get much relief and the side-effects made them not worth it. I'm going to give the Suboxone a couple of months before I consider another medication. I'd prefer to manage it naturally if I can.

I did want to mention in case it's of any use to others with this problem, that light therapy has helped quite a bit. I've got an alarm clock (Phillips I think), that slowly gets lighter in the morning with a bulb that imitates the gradually increasing light of a rising sun, until wake up time, when natural sounding chirping birds roust me completely. I have to admit, I love that stupid fake bird alarm. It beats the hell out of waking up in the pitch dark to a blaring alarm that begs to be thrown across the room. I also have a different lamp that imitates natural light that I just sit in front of for 10-15 minutes per day. There are several that pop up with a google search, that I'm sure would work just as well as mine. I can't say that these eradicate the depression, but there is no doubt that they help me a lot.

I'm at around 40 degrees north latitude, so we get pronounced seasons, and I need to remind myself that there are great things happening in each of them. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it helps to remind me that our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are getting their turn in the sun when fall rolls around for me. I like to think of those Emperor Penguins (featured in the documentary "March of the Penguins"), that gather in a group to fight off the fierce wind, cold, and darkness of the long Antarctic winter, while they attempt to incubate their eggs resting on their feet. I imagine the relief they must experience when my autumn begins and their spring gets underway. Thinking about their landscape becoming lighter, warmer, and more hospitable while my landscape gets colder and the days get shorter helps me remember the cyclical nature of the seasons and helps give me perspective.

My family tends to spend a good deal of time outdoors in the summer, and often gather around the campfire at night and chat and sing while I play guitar. So, playing when I'm feeling down is a good way to help chase away the blues and channel some of that summer feeling.

I also like to watch a movie or nature documentary set on a tropical island, African Savannah, or some other warm, bright place that can transport me along with it for a while.

Feel free to chime in and commiserate with me about the waning light if you like, or if you have ideas and strategies for coping with it. It feels good just to write this down and remember that I do have some ways of dealing with it. I'm feeling better already. Thanks for reading.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by 49stars » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:22 pm

Today I really felt the darkeness. The sun came up at 9:23 today, so it wasn't fully light until around 10:30 on my side of the buiding. I live at 61° N. In a lot of ways I think I feel less SAD with the snow on the ground to reflect light than when I lived in a rainy winter climate.

I have used a SAD light also but the jury is still out. I'll use it again this winter and take notes. I have always wanted one of those alarm clocks, acoustic!!! My husband might not like it though, since I get up way before he does.

I love the idea of a nature documentary. This year we are going to go to LA in Feb. to try and get away from the cold winter, I might just want to stay... In 2009 my boyfriend (now husband) and I went to Mexico in December. It was 85° there and -20° when we returned. The 100° difference was shocking to my system.

When I first got off of heroin, I snowmachined a lot. That was the best for chasing the winter blues away. Now that I have two kids, I haven't gone on a good trip for a long time. They are getting closer to the age of being able to ride their own sled though so that is exciting.

Now I play hockey, which is awesome, but it is only once a week. Getting motivated to go to the gym or on a walk can be hard without a friend there to drag my butt out of the house.

This year I am going to try an maintain the ice on the lake across the street from me. I think that will give me some motivation, maybe. It can be hard to go out after working all day in the cold and the dark.

I used to love the winter, but now I am feeling a little like I might want to take a break from intense winters, or just live somewhere where it snows a ton and life is less busy. I am not sure if it is the ice that bothers me, the busy-ness of life, the cold, and/or the darkness. I am probably just being romantic about small town winter life. It would probably be annoying.

Thanks for bringing this up. I needed it today.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by Acoustic » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:33 pm

Ah yes. 49 Stars, I get it. THE winter wonderland... I'm jealous if you have access to snow machines. I took an overnight trip a couple of years ago. After riding a couple of hours we slept in a warming hut with a small wood stove. Loved every minute of it. Maybe that's the secret, find more ways to engage in winter sports. I have a bad habit of cursing the season and seeing it as an obstacle, when really it does present some unique opportunities. Especially for someone from the state with the "greatest snow on earth". Hey, I didn't claim it...

On second thought, now that I'm not spending my off time chasing opiates around, I do find myself with a bit more cash... A couple of trips to Mexico per winter would probably help stave off the blues even better.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by jennjenn » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:53 am

I love Fall & Winter. I actually feel the seasonal sadness (I won’t say depression because I don’t get down and out that bad but it is a sadness/grieving process) when Spring & Summer roll around. The dreary days where the leaves are different colors falling off the trees and just cold enough to put a sweatshirt on...... omg I love it! This is my time of year. Winter is the same for me, I live in Tennessee where the wintertime is cold and snow comes and goes.

I think I hate Summer because it has gotten so hot and humid here over the last few years that we have warnings to not be outside after 1-2pm because it’s dangerously hot. That kind of hot can just make ya miserable. My fiancé cuts and splits wood to sell during this time of year when he’s home on weekends (he loves using his wood splitter is really why he does it), we are just a family that enjoy cooler times of the year & it’s much easier to deal with.

I do understand what ya mean about just doing something in that season to help you accept it and maybe enjoy it as much as you can. In the spring and summer I garden a lot! I love taking care of all my plants and moving them outside so they can get bk to growing again. My son loves spring and summer (when it isn’t so hot you can’t stand it)..... I do usually start accepting those seasons I hate but in the beginning it’s just hard. I already dread spring coming! I can’t hardly enjoy this time of year for dreading it to come bk around next time..... I’m a little crazy I guess :)
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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by 49stars » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:51 am

I feel you Jenn! I love the coziness of fall and winter. I love waking up and drinking coffee as the sun slowly comes up, reading a good book, snuggled in my comfy clothes.
I am so glad it's friday so that I can experience this tomorrow morning.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:39 pm

Acoustic, I am at around the 40th degree latitude as well (39.8). I'm in Colorado, so we do get 4 seasons here, but it's darn sunny! It is said that we get 300 sunny days here in Colorado a year, but that just means we have around 300 days a year that the sun comes out at some point during the day. Actual "sunny" days are measured a bit more stringently, so we average around 250.

I grew up in the east (Vermont), so I have to say that I really appreciate the few days here that are truly gloomy. A full day of rain or snow here is unusual. I remember back to being a small kid in Pittsburgh (before we moved to VT) enjoying a day of John Denver on the record player and "reading" library books. It gives me a particularly homey feeling when I think of it.

Two days of gloom in this area is enough to make native Coloradans start melodramatically complaining that the sun will never return! Lol!

I prefer fall, winter, and spring myself, but I'm sure it's easier to live with winter here since the sun is always out. Another weird thing about winter here compared to Vermont is that the snow doesn't stick around. It's so dry and sunny here that the snow typically melts before another storm comes. In Vermont the many evergreens and the dense underbrush keep snow on the ground all winter once it starts.

I am pretty sure that my husband would have SAD if we didn't live here. I don't think I could ever make him live back east.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by jennjenn » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:39 am

I had no idea Colorado doesn’t have gloomy days very often! That’s so interesting! See, I never thought about that. It’s truly awesome to know certain places are so different than others and what one person sees every day, the other sees something different. Like Florida or California that experience warm weather all year round, I don’t think I could handle not having cooler weather and by cooler I mean in the 30’s lol :) Colorado seems nice!
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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by jennjenn » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:41 am

49stars what area are you living in right now? You don’t have to give specifics, just wondering what your winter is like.
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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:15 am

Between the username, 49 stars, and living at 60 degrees latitude, I'm going to guess southern Alaska.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by TeeJay » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:42 am

I have bipolar type 1, and often get sick around April (my autumn). It's usually depression, but last year it was mania? That was a fun change mind you.

It's really bizarre but this April has been unseasonably warm. Feels more like mid spring. Yet it's still happening? Perhaps it's the days getting shorter more than the actual weather.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) - Winter Blues

Post by BlueLight » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:31 pm

TeeJay wrote:I have bipolar type 1, and often get sick around April (my autumn). It's usually depression, but last year it was mania? That was a fun change mind you.

It's really bizarre but this April has been unseasonably warm. Feels more like mid spring. Yet it's still happening? Perhaps it's the days getting shorter more than the actual weather.
It’s most likely the sun. I’ve spent several weeks in the Southern Hemisphere on 5 separate winters now. My SAD lifts within 48 to 72 hrs of landing. If I spend the month of January “down south” I don’t suffer from SAD the rest of the winter when returning. But that is a luxury and I can’t afford to do that every winter, so I rely on 1.) my powerful full spectrum office lamp, 2.) full spectrum light bulbs LEDs in my standard household sockets. 3.). At least 60 minutes of walking / light jogging on treadmill every other day. 4.). Wellbutrin if all else fails...fortunately I haven’t needed this for 10+ years now.

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