I despise days like today. It’s rainy and gray, though thankfully it’s not cold (as it was yesterday). And all I want to do is crawl back into bed and escape the world.
Yes, the weather affects my mood and my depression. The more rain and gray the day is, the more likely I’m going to be down. It shouldn’t be any shock that weather affects people’s mood. Do a Google search for depression, weather and mood, and you’ll get lots of results. Apparently there’s even been some debate over weather really has a significant impact on our emotions, which makes me laugh. If I graphed my emotions, I’m sure the down days would be along the lines of when it’s dark, gray and rainy.
At this time of year, people say it’s the seasonal depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. I tried to find statistics on how many people suffer from it each year, and I came up empty. There is plenty of tracking for other mental illnesses, but not for SAD. It seems to be brushed off as the “winter blues,” though for some people it can be a real struggle.
But SAD doesn’t happen in just the winter. But there is a summer version of it, which the New York Times wrote about in 2002. The Mayo Clinic’s website also attests to the existence of seasonal depression in the summer. The clinic also cites how people with bipolar disorder can have elevated mood, or mania, during the spring and summer in reverse SAD.
My point here is that it’s not just the winter blues for a lot of people, and the changes in weather throughout the entire year can affect people. Maybe it’s the light (I say that’s why I feel so awful during the winter) or maybe it’s the gray skies putting a gloomy view on the world. And it’s a matter of knowing how to battle those things.
For me on gray, rainy days, especially in the winter, it means having to combat the low I know will be there. I try to get more sleep. I try to get outside as much as I want to stay inside. The hardest thing is avoiding significant stress, which I never seem to be able to do.
Today hasn’t been a good day. I’m sleepy. I’ve been stressed. I haven’t done a good job at mitigating my depression even though I knew it would be a rough day. Tomorrow, though, the sun will be out and I’m hopeful it will be a better day. I wish I didn’t have to rely on the weather so much to feel better.