I’m convinced, or maybe desperately hopeful is the right term, that a few days in a row of good weather will burn my bad mood away like morning fog, but holy shit have we ever been shortchanged on anything resembling a spring here in Seattle. We seem to get maybe one day of sunshine every week and a half or so, then kerblam, it’s back to overcast skies and chilly temperatures. I looked up the symptoms for Seasonal Affective Disorder—you know, SAD, as in sad face, call the wahmbulance—and nodded in grim recognition.

Difficulty waking up in the morning? Check. Craving for carbohydrates? If that means “all-encompassing need to cram sugary/starchy foods in my complain-hole 24 hours a day”, then CHECK. Lack of energy? Hang on, let me just swill the last of this Red Bull . . . check. Difficulty concentrating? Wait, huh? Oh I mean check.

Dude! I’m totally SAD. The most privileged of the depressions: “Oh, I’m sad about clouds.” It’s like a Stuff White People Are Sad About disease.

In truth I’m in a tail-chasing mode about a number of things lately, but I swear the sun took my coping skills when it decided to disappear for half of May and all of fucking June. When you live in the Northwest you know you’re in for a long rainy season every year, but the reason we don’t all hurl ourselves from bridges is because eventually it gets NICE again. That’s how it’s supposed to work, anyway.

We had a break in the rain on Friday and while JB was at work and the boys were at school I headed for the woods in hopes of clearing some of the cruft from my brain. I spent three hours hiking around and exploring new trails and I didn’t see another soul while I was out there. It was pretty much exactly what I needed.


Here’s hoping the sun comes back again soon. I’m sick of being SAD. Also, my wardrobe budget can’t afford for me to keep eating these here medicinal cookies.


48 Responses to “Seasonally affected”

  1. Erin on June 20th, 2010 11:49 am

    I’m right there with you. I just got home from 4 days in sunny Arizona and I did not want to come home. I think if the weather doesn’t get its act together soon, there is going to be a mass exodus from the Seattle area. If things don’t improve soon (read: within the next week) I may lead the way.

  2. Sunny on June 20th, 2010 11:52 am

    Boy, amen to that! We leave in Eastern Washington, Tri Cities, to be somewhat-exact. We’re supposed to have the desert climate, tumbleweed and 80 degree temps right now. I’m supposed to be rubbing my Western WA family’s nose in the warm weather. Instead? We have mushrooms in the fucking lawn, rain every day and gray skies. This is bullshit. If I wanted this weather, I’d be back in Western WA and have a shit-load better opportunities for another SAD cure- medicinal shopping!!

  3. Kristin on June 20th, 2010 11:53 am

    I think I get SAD, too. I’ve noticed that I get really tired on rainy days and don’t want to go anywhere. Kind of like a weird sort of depression. Luckily, I live in a sunny state. I love the Seattle area and thought living there would be fun, but I’m not sure I would be able to stand the weather (fun for awhile, but not forever).

  4. Kristin on June 20th, 2010 11:54 am

    Oh, and I meant to say that I love the pictures from your hike! Beautiful!

  5. Erika on June 20th, 2010 12:06 pm

    I’m sorry but I have to say, sun is overrated when you have 100 degree F with 80% humidity. Uggggghhh!

  6. Locusts and Wild Honey on June 20th, 2010 12:14 pm

    That was genius of you to go to the woods. They say that humans disconnected from nature get sick more often. The perfect balm.

    Btw, if you see the sun, can you ask it to stop by San Francisco? We miss her too.

  7. marie on June 20th, 2010 1:04 pm

    Second to Erika.

    What’s the point of sun when stepping outside makes you gasp like a fish. Ironic, because, oh the humidity!

    Am I supposed to stare longingly out the window, wishing for drizzly overcasts days so I can run errands without the joyous accompaniment of excessive sweat? And how am I to keep up an exercise regimen in all of this? Riiight.

  8. olga on June 20th, 2010 1:12 pm

    Agreed. I’m getting not just SAD, but also borderline plus-sized (which is such a demeaning term), and on Wednesday I’m supposed to be wearing a dress for the first time ever as I graduate university.

    On the other hand, you are awesome. Even when seasonally affected. Your motivation, kindness, wisdom, and beauty really inspire me. Honestly.

  9. Eric's Mommy on June 20th, 2010 1:38 pm

    Beautiful pictures from your hike. I love New England but a lot of your pictures make me want to move out there.

  10. Fi on June 20th, 2010 2:01 pm

    I live in England, where we are SAD *all year round* – sigh. Hope sunshine, lollipops & rainbows are all with you soon. ox

  11. Sara on June 20th, 2010 2:14 pm

    Kristin, having low energy on rainy days isn’t SAD. I recommend reading up on what SAD really is.

    I’m actually a little offended by the “lol what a silly ~disease~” attitude in Sundry’s post. SAD is a real mental illness and can trigger serious, major depression. Most people can shake it off once spring arrives but for those who can’t, it’s truly debilitating. Dismissing it as nothing more than privilege is mentalism, plain and simple. And that, actually, is you showing your privilege.

  12. JudithNYC on June 20th, 2010 2:27 pm

    Not that she needs defending, but I think Linda’s tone is motivated by the fact that she does not like feeling that way. I am bipolar and EXTREMELY affected by dark, sunless days and sometimes I talk like it’s just me being a spineless jerk. By the way, I am a third-world native, no privilege whatsoever. I just do not like being at the mercy of my stupidly wacked brain chemichals and that deprecating, dismissive tone is one of the ways I cope.

  13. Wink on June 20th, 2010 2:42 pm

    Sara: recommended reading on what a SOH, “sense of humor”, is.

    “All and Sundry”

  14. Amanda on June 20th, 2010 2:42 pm

    Ugh! I have the SAD too.. and live in Vancouver (BC not yours) so we’ve had the exact same dismal spring.

    My cycle goes = I feel like crap. I should exercise or not eat candy… but why bother? Lets just eat some more candy and lay here instead. Whyyy do I feel like craaaap?

  15. JChevais on June 20th, 2010 2:47 pm

    Feel your pain. I live in France (near Paris) and the weather is so bad in the South that HOUSES are being swept away by all this stupid rain. WHEN will it end? Tomorrow is the first day of summer. Why am I wearing a ski jacket outside? (or inside for that matter! I am NOT turning the heating back on)

    Crazy. Paris is usually really grey (it ain’t called The Grey Lady for nothing), but this is freaking ridiculous.

    What the hell is mentalism?

  16. wendy on June 20th, 2010 2:47 pm

    I’m with you in this. Wtf spring? Like Sunny I’m over here on the Eastern aka “red” side if the state where it’s supposed to be all dry and uuuuh desert like. Liars! Apparently we got a monsoon season?

  17. Ashley, the Accidental Olympain on June 20th, 2010 2:52 pm

    OMG I’m so SAD it’s actually quite funny.

    My boyfriend’s parents are visiting us in Olympia this weekend and while I stood in the POURING rain on Saturday watching an airshow I was moments
    from just laying down on the ground and giving up on life.

    Someone tell me the sun is coming back soon.

  18. Sonia on June 20th, 2010 3:12 pm

    Ugh. I had to wipe the Juanita’s tortilla chip residue off of my fingers before I could type. (Have you tried them? I SWEAR they are laced with CRACK!) I’m in a carb coma from all of the shoveling into the pie-hole, and I’m 100% blaming this stoooopid ass weather. My husband was reading off stats this morning about how this is the worst June in recent….something something….too much rain and low temps. I couldn’t concentrate long enough to absorb what he was saying. I *know* that working out will make me feel better, and yet…. SO. I get where you’re coming from, and good for you for getting up and out into the woods. I’ll be sitting here on the couch looking at the pretty pictures you took. Eating Juanita’s chips and pico de gallo.

  19. Shin Ae on June 20th, 2010 3:43 pm

    I know that SAD. I get it, too. These last couple years, summer hasn’t quite cured me as it used to do. Even on the hottest, stickiest Mid-Atlantic summer days, winter hangs over my head. I need to move. Although not to where you are. Your photographs are so beautiful but they also gave me the beginnings of a panic attack…all that DAMP, oh my!

  20. Beth on June 20th, 2010 3:52 pm

    The only thing I hate about living in New England is the SAD I get every winter, when we barely see a patch of weak, pale yellow sun for MONTHS. I’m starting to think one of those UV lamps is in order.

  21. MotherGooseAmy on June 20th, 2010 4:07 pm

    Here is something to be HAPPY about… it looks like THAT where you live. You can just hike around and take gorgeous photos IN YOUR BACKYARD.

    Not the same here in Michigan. Although, we went boating today and it was sunny :P

    Seriously though, sorry you are SAD. Hopefully summer will make up for the lackluster spring.

  22. Holly on June 20th, 2010 4:37 pm

    Take Vitamin D supplements. I went to the Dr with the same symptoms and she did blood tests – they said I was Vitamin D deficient. I’ve been taking supplements for a few weeks now and it makes a HUGE difference. Seriously – I don’t feel nearly as “blue” as I did before the supplements. I even sleep better, which is probably partly responsible for the improved mood too. I think especially in the Pacific Northwest we have to be careful with the Vitamin D intake. King 5 had a news story about it last week too which also said that Vitamin D supplements help with sleep, modd, and muscle aches. Give the Vitamins a try!

  23. Lesley on June 20th, 2010 5:13 pm

    Carrot cake with cream cheese icing is good for SAD.

    Agree with Holly on the D. I live in Vancouver and my doc has me on 5 grams a day.

    I love all the photos but especially the first and last. (You’re a brave woman going into the woods alone. I’m too freaked out by my scary imagination to do that.)

  24. lindsay on June 20th, 2010 6:07 pm

    Love the pics…. I’m going to go walk in suburbia down a road in the midst of repaving with lots of orange signs and repaving smells….each of us with our own cross to bear and stuff ;-) Feel better! Hope tomorrow is as good as your last Monday!

  25. Jennifer on June 20th, 2010 6:26 pm

    So true about how we suffer through this weather all winter and we just tough it out. BUT when May and especially June arrive, we expect to finally get the good stuff. Can’t believe how dismal it’s been. I kept a high level of optimism all the way up to, oh, about June 10th then I snapped. Stay outta my way!!!

  26. Tricia on June 20th, 2010 6:29 pm

    I’m with Erika, way up there on the comments list. Triple digits, humidity, and every-morning sunscreen applications: ugh.

    When I visited SEA and parts north a month ago, I could only marvel at the green green green beauty. And no wind.

    Did I mention: no wind?

    Here? Husby just walked in to announce “more storms”. We are already in a tornado watch.

    I love gray and snow and quiet winter…

  27. Maria on June 20th, 2010 6:41 pm

    That makes me want to go tromping off into the woods right this second. How cool.

    I can’t even conceive of chilly weather in June. This “winter” in Florida almost killed me, so I can sympathize with the SADface. I hope more sunny days come your way soon, you deserve it man.

  28. .303 Bookworm on June 20th, 2010 7:17 pm

    Summer here in Wellington NZ was (because it was MONTHS ago – we’re into winter here now, well it was really lovely. Hot, sunny, blue skies with not a cloud in sight. I remember it well, it was a Tuesday.

    And then reality came back.


  29. Holly on June 20th, 2010 7:49 pm

    @Tricia – Did you hear about the wind storm we had a few years ago – over 1 million homes without power for upwards of 10 days. Tornado force winds through a major metropolitan area – we had light crews imported from all over the country to put our power lines back up. We also had the Clinton Inauguration Day storm that knocked power out all over Western Washington for more than a week. We *definitely* get our wind out here – just at a different time of year. I *heart* the PNW. :)

  30. Belle on June 20th, 2010 8:27 pm

    I also take Vit D supplements on order from ortho doctor – I said, well hell….haven’t seen the sun in months so d’uh of course I’m low. Can’t tell if it’s helped the SAD because we actually have had sun for a couple of months now. Ok, on and off, but better than nothin’!

    While the woods look beautiful, I do hope you are telling someone when you go and when to expect you back. I’m with Lesley above – you can never be too cautious when by yourself. (I’m too chicken to even take a walk in my subdivision by myself. Ha.)

  31. Victoria on June 20th, 2010 9:23 pm

    Dude, I know. Like, we’re used to rain and stuff, but NOT ALL DAMN SPRING LONG!

  32. Kristin on June 20th, 2010 10:02 pm

    I just read this aloud to Corey and he nodded in grim agreement. Our weather system in Van is pretty much exactly the same as yours there and we’re totally effed up here too.

    I’m convinced July will make up for asshole June.

  33. Donna on June 21st, 2010 2:37 am

    I definitely need to move, I love the rain, and would like it if it was cold and rained every day.
    Unlike most people with metal in their bodies, I feel better when it is cold than when it is hot. Feels like the metal tightens up and is sturdier or something. And I love the rain, my hair grows, my complexion gets gorgeous, and my sinus’ even behave…
    Got a spare bedroom? The photos were awesome, I would have loved to gone on your hike with you!
    And Sara? Obviously you need one of those lamps to cheer you up and make you less cranky…it’s called a sense of humor. Get one mmkay?

  34. Sara on June 21st, 2010 6:24 am

    Love the pictures…we don’t have anything that pretty here!

  35. Christina on June 21st, 2010 7:04 am

    I tried D3 this past winter and OMG the difference was incredible. Try it!! It totally helped or it has the placebo accept and TOTALLY helped (lala lala I do not want to hear if it does not work for you ;)

    Talked to Mom yesterday who lives in your area and she said it is maddening how bad the Spring has been there. I think she said dreary like 10 times in a 2 minute span. Suckage. She works in Mt Vernon and said the sun is always shining there even though it is an armpit but I gathered she is glad she gets to go there when the weather is bad closer to the city.

  36. Jennifer on June 21st, 2010 9:14 am

    I can remotely relate…I get the same way when we get a week-straight of cloudy days. And that’s usually the most we ever get here in Texas! So, I can’t IMAGINE dealing with it for months on end – I would totally hurl myself from a bridge. Not that I’m encouraging you to, mind you. And I will probably feel like hurling my 7-month-pregnant self off a bridge after our 30th straight day of 100+ degree temps that will likely fall around mid to end July!

    My sister is in the Navy in Bremerton and is coming for a visit this weekend. When I asked her what she’d like to do while she was here, her exact words were “live in your pool in the sun….the WHOLE time I’m there”. So, we will be spending a week in the 100-degree temps, soaking up some rays this week!

    On a positive note regarding WA – look at those fantastic photo opps – you don’t get anything remotely that beautiful and tranquil where I live! Grass is always greener, I guess….

  37. perl on June 21st, 2010 9:57 am

    “Dude! I’m totally SAD. The most privileged of the depressions: “Oh, I’m sad about clouds.” It’s like a Stuff White People Are Sad About disease.” – that is the funniest thing I’ve heard in awhile. Brilliant. The weather is the same here in Corvallis. It sure doesn’t feel like summer.

    Anyway, been meaning to tell you that I (random internet person) think of you every night when I read the new Christopher Moore book because you totally have to read it. It’s hilarious.

  38. Kami on June 21st, 2010 11:15 am

    I have it too. Get a lamp and some vitamin D supplements. It helps. For realz.

  39. Nicole on June 21st, 2010 11:55 am

    Sorry to hear that you are SAD. I used to live in Boston and would really struggle in the Spring.

    I’m a dietitian and I totally agree with the comments about Vitamin D. There are studies that show a link between Vitamin D deficiency (which is way more common than we ever thought) and symptoms of depression. It’s important though to get your 25-OH D3 level checked by your physician first and then when you start supplementing make sure you get levels re-checked every 6 months or so. Vitamin D can be toxic so you don’t want to over do it.

  40. victoria on June 21st, 2010 12:23 pm

    Yesterday, the darkest June day in Seattle’s recorded history, I thought, if I hate yet another cold wet weekend day, what about poor Linda, cooped up in her house with two stir-crazy manic little boys?

  41. mixette on June 21st, 2010 2:31 pm

    I also have Erika’s weather. SATT season (Sweaty All The Time.)

  42. Kathy at Wellness Roadtrip on June 21st, 2010 2:37 pm

    Wow…that hike would have done it for me. I’m in Pittsburgh and I’m pretty sure we rank right up there with Seattle in cloud coverage. But unlike you…we don’t have those vistas to escape to…just some old steel mills to gander upon. Okay…and some pretty rivers.

  43. Mary on June 21st, 2010 6:25 pm

    Where is this hiking place? I live in the Seattle area too… It looks purty! (Unless it is your secret hiking place, never to be shared with others… :))

  44. Leslie on June 21st, 2010 9:20 pm

    I’m your neighbor in Oregon and I agree – this sunless summer shit is for the birds!!

  45. Redbecca on June 22nd, 2010 10:04 am

    If Vit D doesn’t work, and if you have other random stuff going on (monthly cycles gone long and wonky?) have your thyroid checked.

    LUV the pictures. I miss the West Coast, rain and all!

  46. Steph on June 23rd, 2010 9:20 am

    I am 100% with you there. I actually think we were transplanted to Seattle when we weren’t looking. Our weather is horrendous and my mood is awful. We’ve had a few sunny days now but the rain comes in the afternoon without fail. I hate this so much!! Spring is usually my favorite season after a long Wyoming Winter but not this year.

  47. wordygirl on June 25th, 2010 2:23 pm

    Our weather on Vancouver Island has been the exact same. And you’re right, I can hold it together for the long cold winter, but come May, IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE NICE OUTSIDE. I want a refund on the past two months’ worth of crap weather.

  48. Frannie on June 29th, 2010 10:17 am

    I’m in Las Vegas right now and just hiked near Lake Mead and Red Rock. It was nice just hearing silence, mountains and no people around. If that doesn’t get rid of my Orlando SAD, I’m pretty damn sure it’ll be dried out by the time I leave in a week. BTW, Seattle looks gorgeous.

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