Of course Seasonally Affected Disorder Exists – It’s Winter, and I’m miserable.
Regular tweeters who spot me on social media will know that come the winter months, there’s nothing I can do about not looking like a twat with a lamp on my head at certain times of day.
This has nothing to do with me being a particularly stupid person, in general, althought believe me, there is nothing to be said for walking around (or in my case, running) with a lamp on your head looking like a twat.
I blame the winter for this; inasmuch as you can blame a season for something. Well, I suppose, when you put your mind to it, you can blame a season for quite a lot of things – look at Autumn, the bastard. Leaves on the line, delaying train journeys or even cancelling them, in some cases. No need to blame Southern Rail. Autumn. Guilty as fuck. Then there’s the summer. That can be held responsible for Really Bad Things such as global warming because it melts the ice caps. It’s a right twat, isn’t it.
So yes, I blame winter for me and the lamp because in Winter, it’s dark. Not all the time, you will observe, but in general the evenings start typically at around 3pm in the afternoon when some lazy bugger who’s not doing much in the office (usually me) will look up from trawling the internet in the hope of buying cable knit over the knee socks which don’t have holes in after you’ve only worn them once (definitely me, then) and say ‘Gosh, isn’t it getting dark?’ This prompts everyone else in the whole building to look up and your company’s revenue will plunge, causing you to not only worry about the dark nights, but also you’ll get a bit edgy when you get your electricity bill because you won’t be able to pay for it as your Company has issued a profits warning and put everyone on short time. (Winter, you’ve got a lot to answer for) Not only that, but everyone in the office will plunge into instant depression because it’s dark at 3pm in the afternoon and there is going to be a Long Night ahead. Well, quite a few long nights, to be honest. Until about March. Go and get some Sertraline, for God’s Sake!
Cue a long line of miserable bastards at the coffee machine, staring gloomily out of the window watching the daylight disappear at 3pm in the afternoon. Firms should actually close early. No-one actually DOES anything after 3pm on a winter’s afternoon, because it’s dark and we’d all prefer to get a Gingerbread latte and a hob nob biscuit (with chocolate, obviously!) from the staff room and sit in a state of mild indignation at having to work beyond 3pm on such a dark evening.
Then there’s the Getting Home. For some unfathomable reason, local authorities and highways agencies decide to do major roadworks and alterations to traffic layouts through the winter months, so they can basically pack up at three o’clock and go and sit in the staff room with said coffee and biscuits. Meaning that a. there are no chocoate hob nobs left and b. your journey home when you eventually do leave the office on account of there being no chocolate hob nobs left is made ten times more complicated and a lot longer because there’s a big set of temporary traffic lights right outside your building and not a contractor in sight manning them.
After the dismaying journey home, when you arrive to find two unfamiliar teenagers in your kitchen (they’re yours, by the way – they were 1 and 3 when you left for work in 2004 – the journey home’s getting far worse) and another shortage of chocolate hob nob biscuits due to the unfamiliar teenagers having eaten them; everything is made more difficult or more expensive because it’s dark. You can’t hang your washing out, so it’s either draped over your radiators making the place mouldy which will then have your managing agent or landlord shouting at you (you’ve been drying clothes on the radiators, haven’t you? No. Honestly, you say whipping a soaking wet pair of red knickers behind your back in the vain hope that the dog will remove them from your managing agents glare) You have to put the fire on, because with the dark comes The Cold and you need the welcoming and warming glow of your Living Flame Gas Fire even if the Russians are threatening to Cut Off The Gas because they want Siberia for themselves. You get fat, because when it’s dark and cold you tend to eat comfort food – warming stews, spicy curries, a bit of sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Winter’s got a lot to answer for – it’s no wonder we’re all SAD.
No, I don’t mean that you’re all sitting there weeping snottily into a cotton hanky (which reminds me, I must give the Ex Boyfriend his blue one back. It’s pretty useless, my initials aren’t JD). No, I’m talking about SAD as in Seasonally Affected Disorder. Named by Norman E Rosenthal and the National institure of Mental Health in 1984, this condition causes sufferers to experience negative mood changes according to seasonal weather patterns. Sufferers feel more depressed, lethargic and sleepy. They will gain weight (see chocolate hob nob ingestion) and may also be over anxious. They may find themselves nauseous, not able to concentrate and have difficulty making decisions (should I have another biscuit?) It seems that seasonal variations and lack of light DO actually cause some of us to feel really bad. If you’re bi – polar, you’re more likely to be affected by SAD – 20% of SAD sufferers are also bi – polar.
Technically, it’s thought that SAD is brought on by a lack of Seratonin or possibly Melatonin but it’s also thought that certain personality traits pre-dispose certain people to become affected by SAD. Whilst the lack of daylight is gloomy, and not many people enjoy it going dark at 3pm, since Humans aren’t capable of hibernating through the dark winter months, if we are affected by SAD, light therapy is said to work. Introduction of sources of artificial daylight during the winter months is said to help. So is increasing exercise levels. Which leads me rather neatly to how I’m going to look very early tomorrow morning when I’m running around the park with a lamp on my head. Like a twat, is the mostly likely description, but at least I’ll be a happy one.