There are a lot of people right now who are probably rejoicing that winter has been extremely mild, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s in November and December. Unfortunately I am not one of them. That’s because I suffer from RSAD (Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder). In the summer time when most people are happy and have a general sense of well being, I am miserable and depressed. When it is bitter cold with snow outside, with the long dark days of winter, there are some people who become depressed and miserable, I am the complete opposite.
This year, temperatures have been way above average for Fall. The strongest El Niño ever recorded is in place in the Pacific and it is causing nothing but really warm days here on the east coast. That spells disaster for me. I need the cold weather as well as the shorter days to recover from the summer blues. It’s not just some personal preference, it’s a serious medical and psychological condition. People like me suffer depression in the summer, and if we cannot get relief in the winter it can lead to thoughts of suicide as well as causing severe emotional distress. It all has to do with levels of serotonin in the body and the body’s own circadian rhythms.
People laugh when I tell them how much I love winter, how much I love sleeping with the windows open at night even if it’s 22 degrees outside. How much I love the snow and those shortened days with increased periods of darkness. Little do they realize that from a survival standpoint and a standpoint of mental health, I need that! And yes, I really love the cold – it doesn’t impact me like other people. I don’t feel its effects as quickly as other people.
So the next time you are cheering the weather man on over a forecast of 72 degrees in December, keep in mind there are people out there who are suffering as a result.
I am one of them.
Here’s a good article that explains this disorder in more detail: Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder