SAD

The Star Tribune has a story this morning about a couple with reverse seasonal disorder: They get cranky when it is hot, and love the drab days of November.

The story is in reference to the time change this weekend, which for many signals the advent of the dark, dreary days of winter.

It can work both ways for me. I can find early winter to be dismal, or I can be energized. This fall I am lucky enough to feel energized. At other times, it has been a bumpy ride.

Looking back, I have two sets of memories from every season. One set of memories is nothing but pleasant, the other is dark. There seems to be no middle ground. If my mood is dark, a fall day triggers memories from fall days in the past when I was in a similar state. The brain diabolically sorts through ones memories and brings only the ones which match the dark mood to the fore.

The same is true for the good state. The mental search engine then finds all the good memories of a particular season and brings them forward, making it possible to think fall has always been a wonderful time.

Flipping the switch from the dark side to the bright side is the trick, and two factors make the difference for me. First, taking anti-depressants regularly makes it a heck of a lot easier to get out of a funk. I intend to take them indefinitely. Secondly, sheer busyness is therapy. If I have a full slate of activity, it is much easier to pull out of whatever sort of funk the season might throw me into.

One exeception is cold, sunny days in February, those days when it is below zero and the wind makes the snow-snakes slither across the tar roads. In those conditions, it is almost impossible to flip the switch from despair to productive activity. That's when Arizona is the best therapy.