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Author Topic: Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season  (Read 530 times)

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Offline nobody

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Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season
« on: January 06, 2014, 09:23:51 PM »
I struggle with social anxiety, chronic depression & intense insomnia, though most of the time I can deal with it & still live a fulfilling life, when winter comes, it just transforms into this incredible fatigue, stress & weakness to the point where my whole daily routine is nothing but 1 big panic attack. In summer, it usually takes around an hour or 2 to fall asleep, but when winter comes I can't fall asleep before 6am, even if I go to bed at 10 pm, then I have to go to my french courses, where, no matter how much sleep I've had, I always feel very tired, have a racy heart, feel like I'm going to pass out or just stop existing every 5 minutes which completely throws any attempt to concentrate out the window, I have to keep leaving the class every 10 minutes to go to the bathroom, just to look at the mirror & try to convince myself that everything is ok & that I'm not going to die. When I'm trying to fall asleep, or when I'm not at school, I get this persistent pressure in my neck, it feels like my veins are blocked, it doesn't hurt, it's like an intense stiffness around the back of my head & neck & I often feel an odd pressure & throbbing in the right side of my head, from the neck going up to the temple. Sometimes when I don't move at all for a while in an attempt to fall asleep, a side of my brain feels like it's being squeezed, like it's about to stop working which makes me bolt up & feel even more stressful than before.

None of these things, however, happen during the summer, or any other season, so I don't understand what it is. I've tried exercising more to maybe make my heart work better & get rid of the stress that way, but that just makes my neck feel even stiffer. I tried medication like citalopram & remiron, which I used for more than 6 months, but seeing that it had absolutely no effect on me I stopped using them & no longer trust that pills can do me any good.

I don't know how much longer I can go on knowing that 6 months out of a year I'm completely miserable, so I turn to you in hopes that you can help me resolve this issue.
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 06:44:25 AM »
You ever hear of a light box? It mimics the sun. The one thing we miss out on during the darker months of the year. They are cheap to buy these days. They have a timer on them. You start off with just a few minutes each day and build it up. Now you never look directly at the box. That will blind you. You simply put it on next to you. Just go about doing what you are doing. Loads of people have had success with them. Depends on the person. You have to put some effort in yourself. The light box is not the miracle cure. It is there to give you a helping hand and replace that sunlight you are missing out on. Might be worth looking in to.
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The Lovable Irish Rogue

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Re: Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 07:37:58 AM »
At this point I'm willing to try anything, & this sounds somewhat plausible too. But those things are pretty expensive, is there a specific brand or model I should be looking out for? The price range is sketchy, so I don't want to buy something that won't work in the end.
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Offline tinam7

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Re: Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 08:09:04 AM »
There is such a thing as SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is real enough. Cuch has a good suggestion. Now having been snowed in for several days I know how I started to feel.

My approach was to get out, no matter what. Needed to see the sky, feel the air, however cold. Felt better returning home. Like an Outward Bound experience. Now I am also into CBT, all manner of exercise and meditation. Maybe it can help you. Wishing you the best.
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 09:45:40 AM »
I bought a small one here in Ireland for only 30 Euro. That is cheap. When they first came out they were 100 plus Euro. Suppose it depends where you live. Check out E Bay and Amazon for any cheap deals.
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The Lovable Irish Rogue

Offline nobody

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Re: Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2014, 04:26:07 PM »
Aight, I was just a bit thrown off looking at ebay, as there were all these lightboxes from $150 & up (some  even above $500 range) & then there was this one lone lightbox for mere $50, so I didn't know whether I can trust it or not, or should I just invest in a more expensive one. I guess if 30 Euro lightbox works for you as well as it should, I really have no reason to waste a fortune on the more pricey ones & just go for the cheap one.
Thanks for your help, let's hope this thing does some magic!
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Offline alesha

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Re: Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2014, 11:34:37 AM »
I have had trouble this season with feeling so isolated and trapped myself! The moment I found out its suppose to snow, I cringe! It definitely takes a toll. I have the cabin fever... winter blues!  Cant wait for spring... or at this point just to see the grass and be able to get out and be able to do something!
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 01:57:21 AM »

Hi folks.  I always knew I could be affected by dark Chicago winters and there was SAD, seasonal affective disorder which causes depression.
But in the last few weeks, I've felt "generalized anxiety."  I hate GAD as it makes me feel vulnerable and nervous a lot.  I learned there is also seasonal ANXIETY disorder.  That would explain a lot and actually
reassures me.

I bought a light box about 15 years ago from SUNRAY.  It's a big one the size of a window of sunlight.  Lately I've come to appreciate just how
effective it is for the anxiety.  I wake up 30 minutes earlier and sit in front of it.  I plan to do this every day till winter has turned to spring.
It did cost about $400, but in all that time I maybe changed the neon bulbs once.  I recommend it.  Or if you have a friend with one,
sit in front of it for a period of time and see if you can feel a difference.
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Online AncientMelody

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Re: Dramatic increase in stress & anxiety during the winter season
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2014, 08:10:45 AM »
The key on the lightbox is to get one that has 10,000 lux, that has been shown to be the most effective for SAD symptoms. You could see if your insurance covers it as well, my psychiatrist wrote me a prescription for one, so hopefully I'll be getting mine tomorrow.
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