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Suffering From Seasonal Affective Disorder

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on June 26, 2014 in Other

Once again I have been floored by a cold within days of the mercury dropping below twenty and already I can feel myself falling into the abyss that is Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly abbreviated to SAD).

I’m not usually one to suffer from bouts of depression, but around this time each year it is hard to avoid. So many of the things that I love – tanning at Bondi, observing the glamours on the beach, going for a paddle on my SUP, cruising in my yacht – are summer activities. Just filling the days in the winter months is a constant battle.

I have friends who love winter as it gives them the opportunity to ‘layer up’. They spend all their time wishing they were wandering the streets of Milan or New York and long for the opportunity to don their Hermes overcoats and Balenciaga scarves. They actually romanitise about the notion of snow falling in the city, and no doubt they’ll make a bee-line to Bondi once the ice rink is erected on it’s shores once again – it’s not quite Central Park or the Rockerfeller, but it’ll do the trick.

I’m constantly having to remind them that even in the depths of winter here in Sydney, it’s rarely cold enough to require the services of any extra layers above pants and a jumper (hardly high fashion). Rather, the temperature hovers at that annoying point where it’s cold enough to make you miserable but warm enough that you feel you shouldn’t complain. Instead, you lock it up inside and let it slowly eat away at you. Much like I’m doing right now.

And before you accuse me of making up medical conditions, I must stress that this is not something that I have concocted in a bid for sympathy. In fact, SAD was first formally described and named back in 1984 by a bloke named Norman E. Rosenthal and his colleagues at America’s National Institute of Mental Health.

In describing the condition, the U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up”.

I should make one thing perfectly clear up front; while I believe my symptoms are relatively severe, I won’t be heading to The Gap anytime soon, so you can call off the search party. When you’re as wealthy as I am, it is not too hard to get on to the Internet and book a flight to a place where winter isn’t; a place where all my woes will subside as soon as I disembark the Boeing and feel the warm, thick, moist air of the tropics.

Thankfully it’s always summer somewhere, so when Sydney makes me miserable, I just up stumps and head to a place that it is guaranteed to get me in a good mood. Anyone keen to join me in the Maldives?


  1. I thought SAD was about lack of sunlight. There is no lack of that in Oz. Never heard of it being linked with lack of temperature.

    Posted by: Lyn | June 27, 2014, 3:46 PM |

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