20 January, 2005

Clinical Explanation

...words like ice fall on the ground/ Breaking the silence without a sound....

Because it was recently Wednesday, some of you may expect links. Expect away, it ain't happenin', I gots other things on my mind.

Well, okay, but it's gonna be quick.

Joe McLeod is Mr Wrong, for a price, rather funny, despite some peoples' opinion of him. Speaking of which, The Political Animal has a column on politics and radio that for once doesn't go sailing straight over my head, and speaking of THAT, Tim Kreider draws a poignant picture of the planet Pluto. Which he actually seems to like, thus breaking my streak of only liking the ones he dubs 'lame'. Usually, the ones he deems worthy sail straight over my primarily decorative head. Oh, and his surprising acceptance speech ROCKS.

That's it, folks. Back to MY agenda, thank you very much.


Rabbit tracks adorn the city sidewalk, and I am grateful for homeowners who balked at clearing their walks. So much pleasanter to not hear the sound of my boots as I promenade the dog on a carpet of fluffy soft.

Some few of my neighbors have not yet removed outdoor Christmas decor, and the effect, even against lovely snow, is a bit tawdry, like a middle aged woman in an evening gown at nine in the morning.

I love to be out while it snows, amid the peaceful swirl from closely cuddled clouds, wielding my shovel for an excuse.

And yet.

This is my season of melancholy, of hibernation, of despair. And I'm not alone. Kate the Peon mentions on her blog...

I self-diagnosed myself with dysthymia. It's basically the 'walking pneumonia' of depression - you still function, do your job, go to social engagements, but it's hard to do. It's all an act that's put on, and once the scene is over, you collapse.

....and I ruminate. For the first time, I research Seasonal Affective Disorder, instead of simply allowing this mosquito buzzword to whine in my head. What I find is that I suffer from ALL the symptoms, but particularly interesting is this:

SAD symptoms disappear in Spring, either suddenly with a short period (e.g., four weeks) of hypomania or hyperactivity, or gradually, depending on the intensity of sunlight in the Spring and early Summer.

It occurs throughout the northern and southern hemispheres but is extremely rare in those living within 30 degrees of the Equator, where daylight hours are long, constant and extremely bright.

And, interestingly enough:

Traditional antidepressant drugs such as tricyclics are not usually helpful for SAD as they exacerbate the sleepiness and lethargy that are symptoms of the illness.

I can personally attest to the truth of the aforementioned, as at one point, I threw away my anti-depressants, saying, "honestly, I'd rather be depressed." Plus they take so long to take effect that if I hadn't come to terms AT THAT MOMENT with the fragility of my psyche and taken certain proactive and pre-emptive steps, I'd've slit my wrists before they kicked in.

I lie; blood turns my stomach. I'd've drowned myself in the bathtub.

I've never before heard of the hypomania component of the syndrome, which is fascinating, and probably explains a great many things.

Why in spring and early summer, my body tingles and sizzles and crackles, and why in summer, I simply seethe good humor and sensuality... I'm not hot blooded, I'm not bipolar, I'm not manic; I'm just suffering from SAD.

Hmm. Hardly sexy copy. Boring, even. Screw the syndrome; I'll just be maaaaaaaaad.

As a March Hare.

Heh, heh, heh.

(Stone Cold; Rainbow)

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