Muse-inks: SAD and pupdate

AKA, Another week in the writerly life.

I seem to write about this every year: seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Winter up here is northeastern Ontario is a dark season. It’s not as dark as the communities further north, but the sun doesn’t rise until after we go to work in the mornings and it sets about the time we come home.

My new desk at work (moved in the spring of last year) had lovely, large windows, but many days are overcast. My usual level of tired, driven by anemia and hormones and neurotransmitters, is exaggerated by the low levels of light.

I’ve mentioned in a past post that the snow came early this winter. Or rather it came on time. The previous two years, we had green Christmases. When the snow arrived in early November, it was followed by bitter cold, then unseasonably warm. It’s been vacillating between the two extremes since. It’s been a brutal season for colds and flu. I’m so glad I got my flu shot early.

When I was young, I was an early bird. Up at 6 am without a complaint, but I’d fall asleep any time after 10 pm. I remember one late dinner after several hours of travel during which I could not keep my eyes open. Now … I drag myself out of bed with difficulty in the morning. Everything takes longer because I’m fighting to keep my eyes open. As a consequence, I’m usually writing later into the night.

This past week, I’ve generally gone to bed around midnight and still had to get up early, so I could walk Torvi before breakfast and heading to work.

I feel like that meme: I’m not an early bird or a night hawk; I’m some kind of permanently exhausted pigeon.

In other health-related news, I’m going to be off work this week due to a medical procedure I’ve been waiting for since last March. I’m hopeful that it will improve my quality of life, but nervous because it means anaesthetic.

Due to another condition, I can’t have regular anaesthetics. My surgery is booked first thing so that the special anaesthetic I can have can be used before the systems are contaminated with other anaesthetics. It means an even earlier day. I’ll get to catch up on my sleep later, though.

Onto the pupdate.

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Last week, Torvi had what we can only conclude was a case of the new dog flu that’s supposed to be going around. We have no idea where she picked it up, but she was splitty for three days. No parasites, no blood, no vomiting. She continued to eat and drink as normal. She wasn’t dehydrated. She hadn’t gotten into anything that could have cause her to be sick. She didn’t have anything to eat that she hadn’t had in the last couple of months.

We sorted things by restricting her food and administering a puppy-appropriate dose of Pepto-Bismol. Since then, she’s been fine and no signs of a resurgence.

That’s all for this week.

Be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 21-27, 2014

Sixteen tips for dealing with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The Toast.

Anna Maria Tremonti of CBC’s The Current interviews psychologist Brian Little about personality types.

The elusive art of inner wholeness. Parker Palmer on Brainpickings.

Wendell Barry on solitude and why pride and despair are the two great enemies of creativity. Brainpickings.

The power of applied physics. i09.

Crows understand analogies. So much for calling someone a bird brain 😉 IFLS.

How to find faster than light particles. IFLS.

Say hello to our new galactic neighbour. IFLS.

The dominant life form in the cosmos is probably superintelligent robots. Really? Motherboard.

American management explained. Tickld.

25 of the most creative sculptures you’ll ever see. EarthPorm.com

25 wild parenting moments from EarthPorm.com.

Looking back at Christmas with a couple of videos.

The Pogues:

 

And your Christmas kawaii:

 

It may be January first, but Janus looks back as well as forwards 😉

Have a great rest of the week, y’all!

Thoughty Thursday

The SADness of winter in northern Ontario

This winter has been a challenging one pretty much everywhere this year. Though we’ve only broken a couple of records in the cold temperature category, I don’t think we’ve broken any for snowfall, which feels strange to me, because we’ve had more snow this winter than we have in … well a lot of years.

They say we have global warming to thank for all of this, but that seems counterintuitive to me. This whole winter has been alternating snow and freezing temperatures. It even snowed as far south as New Orleans. New York and the Maritime Provinces have been repeatedly slammed. Our weather certainly is messed up this year.

Winter has always been a difficult season for me. As a person with depression, the seasonal reduction of daylight combined with the number of overcast days makes me prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

I’m more tired than usual, and I’m tired most of the time. I just want to hibernate.

It’s a struggle to remain productive, both at work and in my writing life. I miss more days of writing in the winter than I do at other times of the year, which distresses me. It’s more difficult to feel enthusiastic about things, even things that I enjoy. I have to fake it until I make it.

I also eat more and am less active in the winter. I gain weight. Fortunately, this doesn’t distress me so much, but it can lower my self-esteem.

I feel like I’m falling behind. There aren’t enough hours in a day. Everything seems to take longer to do.

The light is returning, though. We’re in March and only weeks away from the Spring Equinox. I’m starting to feel better already.

We’re also one week away from the “spring forward” of Daylight Savings Time (DST).

It’s frustrating that we still follow it. I call it self-imposed jet lag. Just as I’m beginning to feel better because of the increased daylight, we leap forward an hour, plunging my mornings back into darkness. It’s once more a challenge to get out of bed and start my day.

Plus I lose an hour and that messes with my already fragile circadian rhythm. Insomnia abounds.

It can take me days, sometimes weeks to recover.

The claim is that DST saves energy from the use of incandescent lighting and has economic benefits in the summer because of increased retail, sporting events, and other activities that can more easily be conducted in the evenings due to the shifted hour.

I really don’t see it. We use lights when it’s dark regardless of whether it’s dark in the morning, evening, or both. We’d take advantage of the daylight regardless.

I can’t change legislation, though. So for now, I must simply deal.

What about you? Do you get SAD in the winter? Has this winter’s wonky weather patterns got you down? Do you see the point of DST, or does it bother you? Do you even have to deal with DST where you live?