December 8, 2018

"While many of us are familiar with SAD, there are, in fact, people who get SAD in reverse."

"For a small group of people, the dark days of winter don’t elicit depression, but renewed vigor and improved mood.... While winter SAD is linked to a lack of sunlight, it is thought that summer SAD is due to the reverse—possibly too much sunlight, which also lead to modulations in melatonin production.... Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger that serves to protect the brain. However, more importantly, melatonin’s immediate precursor is the neurotransmitter serotonin, a major player in regulating mood. By reducing melatonin production, SAD increases the risk for depression and other mood disorders.... [T]hose who experience reverse SAD will take comfort in knowing that the winter months can bring nothing but bliss with the gloriousness of gray skies, 15-hours of darkness, and bone-chilling winds."

That's from Psychology Today (in 2015). I'm reading that after someone on Facebook linked to "The Obsessed Ex-Fortysomething Runner: Brown eyes, SAD, and 'reverse' SAD."

I call the 30 days with the winter solstice in the center "Darkmonth," and it's just beginning. You might wonder why I'm not hot to move somewhere brighter than Wisconsin, now that I'm retired and could relocate anywhere. Maybe my preferences have to do with eye color.

Here's another article about the new study by a psychology professor at the University of South Wales. "[H]e found that those with brown eyes were significantly more likely to experience seasonal mood shifts than those with blue eyes... 'Individuals with blue eyes appear to have a degree of resilience to SAD'..."

As for "reverse SAD," it should be noted that you can wear sunglasses! I think a blue-eyed person artificially creates the equivalent of brown eyes in the summertime. So maybe the North is a good place for me....

43 comments:

Hagar said...

Lots of pseudo-science around these days.

RK said...

The busier I've become in the summer, the more I appreciate not being so busy in the winter. I also enjoy just the changeover of activities.

"Bone-chilling winds" can be avoided by staying out of the wind.

Ann Althouse said...

It's finally getting light here, at 7. I've been up since 4.

I love the first hours of the morning, and they're dark this time of year. Getting 3 hours of darkness in the morning and going to bed early makes the evening darkness less significant.

wild chicken said...

I like the early hours too, esp if the spouse stays asleep. We're about a hundred yards off the road and I like to see the headlights going into town in the morning, like I don't have to.

Also it's the only time I can watch TV news without him going off on Trump.

Tank said...

We used to use SAD as shorthand for shit-assed-drunk. I guess not the same.

rehajm said...

Even in much of the northern latitudes you get some days of bright sunshine. Spend a winter in Seattle or Portland and you may not see the sun for four months. It clears out the old folks homes.

mockturtle said...

I have blue eyes and am prone to SAD---one reason I left the gloomy NW for sunny AZ.

Leslie Graves said...

I have tons of energy in the dark month(s). When I wake up (at 5:30) and it's dark and I know it'll be dark for a good long while, it's very easy and enjoyable for me to plunge into attacking the day.

Curious George said...

The lack of daylight surely sucks, but what's worse is the day after day of cloudy weather.

Sunny this morning though! :-)

Virgil Hilts said...

I used to go back to Nebraska in Nov/Dec. Each time I'd remember why I could never go back. Everything on the ground and above is grey and brown and dead; no colors and the sky is rarely bright blue. After a big snow is nice but only for a few days and then the snow too turns spotted and ugly. I think a huge swath of the midwest is like that. I lived in the northwest for a time -- in the winter ride to work in the dark and rain; ride home in the same. The parts of Colorado I've been too in the winter are different. It's cold but bright and beautiful and not depressing at all. An ideal life if you have $ is to live in Arizona half the year and Colorado the other.

Virgil Hilts said...

Common issue for kids who grow up in AZ and go to college in the northeast is severe depression their first year.

bleh said...

I have blue eyes and hate the dark winter months. I grew up in south Texas where winter weather is typically comfortable and sunny. Periodically there would be cold fronts where the temperature dipped to freezing, but that would only last 2-3 days at a time before returning to the mid-60s or warmer. I miss that.

Now I live in the northeast where winters are much colder and there are fewer daylight hours. I don’t have SAD, really. I just really dislike this season and would prefer t-shirt weather year round.

Original Mike said...

I tend toward reverse-SAD, though it's not strong enough to label it a "condition". I like the night and darkness, though I'm not a fan of clouds. I like the night sky. The duration of sunlight in the summer is just too long. At the summer solstice, the duration of full darkness excluding (twilight) is only 4 hours. At the winter solstice it's a glorious 12 hours.

MadisonMan said...

I go into work in the dark, I come home from work in the dark. I don't think it affects me.

My wife uses a light box. She definitely needs it.

Our eye colors are freakishly identical: Green.

traditionalguy said...

A whole month of living in a real Cinema Noir existance. Thank God for Christmas parties and visits with friends sharing many hot coffees loaded with Kahlua and Baileys.

Anita said...

I've been waking at 4 a.m. these past few months to drive my son to swim practice across town. Sometimes I come home and go back to bed, but often I stay up and tackle some chores before starting my work. I enjoy the quiet darkness. The dark, grey days don't get me down because I love creating the warmth inside. A cozy fire in the fireplace, some fragrant candles, the lights of the Christmas tree, and maybe even something baking in the oven can drive away the cold.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Don't know when I've been so blue
Don't know what's come over you
You've found someone new
And don't it make my brown eyes blue

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

One of my earliest memories began one morning with Mother remarking that it was New Year's Day. What? I knew days, and understood that years were made up of days. How can a day be a year?

So I suited up - overcoat, overshoes, mittens, cap - and went for a walk up the lane behind our house in the Massachusets Berkshires to see what this "New Year's Day" thing was about.

The sky was absolutely blue, clear, and clear. The sun was dazzling on the frozen crust of snow over fields and lane. Temperature was well below freezing, but with no wind the sun was warm on my face. The snow crunched under my feet.

Not a sad day.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Odnecserc Cafe for those with RSAD

gilbar said...

the Good News is: this evening is the earliest sunset of the year; starting tomorrow, sunsets will come later and later until the end of June.

The Bad News is: sunrises will KEEP getting later and later until next January 1st.

(easy to remember: Dec 7th was the darkest day (earliest sunset (not sunrise, it's not That easy) and New Years day, well; Now you know WHY it's new years day!) These are true every year {plus or minus a day}

Stephen Cooper said...

There is a lot of good Russian poetry about this phenomenon, and probably a lot of good Scandinavian poetry too.
Robert Bridges on snowfall in London is great, and so is Snowbound by Whittier.

ALP said...

Darkmonth in your house. Bear Hibernation Month in ours. I notice an uptick in wanting to sleep more. I give into it. Feels great. Short days, long sleep.

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

More of a reverse-SAD guy myself. I revel in a winter storm as long as me and mine don’t have to travel in it. And the long, slow passage from the iron-grey days of January to the first signs of spring in late February is the gentlest, least demanding, time of year. I hate relentless heat so there’ll be no retirement to the Southwest, as much as I love it, in my future.

chickenlittle said...

SAD in reverse -- Was ist DAS?

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

@Chickenlittle

sehr gut, mein Lysdexic bruder!

Laslo Spatula said...

(Just thought I'd mention -- The Girl with a Ponytail On the Treadmill deals with SAD in the following post: "Things you might want to spend Saturday mulling over.")

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Sounds a lot like Leonard Jeffries to me.

From Wiki:

"Jeffries had also advanced a bigoted theory that whites are "ice people" who are violent and cruel, while blacks are "sun people" who are compassionate and peaceful.[8] He is a proponent of melanin theory and claims that melanin levels affect the psyche of people, and that melanin allows black people to "…negotiate the vibrations of the universe and to deal with the ultraviolet rays of the sun."[9]"

In further support of that theory, Robert Plant previously stated:

"We come from the land of the ice and snow
From the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow"

I am Laslo.

I am Laslo.

Mark said...

The darkness is less a depressive cause than the gray overcast days.

GrapeApe said...

I prefer the darker months in NYC. A bit fewer folks on the street and noise. And I am not a daywalker.

William Chadwick said...

I got SAD in reverse from the reactions of media "liberals" when Hillary lost the election.

William Chadwick said...

Laslo: Do you know if Leonard Jeffries is the same "intellectual" who reportedly said that logic is a tool of the white man to oppress darker-skinned folk?

rcocean said...

I've been in hot climates were every day was over 95 degrees.

The pitiless sun always beating down on me. Forced to stay all day in a pool or an A/C room.

It gets VERY depressing.

And I wore sunglasses.

rcocean said...

This is the first time in my life, the early morning darkness started to get to me.

I was very glad when we "fell back" an hour. It was only temporary relief of course.

rcocean said...

"The Sun People" are a laugh riot, if can ignore the African massacres, the Indonesian massacres, constant wars in the Middle east, and Cambodian killing fields.

rcocean said...

BTW, that was in hot City. where the concrete probably added 10 degrees to the air temperature.

Imagine living in the summer in some concrete Jungle like Phoenix!

Guildofcannonballs said...

This post is really about heroin and I for one don't find any humor in it.

Guildofcannonballs said...

The hero in your mind is sun.

Light fracted.

Natural courses of conclusive thoughts wouldn't be prudent, ergo ya get what you got in Orange County, with all those soon-to-be transplants.

Trans away my friend.

Away.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Aldous would look at America and drop down on his knees and never utter another word.

Out of shame. Not any guilt in any way ever.

Butt Huxley ought be our loadstar Northern Lights Sambyaa Lymbic Sambic Obtrustie droughts.

Char Char Binks said...

I love sunny days, if I'm in a leafy glen. I don't mind heat, if I'm wearing shorts, but I don't like getting sunburned. I like the sun, and the dark, and I love twilight. My eyes are neither brown nor blue, and I wear sunglasses year round.

Guildofcannonballs said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4f8snpAcrg

Guildofcannonballs said...

A Song for You
Gram Parsons
Oh, my land is like a wild goose
Wanders all around everywhere
Trembles and it shakes till every tree's loose
It rolls the meadows and it rolls the nails
So take me down to your dance floor
And I won't mind the people when they stare
Paint a different color on your front door
And tomorrow we will still be there
Jesus built a ship to sing a song to
It sails the rivers and it sails the tide
Some of my friends don't know who they belong to
Some can't get a single thing to work inside
So take me down to your dance floor
And I won't mind the people when they stare
Paint a different color on your front door
And tomorrow we will still be there
I loved you every day and now I'm leaving
And I can see the sorrow in your eyes
I hope you know a lot more than you're believing
Just so the sun don't hurt you when you cry
Oh, take me down to your dance floor
I won't mind the people when they stare
Paint a different color on your front door
And tomorrow we may still be there
And tomorrow we may still be there

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Joe said...

Except there's no such thing as "reverse SAD". SAD means Seasonal Affective Disorder. While this happen in the Winter for most people who have it, it's not exclusive to that season.