Loving Someone with Seasonal Depression

Makenzie Parks, LCSW

Whether you're the partner, family member, or friend of a person with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the winter months can bring challenges to the relationship. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that typically begins in the fall/winter and resolves during the spring/summer. Symptoms of SAD include feeling depressed, acting withdrawn, lacking motivation, difficulty concentrating, and changes in sleep and eating habits. When a loved one has SAD, you might feel frustrated by their behavior or helpless and not know how to help.

If you love someone with seasonal affective disorder, here are some tips to use during winter months:

  • Learn more about SAD. Educating yourself about it and your loved one's experience can bring more compassion and understanding.
  • Avoid being critical. If you've never experienced seasonal depression, it can be difficult to understand. Remember that your loved one isn't choosing to feel this way.
  • Ask them what helps. SAD affects people differently. Your loved one might ask for practical things (such as to invite them on walks) or they might prefer emotional support and understanding.
  • Take care of yourself. Don't forget to set boundaries as needed. Remember: you can't be their only source of support. You can also encourage them to seek the support of a therapist.

Counseling services through Work/Life Connections-EAP are available to employees AND their spouses. If you or someone you love is experiencing seasonal depression, reach out to Work/Life Connections-EAP for support. Call 615-936-1327 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our counselors.