penguins arguing

1st Sign of Spring–Not the Robins!

by Kassandra Lamb

There is one HUGE reason why I live in Florida – the winters are mild and very short. Just the other day I experienced the first sign of spring.

For me, it’s not the azaleas starting to bloom–although they do so in Florida at the first hint of warmer days. Nor is it the increase in the song birds in my backyard.


The azaleas outside my study window

I know that spring has arrived when I wake up in a good mood, for the first time in weeks!

I liken it to having a mild case of the flu, one where you can stay functional with just a little bit of effort. So you don’t quite realize just how sick you were until you start to feel better.

That’s me in the spring. I don’t realize just how depressed I’ve been all winter until the depression lifts in the spring, and suddenly that crabby mood that I’ve been blaming on other things for the last couple of months is gone. I’m alive again, have energy to do things, and feel pleasure in my accomplishments.

I, like many other people, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, whose acronym, ironically, is S.A.D. I’ve posted about this disorder before, about its cause (less sunlight amping up the production of a hormone called melatonin) and its treatment (light boxes).

But I wanted to comment on it again, as a reminder to folks like myself who have milder cases, especially those up north who are still knee-deep (some of them literally) in winter.

Our depression isn’t always obvious. It takes the form of irritability and a general feeling of malaise. We sleep more, have less energy and eat more. But we won’t necessarily realize what is going on. It’s too subtle, starting gradually in the fall as the daylight hours shorten.

The risk is that we will blame the down feelings on other things. As human beings, we have a natural tendency to look for explanations for our emotions. This can lead us astray in life when the emotions are more motivated by biological changes than life circumstances.

penguins arguing

Crabby penguins arguing (photo by Brocken-Inaglory CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

We may pick fights with our friends or family members or decide we can’t stand our house and want to move.

You know how they say one shouldn’t make big decisions right after a major loss… well, the same applies to S.A.D. sufferers in the winter!

It helps some though, to know what is going on. If you keep reminding yourself that this is not about your life, it’s about the time of year, then you can get through ’til spring a bit easier, and with a lot less wear and tear on your relationships.

And if you’re one of those weird people who likes cold weather, please understand that our dislike of it is not just a preference. It’s a craving for the return of joy and energy!

How about you? Do you hate winter, or like it? Do you think you might have a touch of S.A.D. or do you know someone who does?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

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  • Reply
    Shannon Esposito
    March 1, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I am soooo ready for spring! Actually summer. I’m so ready for summer. 🙂

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      March 1, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      I knew you’d agree with me, Shannon! LOL

  • Reply
    Vinnie Hansen
    March 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    When my husband and I considered moving, we couldn’t find any place that we thought would be as nice as here, partly because of Santa Cruz’s temperate climate. Still I feel my spirits lifting as my freesias bloom . . . .

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      March 1, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      Exactly, Vinnie. Even the mildest of winters can subtly affect us. And I do delight in my azaleas!

  • Reply
    K.B. Owen
    March 1, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    I have definitely been affected by the season, and it isn’t pretty. I am really reluctant to exercise or eat right. I sleep more. It takes me forever to get going in the morning! The good news is that spring is coming!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      March 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      Yup, that was me when I lived in Maryland, Kathy. Same issue down here, but more muted, and for a shorter time. Hang in! Spring will get there very soon!

  • Reply
    Karen McFarland
    March 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    That sounds miserable Kassandra. I know several people who suffer from SAD so I totally belive this it’s real. I, on the other hand, suffer from the opposite problem. Summer is not my season. I don’t do well in the heat. It wouldn’t bother me if the sun forgot to come out. That’s not to say I don’t like sunshine. But in Phoenix, it sometimes gets to be a little too much. It’s already 90 degrees. I don’t want to think how hot this summer will be. It’s going to be a long one. Enjoy the spring as long as you can girl! ?

  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    March 2, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Mine is a pretty mild case, Karen. A lot of people have it worse.

    Wow, 90 degrees already. That’s a lot warmer than here. At least it is a drier heat there, although 90 is 90…pretty darn hot, with or without the humidity. Keep that AC going!!

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