IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – What may be the 'most wonderful time of the year' for some, could bring depression and loneliness to others dealing with seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as seasonal depression.
SAD is a type of depression that sinks in when temperatures get colder and sunlight is more scarce.
The National Institute of Mental Health says SAD symptoms can start as early as fall and as late as summertime. It happens when there is a chemical imbalance because of less sunlight.
Not everyone who suffers with SAD has the same symptoms but most include excessive sleeping, social withdrawal and feeling worthless or hopeless.
Brielle Barney, from Rexburg, has suffered with seasonal depression for three years now. For her, it can be isolating and exhausting.
"It feels pretty lonely. It feels like life is pretty unfulfilling. It's pretty repetitive is seems. You're pretty tired a lot. I just laid in my bed quite often... It caused me to not necessarily not like people, but just not be around them," Barney said.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 5% of adults nationwide suffer from SAD and is more common in women.
Because the disorder is fairly rare, Barney says, "I used to think that it was like almost a weakness to have, so I didn't like to talk about it. I was like, 'Oh, not everybody has this, that makes me weird and like, more weak than others.' I didn't really like to talk about it."
Barney has since come a long way in learning to cope with this kind of depression. Although those feelings haven't totally disappeared, she says she has made improvements over the years and encourages others to do little things every day to help.
She says getting out of the house and talking with friends and family, as hard as it can be, was the best way to get her out of her dark thoughts. Everyone has different ways to cope and improve.
Those who may feel isolated, have no one to talk to and/or experience suicidal thoughts are encouraged to use the new national hotline 988 for help.