Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm only happy when it snows

There is a variety of mood disorder known colloquially as Seasonal Affective Disorder. In the DSM-IV it is actually not a separate disorder, but rather a specifier which can be tacked onto a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder or a major depressive episode in Bipolar Disorder. Basically this specifier is a fancy way of saying "the person becomes depressed when a particular season (usually fall or winter) begins."

I think I have reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.

For the first twenty-five years of my life, I lived in places that had four seasons--one of these being cold, snowy winter. To be fair, I used to feel down fairly predictably from just before Thanksgiving through my birthday, which is a week and a half after Christmas. However, the most wintry weather tended not to arrive until a few weeks after my birthday, by which time I was already feeling much better.

I was a little nervous about moving to Northern California on account of the lack of seasons. "But we do have seasons here," Mrs. Gerbil pointed out. "We just only have two: wet and dry."

frowning sunAt first, the prospect of six straight months of sunshine seemed like a neat little novelty. I snickered when our neighbors complained about the "heat wave" that first summer; it was in the low 80's and about 10% humidity. (My definition of a heat wave is that it's got to be hot and humid.) But then I got tired of the sunshine. I got cranky, and I longed for a thunderstorm to improve my mood. None arrived.

When the rains started, I was pleased. Grey skies mean fall; and fall means winter's coming. But, of course, the rain never turned to freezing rain or snow, and I got cranky. I wanted some snow to cheer me up. Instead, the daffodils came up and the skies began to clear. I felt cheated. Spring had arrived, and I'd never gotten my winter! And the next twelve months were much the same.

Singing in the RainPerhaps it says something about my personality that I love inclement weather. I'm a sucker for the pouring rain, thunderstorms, snow, and grey skies of all shades. I'm not keen on freezing rain or tornadoes; but otherwise, anything but constant sunshine floats my proverbial boat. Indeed, when I was two I drew a sun wearing a big ol' frowny face.

Last week the rains began. Mrs. Gerbil is a little cranky. She misses the sun. Me, I'll take what I can get.

No comments: