8 September 2023

September Affective Disorder

Steve Halsall

Red Tiger Consulting


I don’t know about you but the last week of August in the run-up to September has been a pretty low period of time for me. Personally, I like an element of order and control and this week I feel life is conspiring against me. I am feeling an increased amount of anxiety, suffering with a severe lack of sleep (waking at 3-4am) and have a desire to minimise my engagement with other people. Sometimes life gets on top of you, and you need to reset.

Steve on a September morning walk with his dog, when he wrote his post on seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

I’m writing this on a dog walk – when I say writing – I am dictating into my memo app and hoping that the AI can decipher my voice and present an accurate representation of my monologue. Walking the dog is my way to escape, clear my mind and perform a reset if required.

My long walks are akin to switching the computer off and then on again after it seems that prior to the reboot it is working way harder than it needs to. Multiple windows not being as responsive as they should be, a slight lag when I type, background processes sapping up CPU causing overheating, resulting in a whirring noise coming from the cooling fan, which sounds as though the laptop will take off at any moment.

September Changes: Seasonal Affective Disorder

My walk got me thinking about why I feel like this. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a genuine depressive condition that tends to occur in the winter, but for me I do think it has arrived early this year.  Symptoms of SAD include low mood and a lack of interest in life.

The fact that the nights are drawing in, it’s already dark before 8.00pm and the summer holidays are a distant memory doesn’t help! The next significant break will be October half term for some and then it’s the run up to Xmas. All but 2 of our bank holidays have been used and the next two are at Xmas! Although Christmas seems like a long way off we are only c100 days away!

The onset of Autumn and the post holidays blues are contributory factors, but it is also to do with that middle aged pinch I documented in my previous blog post, Stuck in the Middle. It feels like I’m juggling a lot of things between work, family and friends.

I am aware part of my problem is overthinking. When you aren’t distracted and you have time to think, sometimes you can draw your own conclusions on situations which may be very different in reality. This is certainly the case with me, where my assumptions, biases and limited beliefs all conspire to me thinking on the largely pessimistic side of certain scenarios. I need to try to quieten the voice inside.

I am not sure of the whole point in this blog post – but I suppose if you’re feeling something similar as we start the month of September, or even later in the year when the winter nights and weather properly kick in, you are not alone.  

As I finish this post off on the 7th of September I can say that my feelings were fleeting – I am now back up to speed work wise and my outlook is much more positive. I have an exciting weekend planned, the kids are settled back in school – life is good!  If you do feel similar think about how you can do that reset – it could be speaking to a close friend, climbing a mountain, or going for a walk. Remember, next week is a fresh start!

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Published by Steve Halsall

Steve is the founder of Red Tiger Consulting. He has worked in Location Planning for over 20 years – both on the consultancy side and client side. His passion is building successful teams that evolve their capability (skills, software and data) to meet the ever changing requirements of analysis. In his spare time he is mainly kept busy with his two children, falling in and out of love with Liverpool FC and at some point he wants to re-start his golfing ‘career’.


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