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seasonal affective disorder

does it affect you & your little ones? by farrah ritter

It’s that time of year again… the cloudy gray skies, lack of warm sunlight on the skin, and potential for people from all walks of life to experience SAD. SAD is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder and is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year”. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer. As parents, we don’t have the luxury to stay in bed all day and stay buried in the covers. We have little people to tend to and our mood needs to stay in check. Our health and well-being is just as important as theirs. Remember that analogy about putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you help someone else? This is so very important to remember, even though I know I tend to put the kids first most and neglect

myself. However, we can’t effectively help others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. I’m from Michigan originally. I lived there until 2006 when my husband and I moved to sunny South Carolina. Sunny is right. I burned out on the sun, as it was too hot, all the time. But we lived there for six years; it’s where we had our babies and familiarized ourselves with the radical change that is parenthood. We’ve now been living in the Netherlands for just over a year. It gets dark here so early, sometimes as early as 4pm, and the mornings are dark until 9am. My twins turned 3 in October, and my oldest is 4. I still feel housebound a little, but mostly because of the rain and not so much due to having babies to feed/change/nap/ rinse and repeat every day. The rain and colder temperatures certainly make life a little more challenging, but the lack of sunlight is something we haven’t dealt with before and it can be hard on all of us. multiplicity

One concern that I’ve had living here is being in a country and region that tends to suffer from SAD the most. According to The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010, the Dutch are the most depressed people in Europe. I have tried to keep this in mind and read the articles that I see on popular expatriate websites giving specific tips for us in this region. It probably isn’t much different from the Pacific Northwest, but for us coming from such a southern state, it was quite a shock to the system to rarely see the sun for 6-8 months out of the year! Like many of you, I’m no stranger to the feeling of being trapped inside a house with little kids. Regardless of the season, sometimes us parents of multiples get a little more intense dose of that isolation that comes along with being crippled with more than one baby at once. It’s intense, and it is something that in itself can drive you crazy, not to mention

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Profile for Multiplicity Magazine

Multiplicity Winter 2014  

Multiplicity's Winter issue complete with features including seasonal affective disorder, parenting resolutions, cutting the budget, getting...

Multiplicity Winter 2014  

Multiplicity's Winter issue complete with features including seasonal affective disorder, parenting resolutions, cutting the budget, getting...

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