Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow ...

by Dotti

Have you ever gone through a spell when you just didn’t feel like yourself but you couldn’t figure out why? This happened to me recently.

A couple of weeks ago, I was uncharacteristically negative. For the most part, I’ve learned to be pretty even about day-to-day minutia and a pretty good problem-solver. Having grown up in an Italian-American family in New York, I was prone to knee-jerk reactions, ranging from one extreme to the other. When I came to Kentucky to go to college, I realized that not everybody had the same kind of temperament. In fact, most people I met were pretty laid back. Over the years, I’m proud to say, I’ve mellowed. Although I have learned to pick the hill I’m going to die on, as my brother advised me many years ago.

But two weeks ago, while I wasn’t volatile, I was just negative. Common, every day challenges became Challenges. My energy level was non-existent, I wanted to sleep all the time. It was time to be putting out annuals in the garden, usually a mood booster, but it was too wet. So, I tried different things, lunch with friends, searching for inspiration and creative photography subjects, eating chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Nothing worked. I even began to wonder if I was sick or depressed.

Then a funny thing happened. The sun came out. Looking back on the week, I realized it had rained six days out of seven, chilly, grey, drizzly rain. While my camera may have gotten a much-needed rest, my spirits were down in the dumps. And I hated it!

But honestly - the day the sun came out, I felt 100% better. Now, I know about seasonal affective disorder, SAD, because there have been times in the dead of winter when I’ve felt minor effects of SAD. Over the years, I’ve learned ways to counteract it. But, hey! It was MAY! Never did I give any thoughts to the possibility of a bit of SAD creeping up on me.

So here’s what I learned. SAD doesn’t only happen in winter, or when days are short. In fact, some people are the opposite and warm weather actually makes them prone to seasonal affective disorder. Figure skater Dorothy Hamill wrote in her biography about this. She was always so used to training and performing in cold environments, that warm weather actually made her lethargic.  I do believe a bit of SAD can occur any time, given the right weather conditions and depending, of course, on the individual involved.

Did I find a cure? Heck, no! But I did learn this: it’s okay. It happens. We don’t have to be happy, perky, energetic, creative 24/7.  Ride it out. If you’re lucky, it will be short-lived like my recent episode. If not, then you might want to talk to your health practitioner.

But through it all, remember – the sun’ll come out tomorrow! "Maybe..." (cue music)


Carol said...

I know many people who suffer from SAD and Im sure this will be instructional for them. Its been such a long-awaited summer this year here in the east . It feels like we went right from wwinter to hot, rainy August with nomtransition! I'm glad your personal,sunshine has come back out -and you certainly did not betray your feelings with yours pictures!

Cathy H. said...

I'm so glad your sun finally came out! The flowers are beautiful! We have had such a rainy, overcast spring that it's been hard to enjoy it. SAD affects me all summer. You'd think with the sunny days I'd be terrific, but it's just the opposite and the feelings are brought on by the heat and humidity that come with the sunshine. Just last week I was so cranky. Finally, it dawned on me. I was hot and miserable. It's hard for me to enjoy the summer, but I try, I really try!

kelly said...

it's been so dreary and rainy for much of may so I totally get this. glad you are feeling more like yourself and thanks for sharing your sunshine! xoxo

terriporter said...

Oh, I wish I could send you all some sunshine! Of course, your beautiful photos have done just that. Here where there is so much sun, we don't have the typical SAD from gray and rainy skies. But the summer heat that keeps us indoors a lot in the summer does tend to wear on us. When my son went to Virginia for law school and was suffering through a long stretch of dark, rainy days, he was pretty depressed. Add that weather and being clear across the country from home and studying for his first law school finals, well it was not a good combination. He read about a lamp you set on your desk and have it shine on you for a certain number of hours a day and it did the trick! So glad your sun finally came out, Dotti!

AFishGirl said...

Beautiful photographs, Dotti. I have always been (and more so lately) kind of obsessed with weather and seasons and the effect both have on people. Because my job is dealing with the public, I kind of do an impromptu study of mood and weather. Not formally, mind you, but I do notice. Weather has a huge effect on people's moods. No doubt about it. And it seems (to me) that too much extreme of any of it triggers a real change (not for the better) in how people feel.
I've never been a "sun lover." I dislike heat and humidity and I like to see a nice rain now and again and I'm a fan of fog. And blizzards. It's all interesting to ponder and I think it's so true, the weather affects how we feel and for each of us, our zone of feeling best with the amount of light and the temperature and all of that can vary greatly. I always wonder if there is a climate ideally suited to each of us or if we'd have to travel to find it, like maybe spring in England and autumn in New England and summer in... heck, where for summer? Somewhere with NO humidity... And winter in Colorado. Thus endeth the musings of a Fishgirl for the night. I think in an ideal climate sleep would be less elusive.

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