Wah, Wah, I Have Seasonal Affective DisorderCommentary • people • Opinion • human interest • health • ISSUE 43•05 • Jan 31, 2007 By Sharon Marcus Hey, everybody, look at me, I'm a tiny little baby who lets winter cold and an hour or two of extra darkness keep me from functioning. Boo-hoo, I've got seasonal affective disorder. All I feel like doing is sitting in my apartment, eating, and going beddy-bye because my hypothalamus can't cope with the decreased amount of daylight. Boo-hoo, I have fewer melanopsin proteins than regular people. Poor me, every morning I have trouble getting out of bed because it's still dark outside when I leave for work. The gray clouds and the icy slush and the brutal cold and ever-present darkness remind me of my impending doom. They magnify all my latent fears and feelings of hopelessness. Whine! I never feel this way when Mr. Sun is shining with all his might. I wish I could slumber all winter like a bear and not even be aware of the gloomy old winter outside and wake up in April when the grass is growing and the trees are budding and the flowers are blooming. Or better yet, I wish I could live in a magical place where it's sunny and warm all year round. Then I could be happy and have fun. But, wah, I can't afford to move, so I'm forced to live in dumb old Des Moines, where the sun dies at 4:49 p.m.Blubber-blub-blub, I've lost my social and intellectual coping mechanisms necessary to maintain my mental well-being, all because of a neurological condition over which I have no control and was afflicted with by a cruel random accident of biology. Pity poor little me! Every day between January and March is a living nightmare because I'm more psychologically vulnerable to the seasonal tilting of the planetary axis than most people—wah, wah, wah!Well, at least I have my $300 dawn simulator. As mean Old Man Dark approaches, I stare at it for 30 whole minutes and hope that its bright artificial light will cheer me up. But boo-hoo-hoo, my serotonin levels still aren't increasing. Besides, a dawn simulator is no substitute for wonderful, glorious Mr. Sun. Where are you, Mr. Sun? I thought you were my friend! Boo-hoo, I'm just a self-pitying little baby with a clinically diagnosed disorder who just wants to cry all the time or stare into space. My family doesn't understand me. They don't know why I just can't pull myself together. They think I'm crazy when they catch me gazing numbly at the kitchen wall. Sob! I am unable to pick up my 3-year-old and hug her or feel any motherly joy because I lack the sufficient amount of rods and cones in my retinas.Wahhh! Will Mr. Sun ever come out again? What if he never does? Oh, no! See, because I have seasonal affective disorder, I think about stuff like this all the time. That, and suicide! Just because it was cloudy outside yesterday, I had a big old panic attack and had to go to the hospital. My husband had to pick me up from the emergency room, and boy was he mad. I think everybody hates me! I feel totally worthless, and that makes my seasonal affective disorder worse! Bawl! Well, March 21 can't come fast enough. That's the first day of spring! On that day, my energy levels will magically increase because Mr. Sun is positioned above the equator. Soon the days will be longer and the sunlight shinier, and I can finally raise the shades in my bedroom and have friends again and sing and dance and play. I have the date circled on my calendar with a big smiley face saying, "Rise and shine, Sharon! It's spring! Mr. Sun is going to hug you today. You're allowed to laugh for the first time in three whole months!" It'll be the bestest day ever.But it's still over a month away! And I can't do anything about it but curl up under the covers praying for relief to a cruel God who probably doesn't even exist. Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! Poor, poor me!