Week of:
Dec 11, 2020

Can't wake up in the winter

Alice,

I have always been a poor "getter-upper" in the mornings, but lately I haven't even awakened when the alarm goes off. I just sleep right through it and wake up at around noon. I have been missing classes regularly and it's very distressing! I haven't been going to bed any later (I go to sleep at around 2:30 or 3 AM and have since the beginning of school and I used to wake up at around ten for my class). I haven't been eating or exercising differently. Could this be a result of the shift in weather or in the clocks? Does it take time for the body to adjust to the new season?

— Sleepyhead

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

Alice,

Every winter, especially when the days are short, I feel tired, depressed, and unproductive. Then the spring comes and I start feeling myself again. Is this just a normal seasonal cycle? I've heard about SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, but don't know much about it.

— Melancholy Baby

Dermatitis

Dear Alice,

I have always used moisturizer during winter time because of my dry skin. However, something strange happened last spring. Areas of my face turned reddish as if it were flushed and were slightly puffy. It went untreated for a while as I thought it was only a minor irritation or allergic reaction. After 2 months, as it had not gone away yet, and the condition fluctuated between almost about to heal and starting to puff up, I went to a dermatologist who diagnosed this as seborrheic dermatitis. He said it is something I'll always have if I don't wash my face often and keep it clean. He also said moisturizers are off limits as someone my age (19) would not need it.

That was during the summer and I could live without moisturizer. Also, during that time I found that if I used soaps to wash my face, my skin would start to get red again. I stayed away from soaps, cleansers, and moisturizers for the summer and relied on warm water. Now it is winter. HELP! My face feels like a desert without moisturizer, but any moisturizer I have used irritates my skin. I haven't found any cleanser which doesn't give me immediate bad results either. Can you suggest anything for me to use or explain why my skin is reacting the way it is to anything and everything besides water?

— Winter blues

How to find a therapist

Dear Alice,

I am trying to find a therapist. I have to go in-network for my health insurance to cover it, so I have this long list of therapists, but I don't know anything about them. Do you have any suggestions as to how to go about choosing one and/or questions to ask? Is there a "Go Ask Alice!" answer I could read for this info? I found my last therapist through the recommendation of a colleague at work and another through my school's counseling service. Now I need to spread my wings and find a professional therapist on my own! Yikes!

Thanks for any help you can give me!!!!!!!!!!!

Do I have a cold or the flu?

Hi Alice,

I've been wicked sick all week with a really bad runny nose, face pain, cough and now my right ear is hurting. I can't think!! And I am trying to study for exams!!!

My mom told me I have the flu and should go to a doctor to get medicine to treat it. But I think it's just a wicked bad cold. Can you tell me the difference?

Thanks,
Faucet Nose

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