• Tom Robinson

Do the seasons affect mood? Adrian Chiles discusses his own experience

Updated: Mar 4

There was a short article in The Guardian yesterday, written by famous broadcaster Adrian Chiles who is yet another person to open up about his mental health problems and difficulties, in an attempt to bring about change.


In the past, Adrian has been very honest and forthcoming about his problems with depression and alcoholism, but a diagnosis of ADHD seems to have given him more insight, and enabled him to interpret his own mind in a deeper and more effectual way.


This is something I talked about in a recent post - if you have mental illness, you have to become the 'expert of yourself', because only you can know what is going on inside the walls of your mind, and only you can know what actions you are going to need to take to rectify the problems.


Evidently suffering from low mood while writing the article, Adrian compares depression to long oppressive winters which last forever, and to seeing nothing but darkness and shades of grey in every circumstance and situation.


We know that the seasons have an effect on mood because of those that suffer with SADS disorder (seasonal affective disorder), but aren't we all affected to a degree by the transitions of the weather?


For the 'normal mad' (in this category I include everyone, including myself in my current state), there is a definite upshift in mood when spring brings with it a bit of warmth in the air and sunshine. I think it's always important to recognise that shift in mood whatever the individual circumstance, (as long, of course, as we're in an acceptable enough state to do so).


I realise that improving mood and looking after one's mental health by exercising, making good life choices, and benefitting from sunshine, are all possible when you are 'normal mad', but when you are 'mad mad' (i.e me when in severe depression), sunshine and exercise make no difference at all.


I've spent entire summers stuck inside with the curtains closed, unable to engage even with a sunny day before now, and for those people we need to be able to do so much more.


But, I do agree that weather and the seasons have an effect on our mental health and now that I'm finally in the 'normal mad' category, I can appreciate that fact and help myself in a much more effective way.


In the last few days the Baltic temperatures have subsided and although it's not warm yet, the chill in the air has disappeared, and the clear blue sunny days make things seem easier to handle somehow.


The 'normal mad' can appreciate the small representations of life returning in the form of daffodils (some even flowering), crocuses, snowdrops and other shoots on the ground, and (if you look carefully), the buds on the trees very subtly and gradually emerging once again.


It's nature's way of displaying that things can and will regenerate and change - seasons, moods, episodes of mental illness, whatever the circumstance or problem, there is always hope that things can improve, even when it feels like a ceaseless and continuous winter, and the days are filled with endless dread and gloom.


Low mood and depression have got to lift at some point and in the mean time, we have to draw on forgotten skills like patience and resilience to survive, until life opens up and offers us spring and summer days once more.


If you would like to read the article in The Guardian with Adrian Chiles, I have attached it here.


Thanks once again for the support, I am now reaching and helping others, which is so satisfying but I want to reach even more, so please keep sharing these posts.


Thanks for reading,


Speak to you soon,

TR

www.dyingtostayalive.com




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