Seasonal affective disorder is often referred to as SAD. The most common form of the disorder begins in the fall and continues through the winter months.
A friend who has this disorder may display the following symptoms.
* no energy
* over sleeping
* difficulty concentrating
* social withdrawal
To be very blunt, a friend with seasonal affective disorder is no fun at all. The first reaction is to simply stay away. However, the best thing for the friend to do is keep in contact and help the victim fight back. A true friend is there for the hard times and the struggles.
~ Take the friend out of the home
Don’t call ahead and make lots of plans. The friend will simply cancel them. Keep it simple. Show up and have them get ready. Take them to the market. Make certain they get some healthy options for food choices. Keep the outings, short, but often.
~ Get some exercise together
When you drive somewhere take the parking spot farthest from the door. This way the exercise won’t be formal and planned. It will just naturally happen.
Bring over some fun dancing music. Pop in the CD, dance and laugh.
Volunteer with the friend to walk the animals at the shelter.
~ Accompany the friend to doctors appointments
One of the symptoms of SAD is that the patient has a problem concentrating and processing information. A third party can hear instructions and take notes for the patient. They can help the patient pick up any medication that may be prescribed. Written documentation that the patient can continue to read and process is a good thing.
~ Assure the friend that SAD is a form of seasonal depression.
Hope is an important gift. Understanding there are things that can lessen the symptoms and it will not last forever gives a patient hope. There is no blame for this disorder. It often runs in families. Knowing this may help the patient to recognize connections.
~ Show compassion not pity
It is almost impossible for a patient with SAD to live a normal life during this season. A compassionate person finds ways to seek out and ease the friend into normal behaviors. Take them to dinner. Help them get to work. Take them to the gym with you. If light therapy is a part of the treatment, spend time under the lights with the friend. The light will not have a negative affect on anyone.
~ Don’t try and fix them
A friend can not be talked out of SAD by friends. This friend needs medical and psychological help. Help them find the proper resources.
A true friend helps without judgment. A true friend is there for both the good times and the bad times. A true friend can be a life line for a person with SAD. It can be managed, but never cured.