Thursday, May 5, 2011
Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder with Bach Flowers
Are you feeling kind of foggy lately? Around my part of the world at least, that would seem to make sense as our internal moods are often affected by the weather patterns, and we haven't really seen a lot of sun these days!
The Canadian Mental Health Association (and the American Association as well for that matter) agrees with the idea that weather affects people's moods. It seems to be a concept shared by both conventional and alternative healers around the globe. It seems to be one of those things that really can't be disputed, although how close a connection, or the reason for the connection, may be still argued according to your mindset.
In conventional medicine, once a connection or a reason for a condition or set of symptoms is known, it's quickly given a title or a diagnosis. Seasonal Affective Disorder, which just so happens to make up the acronym SAD, was recognized in the early 1980s as a mental health condition characterised by bouts of depression that followed seasonal patterns- in particular shorten daylight or little sunlight. Although more common during the late fall through the winter months, it turns out the symptoms also can occur in the late spring or early summer. A lot of research has been, and continues to be, carried out to examine these seasonal patterns.
I'm sure I'm over-simplifying the issue, but to me what it boils down to is that you can be depressed or feeling slightly gloomy any time of the year for no other reason than that the weather is gloomy as well! The lack of sunlight in your life starts to mimic how you feel about things.
The Canadian Mental Health Association identifies the symptoms of SAD as including:
- craving sweet or starchy food
- weight gain
- decreased energy/fatigue
- tendency to oversleep
- difficulty concentrating
- avoidance of social situations
- feelings of anxiety and despair
They further identify the signs of "summer depression" as including poor appetite, weight loss, and trouble sleeping.
There are a lot of conventional treatment solutions for SAD including light therapy, behavioral therapy, and antidepressant medications.
Bach Flower essences can also be an alternative therapy for the symptoms of SAD. The Bach Flower Mustard, is one of the first essences to consider when this type of mood strikes. Mustard is described as the essence that is indicated for the type of depression that comes for no apparent reason and lifts just as suddenly. It is helpful for those that feel as though they have a dark fog hanging over them. The person needing mustard often feels like they are taken over by a sense of gloom and weariness even though nothing tangible seems to be connected to this feeling. They just feel sad without really being able to describe why.
Most people when they feel gloomy or depressed try to find a reason for the feeling. Often if you dig deep enough you'll come up with something! For most people, if nothing else is apparent, a lack of money, or love, or both, can be used to "justify" the feelings of gloom. Then your thoughts do seem to have a reason and it can become a vicious cycle that it's hard to crawl out from under even when the sun makes it's way out of the fog.
So, if it feels like you are digging to find a reason for the foggy feeling, you might try letting go of the attachment to a reason and try a few drops of the Bach Flower Mustard instead. You may find the essence helps restore you sense of joy. It can help you find inner stability and peace despite the lack of external sunlight. There are other Bach Flowers that may help with the common symptoms of SAD as well, and combinations may include Olive, Water Violet, Beech, and Walnut.
Instead of responding to the external fog and gloom by creating your own, try some Bach Flowers and see if you can get a lift to your spirits. Then when the sun does reappear (and it will- I'm pretty sure..) you'll be ready to enjoy it!