What Should Christians Know about Seasonal Affective Disorder?
- Glory Dy Christianity.com Contributing Writer
- 2021 30 Nov
There are moments in our lives when we feel down, depressed, and simply everything just does not seem to work out. As Christians, we should know that if this feeling stays and is detrimental to our daily lives, we should visit our doctor. Possibly, you may just feel sad, or possibly you could have Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
SAD is a pattern of significant depression episodes that come and go as the seasons change. For example, when it is winter, someone with SAD may feel a bit low and depressed, or if there is a sudden loss or downfall in finances and even regrets, the season can intensify them.
While this may sound like a passing disorder the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders specifies that it can be present in major depressive or bipolar disorders, however, all criteria of bipolar disorder should be met in order for seasonal affective disorder to relate to bipolar disorder.
Recurrent episodes of depression, hypersomnia, enhanced appetite with carbohydrate cravings, and weight gain characterize the most well-known form of seasonal affective disorder or winter depression, which begins in the autumn and lasts through the winter months.
However, do not fret, SAD can be treated in a variety of ways by doctors. Light therapy is one example of such clinical treatments. This is because patients with SAD have a history of responsiveness to environmental light and suffer typical atypical vegetative symptoms during depressive episodes.
If your mood shifts with the seasons, you're not alone. If your symptoms are interfering with your everyday life and functionality, talk to your doctor about seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or subsyndromal seasonal affective disorder (SSAD) (S-SAD).
In addition to clinical treatments, as Christians, we can do the following in order for us to get through our tough times in dealing with seasonal affective disorder. Let us be reminded of the following when we feel SAD.
Winter Serves a Purpose
Everything has a purpose and that includes winter. Metaphorically, winter can be compared to our trials here on earth. We face them and we feel depressed when they are difficult to overcome.
The Lord has always been vocal about this in reminding us that every time we face trials of many kinds, we have to consider it a great blessing. It is because these trials will test our beliefs and lead us to persevere.
It will make us mature so that we may be able to finish the work of Jesus (James 1:2-4). This is the purpose of the winter that comes into our lives. It literally makes us grow as Christians and grow as humans in this world.
How does this knowledge of the purpose of winter help you during your seasonal affective disorder? It helps you understand that there is a purpose to why you feel low.
It lets us persevere from the adverse effects of the symptoms that we face. When we are reminded that this is something that has a purpose, we are assured that we can get through it because God does not give us trials that we cannot face (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Winter Is a Sign of God’s Unchanging Character
What is true about God is that God is unchanging and so is His character. He does not lie and never changes His mind (Numbers 23:19). Simply put, the Lord does not change (Malachi 3:6) because everything that God is, is perfect (James 1:17).
The knowledge of these facts gives us comfort when winter arrives in our lives. It is because we know that God will always comfort us because He never changes. He will always be with us during times of happiness and times of sadness.
One example of God’s unchanging ways is found in the New Testament about two blind men. God was merciful and ended the trials of these two men. See, God’s intentions are to do good things for us, and He does good things for us all the time.
However, we must remember that people who love God like us will not always have an easy life. However, things will work out in the end because God loves us just like the two blind men.
Winter Will Come to an End
God’s unchanging ways also give us comfort that winter will always come to an end. It is a part of life. Our suffering produces more endurance for us as Christians and therefore we have hope, and when we have hope, God is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:2-5).
Hope gives us the attitude of thinking that there is an end to the trials that we are facing because it is true, winter will always end. There are no trials that God does not end and there are no trials that God will not help us with.
That is why we have to thank God all the time for everything. When you give thanks to God, there is no way that you can feel sadness, and when we are rejoicing for all God has done, we feel joy. Joy is the end to winter or the end to sadness and we can find it through gratitude.
Winter Prompts Prayer
Now that we know that trials have a purpose, that it is part of God’s unchanging ways, and that God gives us hope that winter will end, let us put in our minds that trials entail meditation or prayer. Remember God reminded us that when someone is in trouble, we should pray.
When something causes us unhappiness, we should be encouraged to sing praises (James 5:13). This is a testament that prayer and meditation are important when we are unhappy or in trouble. Meditating on God’s Word works because it lets us speak of the glory of the majesty of God (Psalm 145:5) and it lets us connect with God fully.
Let’s take Paul’s experience as an example. When he and his companions arrived in Macedonia, he experienced trials. He was harassed at every turn by conflicts on the outside and fears within.
But the comfort of God was extended to them. Even though they felt sad because of the trials they faced, they experienced much joy greater than ever (2 Corinthians 7:5-7) because they felt the presence of God with them.
God’s Hope Will Come
People with seasonal affective disorder get depressed on a regular basis in the autumn and winter and then go into remission in the spring and summer. You are not alone if you have mood changes with the seasons. Talk to your doctor if your symptoms are interfering with your everyday life and functionality.
Additionally, talk to God when these symptoms arise. Just like any trial, SAD is a trial and God continually reminds us that it has a purpose, to help us endure. God is unchanging, He never leaves us and therefore He will always be at our side during these times. These times of depression will always end because God loves us. We have to pray always to communicate what we feel.
We have to remember that God is always with us during our highs and even our lows. Let us continue to pray for wisdom, patience, and perseverance.
For further reading:
Is God with Us in Our Depression?
What Does the Bible Say about Struggling with Mental Health?
What Does it Mean ‘For Everything There Is a Season’?
How to Remember That God Is Always in Control
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Tatiana Dvoretskaya
Glory Dy has been a content creator for more than 10 years. She lives in a quiet suburb with her family and four cats.