Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I think I'm SAD. This is not an admision to depression but rather a statement about some disorder that people for centuries have suffered in silence with because they didn't have an acronym for it.

If you are not aware S.A.D is Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a fun little disorder where people tend to get moody, depresses, suffer from various sleep disorders, and all kind of other things like that. It is typically tied to the winter. I knew years before I was aware of this disorder that winter doesn't agree with me. I think it is the length of daylight that does me in. I'd die in the real north. I can't hardly sleep if the sun is up. The few times I've had to because of working nights or illness I've had to cover my windows with foil and heavy drapes. Once the sun goes down I get extremely tired and so I have to sort of reset myself everyday when the sun is setting too early. This means that when I'm ready to actually go to sleep my mind still isn't registering that so I lay in bed awake for a very long time and then wake up regularly all night long. It is very frustrating to not go to sleep till 1 or 2 am and wake up 10 times between when I go to sleep and wake up for the last time. The past few days that has been about 4:30. So I get a good 2.5 hours of regularly interrupted sleep. Yeah me.

It does make me wonder why they named it that. Seriously. I imagine that the name was to make the acronym cool because Seasonal Affective Disorder doesn't quite sound useful. This is the conversation I assume resulted in the name.

Psychologist 1: I've noticed that I get irritable during the winter and wish I could just crawl into a cave to hibernate.

Psychologist 2: Yeah me too, I was beginning to think I was just being pathetic.

Psychologist 1: No your just sad.

Psychologist 2: You know I've always wanted to name a disorder that. It ends with a D so it would work with the word "disorder" at the end

Psychologist 1: Why do you always make air quotes like that. It is kind of annoying.

Psychologist 2: I'm gonna let that slide, it is just your SAD talking. So what do the first two letters stand for anyway?

Psychologist 1: What about Seasonally Affected Disorder?

Psychologist 2: How do you make that italic sound with your voice? Never mind. I think that is close but needs to be tweaked some. We know that the V really makes the disease. How about Seasonal Affective Disorder? Hey I did it. Good buy air quotes.

At least that is how I reconstruct the conversation.

Presumably there are some drugs I can take for this disorder. There are also drugs I can take for ADHD. I think the cure for both is exercise. In addition to the issues with the sun I never get as much exercise in the winter. I think this is a huge difference. Exercise does a lot of things to counter the symptoms of SAD. Specifically it releases endorphins that alleviate depression and allow the mind to rest at night. It is important to not work out too close to bed time though because those same chemicals will actually keep you awake. When they wear off, though, your brain is able to shut down more effectively. This means more rest and so less fatigue and more energy.

Interestingly I think all of these same things apply to ADD/ADHD. When I was a kid they would have had me and all my friends on drugs. I still have the attention span of a gnat. Actually I'm certain gnats have much longer attention spans otherwise they would lose interest in pestering me and move on to something useful. The difference between when I was a kid and now is excersize. Anyone 30 or older must remember running the neighborhood all day. Literally I would get home from school and run out to play. Didn't get my homework done because of that. All of my friends did it and we would play all kids of games that involved running. The games would last till dinner and we would beg to go play after dinner till dark. Our parents were happy to let us play in the street so they didn't have to put up with our pent up energy. Parents now are happy to give their kids powerful drugs so they don't have to deal with the pent up energy or worry about the potential for cars.

Personally I'm more worried about mind altering drugs in children than I am about cars in my neighborhood so my kids get lots of exercise. They are skinny things too. We can't get clothes that fit them. Anything that is long enough it about 2 sizes too big. My poor kids' pants are always falling down even with belts on.

This ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would. I was just thinking about why I haven't been sleeping and why I'm so stressed lately even though I feel like I shouldn't be so I figured I post an extra today.


Ryan B said...

I always get S.A.D. It's not as bad as usual because I'm back in SLO where the temperature is 80 degrees from Cleveland where it is 9 degrees. But I can't wait for S.A.D. to pass. It' blows. Maybe with the daylight savings change.

Nick the Geek said...

Ryan B,

Maybe that is the real reason they moved daylight savings. I always thought that was the most useless piece of legislation I've lived to see passed. Especially since I should have had an extra hour of sleep for my B-day this year but they moved it and stole my hour of sleep.

That makes me SAD.

Nick the Geek said...

or should I say MAD

Mad At Dumb wastes of tax payer dollars.

Pam said...

I'm SAD to say I've never heard of this disorder... It sounds wretched though. Hope it passes soon.

The Adaptogen Lady said...

I love the S.A.D. my mom use to get this very same thing. When I was about 15 she look down all of the curtains in the house to let in the most sun light she could get. She even went as far as changing some of the light bulbs. It helped, but it did not make her feel that much better until she tried adaptogens about 2 years ago. She now feels much better through the Wisconsin winters. She does not have any trouble sleeping anymore either. What a great find for her.
An adaptogen spray is what she uses every night before she goes to bed and then an adaptogen spray concentrate first thing in the morning to help with her mood during the day. It has changed her a lot. And the rest of the family is VERY happy about it. So much so that I have been studying them since then. Check out www.everydayadaptogens.com to find out how it can help you too.

Nick the Geek said...


It was on the news quite a bit a couple of years ago. I think they were trying to make it the next ADD. All the good disorders have three letters so they ran with it.

Hope you don't mind that nick. Thanks for dropping by.

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