I’m pretty sure I have some degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have a lot of the classic symptoms, including being an extreme night owl. Still, I haven’t usually needed anything like light therapy, except for a time when my home office was an effectively windowless bedroom and I used a little “daylight” fluorescent lamp to brighten things up. Now my office is upstairs by a window, and I can see all the sunlight Mother Nature is willing to throw at me.
Noticing my moods changing with the seasons isn’t new. In fall I get extremely introspective, for instance, and have since I was a kid. And I’ve always had a tendency to do things again each year, around the same time of year, that I have enjoyed.
One of those traditions coincided with my noticing that I in fact may have a legitimate problem: Just about the first nice day every spring, which is usually the second week of April, I go to the zoo. I’ve been going to the zoo with my mom in spring for a long time now; we’ll usually go with other family and make a fun day of it. But looking forward to the zoo day has taken on a life of its own, and leading up to this I usually get extremely antsy. I call it the spring madness.
As I’ve gotten older, winter has gone from being a fun time of year to something that’s increasingly hard to live with. Usually in February I’ve hit my limit, and have to wait out the gray days and cold, rainy weather till we come into something nice. Sometimes this gets difficult. There are days on the tail end of a particularly gray and rainy winter that my nerves will fray, almost to the level of an anxiety attack. When the bad days come I feel “jangled”, and almost nothing will settle it, not even most music.
Music is another thing that’s problematic. There’s one CD in particular that always reminds me of spring, so when I’m in the danger zone I avoid listening to it, even though I want to. (That would be Positively Somewhere by Jennifer Paige. The ostensible title track “These Days” in particular conjures images of sunny days.)
Now is an especially precarious time. Usually in Syracuse, March is pretty lousy and this “out like a lamb” crap is total hogwash. Usually. It likes to tease us with sunny but cold weather until it basically all turns to rain, slush, and probably more snow. Since it’s early March, we’ll start getting a lot more blue skies and sunshine, but it will still be too cold to leave the house. This is also past my usual tolerance for winter, so I’m about at the point where I want sunshine and leaves on the trees and warm weather right now. I want to go get ice cream, then grill up a delicious steak and some sautéed mushrooms to go with it. And I want to spend hours at a mall; for some reason sunny weather always drives me to malls.
The only real cure I can think of for spring madness is either traveling somewhere to the south where spring is already on its way in, or building a time machine and just taking brief jaunts forward on my lunch break. I don’t like the idea of traipsing into a completely different biome (and surroundings and culture) just to shed some blahs. The time machine option has the added benefit that I can get rich off of gambling on literal sure things.