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Seasonal Mood Disorder

March 20, 2021

I grew up just outside of Seattle. Spent 28 years there ( four of them in Bellingham, where the doom rooms always have condensation on the windows).

Seattle is a beautiful city, the suburbs weren’t bad either. With all that rain, green grass, green trees, green bushes, green slugs, all a assured. It can rain for months at a time, straight through. Except in the summer, the sky was almost always gray and gloomy. Summers could be magical with their blue skies and warmth, and therein should have been my first clue.

I have a bad hip, have since I was six, almost constant pain of some level since then. I hid it for the most part, and rainy days were the worst. But in summer… the soreness didn’t bother me. I could even *gasp* run! I loved summers. I think I smiled during the summer.

Could a Dose of Sunshine Make You Smarter? | The Scientist Magazine®
Almost heaven, sunshine and happiness.

When I was 28, we moved to Orlando, FL. Orlando can get the same rainfall amount as Seattle, but we get it all at once; 3 inches in a few minutes. To this day, on gray days I dress warm only to step outside and find sweltering heat.

I was happy! From the moment we arrived, my spirits soared. Crazy me, I thought it was because I loved my job. Then we had kids and I thought it was babies that cause my joy (they did and still do as adults).

Three years later we moved to Atlanta, and then back to Seattle. I eventually worked at Boeing in the world’s largest building. My office was a half mile in. I’d get there before the sun rose, and often left after the sun set, never seeing sunlight, which was funny, because even when I got out early, there was no sunshine.

My spirits slumped. I hated it there. My thoughts were darker than the sky, and if not for my kids and wonderful wife, I’d have had a bleak existence. For the first time, I realized the gray got me down–it wasn’t “just me.” Before it had been my normal, but now I knew the difference. Couldn’t handle it and moved back to the joy of Orlando.

I suffer from Seasonal Mood Disorder or Seasonal Depression Disorder. My spirits bubbled again! I may be a night person, but I love the sun and the blue! I do still have a laid back personality, and people here would be shocked I could get even lower back home (and it always will be home, even though I’ll never live there again).

What we grow up in is normal to us, even if it’s frightfully abnormal. I think about my friends back home who have never moved away. How many of them would find new flavor of life in the sun?

What do we accept as normal because we’ve never known different? Not just SMD, but life patterns, negative emotions, even abuse? I don’t think one must move away from home base–some should–but for those who stay, explore fresh perspectives. Watch how others live and look at yourself with new eyes. Maybe your normal… isn’t.

I have an amazing family. I’d guess at least one of my sisters struggle with SMD, maybe all of them. My wife and I? We’re moving to Colorado next year, closer to home, and hoping family and friends from both coasts will find time to visit. There’s a lot of fresh perspective out there.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 22, 2021 10:30 am

    Ah, that elusive normal. It does change. Sometimes we have merely to make room for it to change and sometimes it is demanding. Colorado has plenty of sunshine though. Of course, I would love it if you changed your mind and stayed here in Orlando, but I would love it more if you were where God has called you and Lynette to be.

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