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View Poll Results: How much did moving somewhere sunnier help your SAD?
Definitely 5 41.67%
Somewhat 4 33.33%
Neutral 2 16.67%
A little 0 0%
Negligible 1 8.33%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-01-2016, 06:13 PM
 
1 posts, read 7,987 times
Reputation: 10

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I'm a 39 y/o male who's lived in Chicago for most of my life. I suffer from major depression and have since my teens. I rely on medication, exercise and other forms of self-care to keep myself stable.

My symptoms definitely get a lot worse during the darker months and have pretty classic seasonal affective disorder (SAD) on top of my usual depressive symptoms. My mood and energy start to plummet in September, reach their low in late December, and then make a very SLOW improvement through the end of spring. I'm always feeling at my best during the summer and on sunny vacations.

I've done my best to implement a lot SAD treatments each winter: Vitamin D, Lightbox therapy, early morning exercise, even UV tanning occasionally. Unfortunately, they only lead to limited and/or fleeting improvements. In fact, I feel like my SAD is getting worse every year.

I love Chicago, and the idea of moving away is scary. But I've been thinking of finally relocating somewhere sunny to see if I can make the other 3 seasons out of the year more bearable.

On the plus side, I'm not married or have a family to tie me down here. I certainly know there will be trade-offs to moving away (culturally, financially, socially, etc), but I'm hoping the benefits will outweigh the sacrifices after I settle down somewhere.

Have any of you been in my shoes and have any insight?
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:37 PM
 
6,183 posts, read 3,320,320 times
Reputation: 12162
Moving from MA to CO did nothing for SAD because I was at work from sunrise to after sunset anyway.

The single biggest difference that helped was NOT working the standard office hours. I noticed it during vacations and when I took time off to study full-time. Despite being in classes afternoon and evenings, having daylight mornings to myself for hiking or biking first kept those blues away.
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Old 02-01-2016, 11:04 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,865 posts, read 57,450,989 times
Reputation: 19172
Come to the Dallas area! We have long daylight hours (except for winter) and many sunny days. The economy is roaring, too.
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Old 02-02-2016, 05:47 AM
 
Location: In a house
13,253 posts, read 37,498,698 times
Reputation: 20198
OP, now that we're full into Winter, it's a good time to get your bloodwork done. Ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels, in particular.

During the winter months we northern-dwelling people don't have as much sun exposure as we do in the summer months. It's pretty common to have low vitamin D levels. And - low levels can contribute to depression and lethargy.

If it turns our you're one of those people who are low in vitamin D, then taking D can improve your mood. It won't help if your levels are already spot on, so don't go out and buy it unless you are genuinely low in it.

My doctor told me I was borderline low, in mid-autumn. She said I didn't need it all year round, but that in the winter I'd likely be fully into the "low" category and my overall health would benefit if I boosted it back up just a tech. So that's what I did. Just 400 units a day in the wintertime, nothing for it the rest of the year.

It does seem to have helped my mood for the past three winters but I can't say for sure if it's the vitamin D being back into normal levels that's doing it, or if the fact that I'm menopausal and my hormones are just not going nuts anymore is the thing.
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Old 02-02-2016, 05:51 AM
 
Location: Texas
44,169 posts, read 54,304,145 times
Reputation: 72988
I do not have depression, but I spent a summer in the mountains of Oaxaca with little direct sun (kind of always at cloud level, grey).
I was doing a lot of physical activity in construction.

Still almost drove me nuts.
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Prescott AZ
6,283 posts, read 9,460,158 times
Reputation: 12072
My adult daughter had quite a problem with SAD during the gloom in Fall and winter in Chicago. She took some medication, gained alot of weight, so went off it. Then we moved to Phoenix and walla !! The amount of sun here is practically 99 percent. We even wish for some gloomy days and rain, for a change. It obviously helped her alot and she says she will never move back there for any reason. Besides the lack of sun, the dirty snow, rusted overpasses and old buildings in Chicago don't help to raise your mood.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:34 AM
 
868 posts, read 417,199 times
Reputation: 1233
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foggy76 View Post
I'm a 39 y/o male who's lived in Chicago for most of my life. I suffer from major depression and have since my teens. I rely on medication, exercise and other forms of self-care to keep myself stable.

My symptoms definitely get a lot worse during the darker months and have pretty classic seasonal affective disorder (SAD) on top of my usual depressive symptoms. My mood and energy start to plummet in September, reach their low in late December, and then make a very SLOW improvement through the end of spring. I'm always feeling at my best during the summer and on sunny vacations.

I've done my best to implement a lot SAD treatments each winter: Vitamin D, Lightbox therapy, early morning exercise, even UV tanning occasionally. Unfortunately, they only lead to limited and/or fleeting improvements. In fact, I feel like my SAD is getting worse every year.

I love Chicago, and the idea of moving away is scary. But I've been thinking of finally relocating somewhere sunny to see if I can make the other 3 seasons out of the year more bearable.

On the plus side, I'm not married or have a family to tie me down here. I certainly know there will be trade-offs to moving away (culturally, financially, socially, etc), but I'm hoping the benefits will outweigh the sacrifices after I settle down somewhere.

Have any of you been in my shoes and have any insight?
I lived in Chicago and Arlington Heights till I was 27 and had the same exact problems as you, so I moved to SW Florida. NO MORE SAD. Best decision ever. It's been almost 3 years since I moved of endless summer. SW Florida might be the opposite extreme though, so you can always move to northern Florida or even moving somewhere like Atlanta would help a lot. Also take in consideration not just the temperature difference but that the days in SW Florida during the winter have over an hour more of sunlight then Chicago. In the summer time although our Florida sun is much stronger, our days are actually shorter then Chicago.
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:43 PM
 
535 posts, read 735,013 times
Reputation: 787
Moving from a climate like Chicago to a sunny climate made all the difference for me.
No need for meds, lightbox, therapy, etc. Make a plan and move
You won’t regret it.
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:07 AM
 
4,601 posts, read 3,095,755 times
Reputation: 9158
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

Lived most of my life in the gray dreary midwest. For the last 20 years I have lived in New Mexico, southern CA and the Carolinas. Much, much better!

I still feel it on overcast days, but they are much rarer than the midwest. And I can spend lots of time outdoors year round now.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:57 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
3,602 posts, read 5,962,131 times
Reputation: 4291
I was raised in Chicago and remained there thru most of my 20s. I didn't realize how much the gloomy weather there effected me until I moved out here and literally felt consistantly alive for the first time in my life. Every now and then we will have a few consecutive dark days here and it just draws me into the abyss...seriously, I had no idea how real this was.

I do miss the holidays back home tho.
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