You know the mornings when you wake up one eye at a time, aware of how freaking cold it is before you’re even fully conscious? That was me this morning. My parents moved our family to Minnesota when I was in high school, I chose to stay here for college, and then I chose again to apply for jobs exclusively in Minneapolis. By doing so, I subsequently lost the right to complain when yet another winter rolls around and seasonal depression inevitably consumes us all. I realize that, you know, Alaska exists and people live in Greenland, but hear me out. This morning I checked the forecast while I prepared myself to emerge out from underneath my sheets and the high for today read nine degrees Fahrenheit. I think about last January during one of our long stretches of subzero temperatures when I literally begged God for a number that wasn’t accompanied by a negative sign.
This has been my first week having to get up extra early to scrape the ice off of my car, defrost the windshield, and run my engine for ten minutes prior to my drive to work on which half of my fellow commuters have forgotten how to maneuver around the snow. I’m guilty of being one of those Minnesotans who tells visitors, “Oh yeah it’s not too bad. The summers here make it worth it. Besides, we get all four seasons, you know” (I hope that was read in a Minnesotan accent). Here are the four seasons we get: Two months of a truly perfect autumn. I’m serious. Sixty degrees and sunny, it smells like ladybugs (yes, ladybugs… you know what I mean). The colors, oh my God the colors are incredible. The streets are canopied with trees dripping in bright reds before wilting to their death for our seven month winter. That brings us to our muse; last winter persisted through April. I flew to Portland the last weekend of the month to escape a blizzard. Portland. A city with arguably the most depressing weather in America was my vacation. Spring lasted three weeks; long enough for my skin and my lips to remember what moisture was like and then came our blissful three months of summer, the three months that make everything worth it. For those of you following along at home, that is give or take seven months of winter and five months of non-winter. The point of this blog post, you ask? I’m moving.
In all actuality, seasonal depression is (excuse me for this) a bitch. It’s a very real, tangible sadness, especially for us tundra dwellers who don’t see the sun for extended periods of time. One in ten Minnesotans experience it every year. That’s insane. WCCO shared a study a few years ago that shows Minnesota having one of the highest levels of seasonal depression, along with Norway and Alaska and this morning was an unsubtle reminder of that. This is my mental note to plug in my happy light (I’ll drop some more info about that below), drag myself to the gym, and force socialization upon my friends and my family. To my fellow seasonally downtrodden, hang in there. Buy a happy light. To those of you who prioritized your Vitamin D intake and thought proactively when settling on a place to live, let me know if you’re hiring.
Oh, also, here’s my Happy Light. There are cheaper options on Verilux’s website!
6 thoughts on “My Favorite Winter Accessory is Seasonal Depression”
I moved to Maine my junior year of high school (culture shock) and the seasons that you described are spot on for Maine too. I also stayed here for college and then work and your words are playing in my mind with the memories and experiences that I could never find the words for. Thanks for sharing because it really helped me to realize I wasn’t the only one to feel like this…..you have a great gift for expressing yourself, so thanks. I too deal with a roller coaster of emotions that I usually just bottle up and hide behind a smile and laugh.
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You are definitely not the only one! Maine is beautiful, though. Such a unique coastline. I’m glad you enjoyed reading 🙂
I live in Washington state, about sixty miles south of Seattle, which is listed as the city with the second most depressing winters (Anchorage takes first place), so yep I sympathize. In the Pacific Northwest we don’t get so much snow, and even in the worst winters the temperature rarely dips below 10 degrees, but it’s DARK here. Nice for sky watching at night, not so great for staving off seasonal depression. A doctor once told me that most of the folks who live here are chronically deficient in Vitamin D. Still, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. It’s beautiful here. =-)
I enjoy the north despite my deprecating description of it! I couldn’t imagine missing out on the Northern lights or the snowy winters. I LOVE the Pacific Northwest. That used to be my top choice had I moved after college. Besides, our endurance builds character 🙂
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I have yet to see the Northern Lights, but I’ve only lived this far north for a couple of years (moved up from near Portland, Oregon – third most depressing city), so it’s likely I’ll see them eventually. So far, every time they would have been visible here there was too much cloud cover.
Oh and I totally got that you love where you live. It’s clear in your description — or maybe it’s just easy to recognize a kindred soul. =-)
I appreciate a good, kindred soul! I saw the Northern Lights from Minnesota a couple years ago. I’m sure they’re so much more vibrant and amazing somewhere like Alaska. That’s on my bucket list!
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