John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Folks who've known me for a while probably know that I've had some massive depression in the past, and particularly in 2000-2001 or so it was really, really bad. With medication, counseling, and lots of support from good friends I came out of that a whole new person.

I still have (and probably always will) what I believe to be a variety of seasonal affective disorder, which comes in two types, winter depression and summer depression -- and I get the summer kind. If you look at the history of outages in Suburban Jungle, you'll see they tend to be in the July - September range (not always, but often). I tend to spend most of summer in a constant state of edgy exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed and barely capable of getting up in the morning to go to work, much less being creative or up to kung fu -- and the hotter the summer is, the worse I feel.

I've read a theory that summer depression is basically the same as winter depression, and that both are caused by lack of sunlight. The people who get summer depression, the theory goes, get less sunlight in the summer because they've fled indoors to the air conditioning. I don't buy this, myself. It's true that I spend more time outdoors in the fall, winter and spring -- but not that much more time. Frankly I think it boils down to not being able to sleep comfortably, even with air conditioning. Sleep is to depressives what food is to the starving.

This summer has hit me particularly hard; for the past month or more I've been slogging my way through, trying to keep SJ going, trying to write and do art occasionally, and so forth, but I've been fighting a losing battle. (In fact, it's been three months since I went to kung fu, which I am beginning to really feel the effects of in terms of my physical fitness -- but again, when the time comes to go I'm just too damn lethargic to actually do it.) I haven't been 'depressed' in the sense of being sad -- but I have definitely been out of energy and having mood swings. (Instead of getting sad, like I used to, depression makes me cranky now. Not exactly an improvement, but at least it's different.)

I'm hoping that AnthroCon will perk me up a bit. Certainly being in a more creative and cheerful atmosphere than the daily grind at work for a few days should help. I may end up putting SJ officially on hold for a little while to get that particular weight off and let me regroup; I'm going to have to see how the rest of the week goes.

-The Gneech
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