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.
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.
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.
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