SAD: “Beyond Sad”

By: Juliana Miller

As the air gets colder and seasons change, so does the mental health of those suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that fluctuates during a certain season or time of the year, though it is more prevalent during the dark winter months. It affects approximately 10 million people in America alone, typically between the ages of 18 and 30. 

Adrian Jay Pinsince, or more commonly known as Mr. P by his students, is a teacher at Westhill High School who has openly mentioned his struggle with seasonal affective disorder. It is something that he has struggled with for a while now, so he was able to learn and adopt new lifestyle choices to help him cope. 

Whether it be reading books, playing music, or drinking extra coffee, Mr. P finds ways to bring a little more light into his life, especially during the “dark cold days of winter.” One of his habits that seemed to spark the interest of some of his students was his daily bike rides to school. According to Mr. P, exercise pumps endorphins which are “nature’s happy juice”. Getting a little extra sunlight can make all the difference for someone suffering from SAD. Mr. P also mentioned the importance of spending time with family and friends. 

Over the past couple of school years, SAD has more notably impacted students as well. One of the causes being the COVID-19 pandemic and transition difficulties following distance learning. It is critical we eliminate the stigma surrounding the discussion of mental illnesses such as SAD. By bringing light to these topics, we can create a safer environment for those who do need help. 

Mr. Pinsince offered very valuable advice during his interview stating that “it’s not always easy” and “it takes a lot of courage to ask for help”. He made it clear that one of the best things someone can do is be kind to themselves. There are also great professionals both in and outside of school that students can go to for help. 

Seasonal affective disorder includes feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, anxiety, and depression among other things. The acronym spells “SAD” but it’s much more than that, therefore it makes sense that Mr. P would describe it as “beyond sad.”