Several people throughout my life have told me that I have seasonal depression. Basically, it’s where you get depressed during the winter. Less sun, colder, and generally more stormy weather, winter is just not as much fun.
My mom felt I suffered from seasonal depression. She wanted to (and did) put in giant lights in my room, so I wouldn’t miss the sun as much. Once, when I was around 15, my mom took me to the doctors and had me tell him about how I often sit in my room alone and do nothing but think (I would also write or draw, but I did do a lot of just sitting and thinking).
The real problem was that I wouldn’t do my homework. The doctor agreed with my mom that I was suffering from mild depression, and prescribed me a low dose of Paxil, which at the time was fairly new to the market. I took the tiny little pill every day for a while, nothing seemed to change, and I stopped taking it. Still nothing changed. (A few years later I found out that Paxil isn’t recommended for people under the age of 18, and it’s list of possible side effects was about a mile long. Good thing it was such a low dose.)
My wife has told me she thinks I have seasonal depression. She would notice that in the wintertime I would be prone to moodiness. I’d be more grumpy and more likely to be short-tempered.
Me, I’m not so sure I have seasonal depression.
When I was in school, I think it was less about depression, and more about the homework. I was not motivated or inspired to get it done most of the time. If I had a project that I was enjoying, I would work on it like you wouldn’t believe. If not, more than likely it wouldn’t get done at all. Which happened a lot.
Can I be moody, grumpy, and short-tempered? Absolutely. Is it easier for me to be those things in the winter? Probably. Maybe I have seasonal depression, but there are other things going on.
When the sun is hidden for long enough, I do get sad(?) blue(?) something less than happy anyway. It usually takes several consecutive days for this to start, but it does happen. This obviously happens more in the winter, because the sun isn’t around as much, but it can happen anytime of the year.
I like the great outdoors, but I’m not a fan of the cold. I like to be outside when it’s warm. 75 to 85 degrees (Fahrenheit) would be great, thank you very much. When it’s cold outside, I tend to stay inside more. And then I tend to get restless. Again, this happens mostly in the winter, but also in other seasons as well.
I think the biggest thing is that I tend to get grumpy and out of sorts if I haven’t done anything creative for a while. This could be writing (either poems or prose), doodling, drawing, whatever. Just something. It took me long time to figure this out, with my wife repeatedly attempting to help me realize this simple fact about myself.
I can get depressed any time of year. It’s easier in the winter time, but not limited to it. But in spite of how much I prefer warmth and sun over snow and ice, winter is not my least favorite season of the year.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from my favorite. My favorite season is by far summer. But if it’s going to be cold, I’d rather it be cold, not some wishy-washy, in-between, might be cold, might not crap.
Spring and Autumn are beautiful seasons. The flowers come out, the leaves change color, migrations come and go, all kinds of things are happening and changing. It’s all very awesome and inspiring. But weather-wise, they are actually my least favorite seasons.
I much prefer it to be well below freezing and snowing (though I will definitely be bundled up, fashion be damned), than just above freezing (or even under 60 degrees F) and raining. And I’m not a winter sports person either. I’ve never been skiing or snowboarding. It’s just that usually in the winter, when it’s cold, it’s cold, and it will be that way all day. I can bundle up without worrying about what I’m going to do with all these layers if the day turns warm.
I’ve learned that for me to be happy, content, and pleased with myself and the direction my life is going, I simply need to write and/or draw on a regular basis. I don’t even need to write or draw anything that has anything to do with anything. It can even be a depressing story/poem/drawing, but it will make me happy to have created it.
And the sun. I need the sun to be happy.
Another thing. Being able to read and view other people’s work, whether it be poems, prose, paintings, drawings, photography, or whatever else, also helps. Just as hate feeds on hate and love adds to love, creativeness encourages creativeness. Inspiration inspires inspiration. Being able to share my creations and being able to experience others’ creations are just two huge reasons of many that I am glad I started this blog.
So even though I’ve been told more than once that I have seasonal depression, I’m not so sure. Case in point: This winter. I started this blog in the beginning of December. I’ve been adding to it almost every day. I’ve also been writing outside of my blog, and even drawing and doodling again. So far, nothing. No depression. It’s been cold, and the sun hasn’t been out much. But I’ve been positive, happy, and content.
So it’s not that I get depressed in the winter, it’s that I get depressed when I’m not creating.