I’m sitting here with my laptop after practically having eaten my weight in junk food. It’s only 6:00 PM, but it’s dark. Not dark as if it were night. Dark as in there’s plenty of daylight and it’s overcast to a startling degree. It’s Portland, where the state motto should be “meh…” at least from November to June.

I never understood what Seasonal Affective Disorder was until I came to the Pacific Northwest, particularly because in other areas of the country, the lack of sun isn’t drastic enough to cause it. Because I take depression medication, anyway, SAD doesn’t affect me as much as it does others. However, I know it when I see it.

The gloom affects the flow of conversation around here, as if the “looking inward” aspects of Advent and Lent (which together are only about two months) are now an ever present metaphysical state of being. Portland is extraordinarily unique. There is an ebb and flow of communication to weather. Bright blue skies and the yellow moon create a mood of giving, sharing, joy… Rain does not make people mentally ill so much as it prevents them from having enough energy to get outside their comfort zones and imagine that they’re having the kind of time they’d be having if it wasn’t raining. It makes sense, really. Heat makes things expand; cold makes things retract. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s the same with mood and behavior.

I know that I feel stronger when it’s sunny outside, that there’s something welcoming about the climate that makes me want to be there. My happiness spills into others’ happiness and communication comes easier.

When it’s grey and raining, I feel the urge to nest. I don’t want to talk to anyone besides a few close friends, and sometimes that is pushing it. My lack of want to get outside or in fact, leave the house, diminishes. In the Portland spring, I only have enough energy to care for myself and my family, because every interaction requires so much more of it.

In other areas of the world, spring is highly regarded as being the bringing forth of the warmth and other stupid crap like that. I’m in love with the stories, but I am unconvinced with evidence. In Portland, the weather uses spring to stop taking its medication. The beginning is cold and obnoxious. It’s raining all the time, and a little harder than normal. The temperature doesn’t get above 45. Then, as March starts to unfold, we get a couple of sunny days and there’s a collective sigh of relief as the grey starts to lift. March doesn’t like it when we’re comfortable, so she just starts throwing random days of batshit crazy to make things interesting… or grateful, I don’t know which. Either way, I am not fond of March and April. We need to send those two to Hopworks and get some Zyprexa in their beer. Who am I kidding?


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