Rumors of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Savvas Tzionis, one of my favorite commenters, writes in, expressing some concern:

Robert,I thought YOU were dead…. post wise, you were (relatively) quiet! LOL

Boo! I’m here!
Scared you, huh?
Sorry folks, it’s Thanksgiving, I’ve been depressed for some reason, and I’ve been extremely tired.
This is a very bad time of year for me. I tend to get depressed from around Thanksgiving to around Christmas and maybe through January too. This coincides with the two months in which the days are the shortest of the whole year. Not only that, but even when the sun bothers to come out, it might as well not even be there. It gives off little heat and the light it gives off is pitiful. You look up at the sun and think, “Damn, is that all you can do? You’re sorry!” Sometimes the sun is so shitty and dim, I figure the moon might as well come out in the day instead and it’d be a wash.
I think I may have Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD. This time of year is so damned dreary for me! I used to have it a lot worse, but I’m on Lexapro fulltime now, and ever since then, I don’t have it as long. I used to have it all winter until the start of true spring!
I remember once I was in therapy for OCD and Depression. It was March or so and we were making no progress with the depression. I was apologetic, but when you’re down, you’re down, and there doesn’t seem to be much you can do about it! I had a girlfriend at the time and she was getting pissed too, because she wasn’t really subject to depression.
Finally, Spring came, and I brightened up just like that! Nothing had changed; my life still more or less sucked just as bad as before. Next therapy session, I announced that my depression had lifted. The therapist was joyful and wanted to take credit. I shot him down real quick. It was nothing he had done, it was only that the seasons had changed! He looked a little downcast, but he was still happy that I was better.
Often, it’s Spring, Summer or Fall, and I’m happy as a clam. Every now and then I look around and notice that my life frankly sucks to high heaven, but I’m happy as a pig in shit anyway. Then I look outside, it’s 90 degrees outside, and it’s like no matter what’s going on, how could you possibly be depressed in this?
I’m told that most humans in non-tropical climates get happier and more active in hotter weather and longer days and gloomier and less active in the depths of the dark and cold days, but it’s only clinical depression in a minority. I’ve also heard of folks in Minnesota or places like that who had bad Winter Depression moving to tropical places like the Philippines and suddenly they were happy year-round. By the way, there are high suicide, depression and alcoholism rates in Siberia, Russia, Scandinavia, Canada and Alaska. Obviously, it’s related to latitude and little else.
I wonder if any of my readers have the same experiences?

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13 thoughts on “Rumors of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated”

  1. Speaking of potentially dead people, did somebody kill Guy White or something?
    He STILL hasn’t posted anything new.
    Maybe FPY tracked him down! 😉

  2. “Not only that, but even when the sun bothers to come out, it might as well not even be there. It gives off little heat and the light it gives off is pitiful”
    Come to Missouri. From mid november to mid april it’s pretty much cold, gray, and wet all the time. The only days it is sunny is when the clouds clear and the wind picks up and freezes every exposed part of your body.
    Of course, summers next to the Mississippi Ruver are fun too. You walk outside to your car from your house to get something and you’re already wet with sweat by the time you get back in. When you walk out of a place with air conditiong in to the heat and humidity outside your glasses fog up and you have to adjust to outside breathing.
    The best times here are late spring and early fall. I thought the weather would be constantly nice in California, especially southern California.
    Things could be worse. Look up norilsk, Russia. The wind and cold are so bad that on some buildings you have to walk through three doors just to get inside without letting the cold in. Apartment complexes are designed to block wind for certain areas. Then, since it’s a town based on mining, it’s totally polluted. There are literal mountains of mining waste laying around. A tribute to Soviet enviromentalism.
    Of course it gets even colder as you move east off the gulf stream. I believe Yakutsk in the Sakha republic is the coldest large city in the world.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzqiNMawurM

  3. Now that we have eradicated diseases that are prelavent in the warmer climes, I daresay the onward march of millions to the warmer and/or coastal regions of the world will continue.
    No wonder Russia is suffering from decrease in population!
    But the effects on the ecosphere!!! I shudder.

  4. My mood elevates during gray and rainy weather. Really!
    Or maybe it’s just that my mood is in such a shitty state all the time that the gray weather just provides me a sense of environmental peace.
    Warm, sunny weather pisses me off.
    Everyone’s moving South, I want to move North. Crap.

    1. I love rainy days. It’s funny but I enjoy going to the beach on when it is windy and rainy with the sea salt blowing in the air.

      1. Yes, exactly!
        I’ve been to the crowded beaches here in Socal but nothing compares to the gray solitude of the Northern California or Oregon coasts. I’ll take Crescent City any day, it is beautiful.

        1. The Gay Head cliffs (now the Aquinnah cliffs) on Martha’s Vineyard are much nicer on a rainy day
          I feel nostalgic for Sea Point in Cape Town. It’s still wet and rainy as ever but it’s become pretty touristy since apartheid ended.

  5. Very late to this post, but yeah, I definitely feel low in the winter. Just want to hunker down, stop returning calls, eat bad carbs, and watch crappy TV. A lightbox makes a huge difference. (10,000 lux = outside on a sunny day, one hour past sunrise). Very first time I used it, after about a half hour I began humming to myself. I hadn’t so much as whistled for weeks. I would have lost my job if I hadn’t gotten that lightbox.
    I don’t mind the cold, but yeah, I hate when gray clouds are hanging low and thick and the sun gets that dimmed and muffled look. (It’s sort of maudlin, but it reminds me of my father—Parkinson’s disease took away his facial expressions, leaving him dimmed and muffled too. The light was still on, but it got awfully hard to see it.)
    I used to love the summer heat—I’ve always been skinny and it was as if the heat didn’t stick to me at all—it just passed right through me as I soaked up the sun and all was right with the world. I’m still skinny, but now I have autonomic regulation issues and on the hottest days, the heat can make me pass out if I’m not careful. Aw geez, I suck!
    I also used to love visiting Louisiana as a kid— the heat and humidity felt like stepping into a warm, wet sponge, but the sun definitely seemed brighter there than at home (Massachusetts). If the heat didn’t give me the freaking vapors (fetch the smelling salts!) I’d love to live in a hot climate.
    Speaking of sunshine, depression is affected by Vitamin D as well as light exposure, see studies here:
    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/science/research/vitamin-d-and-depression-and-seasonal-affective-disorder.shtml

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