East Stroudsburg, Monroe County - It's the time of year when people are expected to be jolly and happy but for some, that can be a struggle.
As days get shorter, people can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD. "Life is too short to be sad," said Carolyn Lafond of Lake Harmony.
Lafond realized something wasn't right when she had no motivation. She said, "I felt like a slump. I didn't feel like doing anything. I didn't have any interest in things."
Her doctor diagnosed her with SAD. It's a form of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. Many people get it in the winter. Psychiatrist Robert Morrow from Pocono Health System said, "Seasonal Affective Disorder is hypothesized to be related to the amount of sunlight that a person gets."
Doctor Morrow said sometimes SAD has mild symptoms, "Where your metabolism might slow down a little bit. You may need more hours of sleep than you do in the Spring or the Summertime. You might be more mentally sluggish."
But it can also turn into serious depression, "Where you have the sadness, the loss of energy, the poor motivation, the inability to enjoy things. Even crying spells or feelings of hopelessness or even suicide at times."
Morrow said getting some extra sun or using a sunlight box often helps people feel better. So does exercise. But Lafond said, "I did try to exercise and it just wouldn't go away."
If sun and exercise don't help, medications can make a difference. Lafond said the medicine changed her life. She added, "Everybody gets the blues and you get low but if it lasts, and it like affects your relationships I would say just go and talk to your doctor."