Seasonal Affective Disorder: Change of Weather is Bliss

Occasionally I check the weather of the place I used to live, just to compare with where I am now.

See, some people have SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. About 11 million people in the US suffer from SAD, and as many as 25 million others have a more mild case of it, usually referred to as “Winter Blues”. Women are far more likely to suffer from it than men, almost four times more likely.

These people suffer from irritability, low energy, oversleeping, and appetite changes, but can also experience hypersensitivity to rejection or strange cravings. It also has all the normal symptoms of depression, like loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, difficulty concentrating, thoughts of death or suicide, and feeling depressed or hopeless. I imagine for people in the Pacific Northwest, where I have recently moved, having this form of SAD can be absolutely brutal. I feel for those people, I really and truly do.

I feel so strongly for those people because I’m pretty sure I also have SAD…only in reverse.

Of those people who have Seasonal Affective Disorder, about 1% of them have it twisted around in the other direction, to where summer and heat and bright lights being about these same feelings. Some of that has to do with body confidence — in the summer you go out, take off your shirt, wiggle into a swimsuit, lay out, go do summer things, whatever. If you feel like Fatty the Hutt, leering after Princess Leia in a gold bikini while choking on your fifth serving of ham and milkshake, it sort of adds to that feeling of grotesquery.

So, having lived in Southern California most of my life and having my SAD get worse and worse over time, the summers were becoming more and more unbearable. I had to get out. Part of the problem is that I was in a place where there were about 8 months of summer and a few smatterings of something colder than Summer Lite. All of September and at least half of October are usually spent with 80+ degree weather. There are lamentably few of the trees that change colors and little or no rain to speak of. Just when the heat starts to settle down…BAM! Santa Ana winds. Hot, dry, horrid desert winds from the taint of Satan come to smack all of Southern California in the face, ears, nose, and throat. This would make me bitterly angry, hopelessly depressed, and just generally feeling hot and powerless.

So, as I mentioned, today I checked the weather in Southern California where I used to live. It’s currently 96 degrees there and sunny as any day you can find in summer. Yesterday it was 92, and tomorrow it promises to be 90. Today, where I now live in Oregon, it is 61 degrees and raining. The trees across the street from my apartment are orange and yellow with the colors of autumn. The tree leaves right in front of my apartment are starting to turn yellow. They went from a fistful of yellow scattered in a carpet of green to the point where you can’t look at the tree and not see the yellow. It’s perfect and beautiful, the way autumn should be.

Not everyone can move 800+ miles away to defeat their Seasonal Affective Disorder. For those people, I recommend talking to your doctor, getting bright lights or dark, heat-blocking blinds, depending on what kind of SAD you have. It will help. Believe me, coming from someone who knows, any help is worth it, and it can make the difference between scraping by from day to day to actually enjoying life.

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~ by Darren Endymion on October 20, 2016.

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