DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is basically a state of depression that comes as a result of the seasons. She gets down during the winter months, when there is less sun and more dark days, and is happier during the summertime. To alleviate some of the problems, whenever we go on family vacations we always go somewhere warm and sunny -- which isn’t so bad, if you ask me.
I am afraid I may be suffering from SAD, too. Do you know anything about depression or mental health disorders? Are family health issues often passed down? -- SAD Woman, Baltimore
DEAR SAD WOMAN: I have heard of this disorder and know that some people are more irritable when the weather is cold and wet. If you feel like your mood swings are debilitating or more pronounced when the weather is extreme, it is worth it for you to visit a doctor to discuss your options. Get a medical evaluation and learn what you can do to support yourself.
As far as family issues being passed down genetically, it certainly can happen. Not being a doctor, I do not know about this particular condition. I highly recommend that you consult a medical professional to learn what’s going on with you and to get coping skills to help you through tough times.