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How Do I Cope With SAD And Trauma?

In our previous QA article, we discussed SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder and how it can potentially be a manifestation of, or trigger of, trauma. During the changing of the seasons, particularly when fall or winter onsets, millions of people suffer a mild form of depression. Feeling a change in their energy, emotions, and mood, people become uncomfortable with the colder seasons. There are shorter daylight hours, more dark hours, and a greater sense of feeling slowed down. For those who have never experienced a trauma in their lifetime, the idea of feeling out of control of their own emotions and energy can still be overwhelming. However, for those who have experienced trauma, the feeling of being out of control of how one feels physically and mentally, or being out of control of the elements one is in, like the unstoppable winter, can be especially triggering. Trauma is very often something which happens beyond our grasp and control, which is a major contributing factor to the symptoms of PTSD we might develop as a response to trauma. Even if perhaps a traumatic event in our life was in our control somehow, the fact that we cannot go back and change it, and that fact being out of our control, is equally as disturbing. To anyone who hasn’t lived with the symptoms of trauma, something as simple as the seasons changing might seem overly innocuous. Yet, for someone who has lived with the many symptoms or manifestations of trauma and knows first hand how deeply triggering almost anything in life can be, SAD as a trigger for trauma makes perfect sense. As Judy Crane writes in her book The Trauma Heart, once we unravel the trauma story, the behaviors always make sense.

Coping with SAD when it triggers our trauma starts with figuring out the relationship between the traumas we have incurred in our lifetime and the elements of autumn and winter, or the changing of the season, which trigger us. Working with our trauma therapist, we can unravel the story and find the connection. Just finding the connection isn’t quite enough, though. We must then commit to new behaviors and forms of self-care to take care of our very specific needs- our needs of our past selves who lived through trauma and our needs of our present selves who are recovering from trauma. In our next QA, we’ll outline common and helpful self-care routines for coping with SAD and trauma.

If you or someone you know has struggled immensely with trauma, help is available. Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our residential treatment programs for trauma, addiction, and related mental health issues. 1-855-483-7800