Every winter, I try to convince myself I should be able to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder. (You have to admit this disorder has a particularly apt acronym, SAD.)
I want to believe that just because there is another named winter storm headed our way does not mean I have to be depressed, sullen, irritable, sleepy, and so unpleasant I don’t even want to be around myself.
(Memo to Mother Nature: Many residents of the Philadelphia region still haven’t had their electricity restored since the winter storm last week. Another winter n’oreaster five days later is just excessive, IMHO.)
Here are my suggestions to myself for strategies to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder:
As an almost recovered lawyer, baby boomer travel blogger with launched, self supporting children, I could go on the internet and try to find a way outta here by looking for last minute travel deals to warm places. But, then I’d have to find someone to take care of our dog. And my husband, Mr. Excitement, still has a day job.
- I could sit for hours in front of a “Happy Light” a/k/a “sunshine simulator”, practicing Zentangle, a meditative art form some consider doodling on steroids, and hope I don’t burn out my retinas.
- I could show up on our son’s doorstep in Mexico City. “Surprise!” Hmm, maybe not so good for familial harmony.This particular child realized at an early age that he inherited my tendency towards a yearly bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder. He refused to look at any institution of higher learning not located in at least a subtropical climate zone. He ended up at the University of Miami—the one in Florida, not in Ohio.
- I could count my blessings and try to shame myself out of SAD by looking at the Facebook newsfeed of my friend who lives in Helsinki, Finland. She actually deserves to have SAD as Finnish winters are brutally cold, dark and long. There is a reason Finns drink the most coffee per capita than any other country in the world.
- I could stop whining because my beloved has agreed to arrange his schedule so we can be somewhere warm, and potentially sunny, for as big a chunk of time as possible during the winter. Last winter he snared an opportunity to confer with colleagues at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center—in February. This year we decamped to South America and spent three winter weeks traveling in Ecuador and Colombia. He’s already eyeing a joint Japanese-USA cancer immunology conference on Maui for next February. The man obviously has a strong drive for self preservation which he knows precludes spending the winter in a cave-like one bedroom apartment in Center City Philadelphia with a SAD spouse.
- I could go to my doctor and beg for anti-depressants.