People are plants: the existence of seasonal depression

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People are plants: the existence of seasonal depression

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It’s February, the cold heart of winter. You find yourself hibernating within the confines of toasty walls and technicolor entertainment. “I am the King of Potato Chips,” you think to yourself as you finish the fourth bag of Lay’s Original. You have quite possibly gained five-ish pounds. You have made a conscious effort not to acknowledge the existence of the world of brisk air and gray clouds outside. You live on your couch. You take seven naps a day. In the midst of this tranquil bliss, you feel sluggish, unmotivated, and casually hungry. Your mood lately matches the muted colors of the season.

This drudgery is nothing new, classified as a normal reaction to the winter weather. But when such behavior is exhibited so extremely as to the point of sharing characteristics with Major Depression, a psychological low-point is at hand. Severe de-motivation, general blueness, rapid weight gain, and other symptoms point in the direction of a somewhat rare disorder: Seasonal Depression.


Seasonal Depression is not a cyclical version of Major Depression.

Think about it, you can’t just hit emotional rock bottom at the sight of a snowflake and then find yourself in a seasonal euphoria the second you feel sunkissed. This isn’t Dr. Phil.

So what’s to blame?


During the wintertime, levels of heat and subsequently sunlight obviously drop. This apparent lack of sunlight, in turn, throws off the balance of circadian rhythms drops serotonin levels, and raises the presence of melatonin. The circadian rhythms operate as sort of internal body clocks that control our natural sleep schedules, thusly, as sunlight recedes, we may experience randomized and inconsistent sleep habits. And like circadian rhythms, the neurotransmitter melatonin has a profound hold on our sleep frequencies. Serotonin, on the other hand, is a neurotransmitter which affects mood and social behavior, and the less of it we have, the crabbier we are (and you thought you just couldn’t dig the Christmas spirit).

Not to suggest that we photosynthesize, but it seems that people have a lot more in common with plants than we thought.

The logical solution to Seasonal Depression would then be light therapy.

“White light tends to suppress melatonin production and keeps us more alert,” said Mr. Hammond, the SHS AP Psychology teacher.

The regional catch? We live in South Carolina. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a snowflake, much less a lack of sunlight here. Consequently, Seasonal Depression is much less common in this area than it would be in the frozen tundras of Alaska, or anywhere in Northeastern America. In fact, Seasonal Depression seems more like a myth than an actual condition in terms of the Sunbelt.

But then again, we represent the strongest evidence of humans as being giant walking, talking, fleshy plants.

So is the garden of life.

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