I have diagnosed myself with seasonal depression, which I can assure you is a very real disease. The technical name for this disorder is Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, which is defined as a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year. Causes may be genetic, as I am sure that my dad also has seasonal depression. So many winters of my life have been spent shivering while walking around school, playing in the snow until I thought my hands would fall off, and fearing going back outside to feel the gust of cold wind take over my body. The condition gets worse during daylight savings when the sun sets at 5pm, and the cold night takes over. Thus, when applying to colleges, the coldest school I applied to was in Washington D.C. I refused to spend any more winters like I had spent the past seventeen years because being in the cold made me miserable. It legitimately changed my attitude and made me less excited to wake up in the morning. If this sounds like you, you too could suffer from this unfortunate condition.
Out of the many warm climates I could have chosen to spend the next four years of my life in, I chose one of the coldest, though I didn’t know it at the time. I had convinced myself that the climate of North Carolina was like that of the tropical islands. I pictured myself walking around campus in tank tops and cute dresses, mocking all my friends wearing their winter coats and boots (I do that anyway because I did wear jean shorts two weeks ago while it snowed in New York). Needless to say, when November rolled around, I had mostly all the wrong clothes, and I really needed a jacket. Gasp!
As it continues to get colder, I have an underlying fear that my seasonal depression will return, and I will never be able to escape it. Yes, I am lucky that the coldest it really gets here is around 40 degrees, but I am most definitely not going swimming in December. It will snow, but not to the point where I will be sick of it. People from the south will freak out when it snows, and classes will be canceled. Maybe I didn’t escape the cold completely, but I will no longer live through the dreadful 5 months that make up winter in the north. I get my little taste of winter, and that’s more than enough for me.
If you believe you too suffer from seasonal depression, I promise there are ways to treat it other than picking up and moving to Florida. There are many fun things to do in the cold. Put on the fireplace and make s’mores, spend time with friends and family, and embrace the cold together. I may have slightly escaped the cold and the seasonal depression that comes with it, but a part of me will still miss bundling up to brace the cold weather that awaits every northerner as soon as they open the door to go outside.