Emotional But Don't Know Why? The "Other" Sesonal Affective Disorder

Posted on November 28, 2015

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Have you ever noticed that your mood changes in a similar way at a particular time of year for reasons you can’t quite pinpoint? Maybe you often feel slightly on edge or blue during the week of Thanksgiving, even though nothing bad has happened (yet). Or you tend to feel anxious, irritable or vaguely ill at ease when fall turns to winter, which happens to be when your parents split up or your best friend moved away. The truth is, particular holidays, months or even seasons can carry emotional baggage that you may not recognize.

Each of us has emotional hotspots in time that are “irreversibly tied to our past,” according to Dr. John Sharp, a psychiatrist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the UCLA School of Medicine. “What’s happening is your mind is making sense of your experiences without your really thinking about it; it’s a form of pattern recognition.” In other words, it’s as if your subconscious is making a note to self, based on environmental factors or sensory conditions that trigger an association from the past.

Whether they’re obvious or hidden, these connections often involve memories of noteworthy events in our lives (such as moving to a new state or being in a horrible car accident or a frightening fire) or holiday-related family get-togethers. But they can also be tied to a particular loss (such as the death of a loved one or a devastating break-up or divorce) or to personal struggles (with finances or substance abuse, for example). “The emotions bleed across time from the past to the present,” Sharp explains.

Research refers to this phenomenon as “anniversary reactions,” “holiday effects” or “birthday blues” – and studies have found that the emotional impact is particularly strong for parents who have lost a child and for older, bereaved spouses.

The full article includes discussion on strategies to deal with these feelings. Read it by following the link below.


Source material from US News


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