Weather impacts feelings of depression

Arissa Mejia

Some people look forward to cloudy and rainy days, they feel they offer fun and excitement, and give them the opportunity to play in the rain, splash around in puddles, or just stay in and watch movies. Unfortunately for me, the gloomy weather has a negative effect on my mood and makes me sulk in a melancholy mood, waiting for the sun to come out again.

It surprises me that the weather is able to affect how I feel in such a negative way. One day it could be sunny with clear skies and I’ll feel like the happiest girl ever, but if it’s gloomy the next day, I’ll waste away in my bed. No matter how many times I try to motivate myself to get out of that mood, it seems impossible.

Since the weather was affecting my mood so much, once I moved into my house I made sure to have the room with the south facing windows, because they consistently face the sun. The natural sunlight and heat of the sun is so comforting and it puts me in such a good mood. During the day I keep my curtains open until sunset so I can soak up as much sunlight as I can. Even once it’s dark I keep all the lights in my room on so it’s bright.  

I notice my mood especially goes down during the winter time, because the sun sets earlier, it’s cold, and the weather is overall bad. It’s sad in a way, back then I used to be excited for the winter time since it’s around the holidays, but now, it’s all I dread. 

I’m not going to self diagnose myself, but seasonal depression affects more than 3 million people in the US per year. Seasonal depression includes many of the same symptoms I experience, except for me it’s just gloomy weather in general no matter what time of the year it is. Many people have to suffer with that and it’s exhausting that the weather has this much of an impact on the way people feel. 

Honestly, I don’t understand how people who live in super rainy areas such as Forks, Washington, or other areas with the same weather, can handle it. Everyday would be miserable for me since they get up to 110 inches of rain a year, and on top of that it’s always cold, wet, and cloudy – the worst combinations.

Typically people from places where a bunch of rain is common, use sun lamps, which help seasonal depression by positively impacting people’s bodies and how they regulate melatonin, a hormone that helps control the sleep-wake cycle, as well as serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Not only do people who live in those specific locations use them, but people with seasonal affective disorder use them, and many studies show that it’s one of the first lines of treatment for SAD. I think it’s about time I invest in a sun lamp. 

People need to make sure they recognize the problem as it is the first step to getting better. Admitting that there is a problem is important to getting help and understanding what individuals can and cannot control. People also need to make sure they are kind to themselves and patient as they work through the process of getting better. Right now we all need to focus on getting through the next couple of weeks to make it to the summer where, hopefully, we are all able to recharge and rest…it’s been a rough year.