Friday, January 9, 2009

Odds and Sods - SAD edition

Yes, folks, SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD) is real, although it's so common that I don't know if it should even be called a DISORDER. As I peruse the blogs, I see that several people have the winter-blahs, and it's a quite common refrain.

To me, SAD is just another vestige of our primitive past; another useful evolutionary adaptation that we no longer need. Just like that deadly love of fats and carbohydrates... which incidentally, also shoots up like a rocket during the winter. Without these adaptations, we'd all be dead--and don't you forget it... as you gnaw away on chocolate-chip cookies, blaming your munchies on football.

If we hadn't turned soporific and holed up deep inside the cave to sleep away the winter, well, we'd have frozen our Northern-European asses off. And so now, we just want to... well...yawn...(Insert Cowardly Lion voice, as he galloped through the poppy fields with Dorothy: "Come to think of it, forty winks wouldn't be bad!")

Some future day, they'll have this brain chemistry thing all figured out and they'll give us all a shot on New Year's Day, particularly if we have too many of the telltale Northern European genes: "These people are a MESS--they really need to be hibernating!" And poof!--the SAD will all go away. In the meantime, if you don't want to engage Big Pharm, I can recommend the herb Rhodiola, which our ancestors called Golden Root and the Swedes wisely stockpiled for such purposes. I would also add Ashwanghanda and Ginseng, which I (honestly) never leave home without.

And I don't promise these herbs can completely overcome a million years of evolution, either, as BigPharm promises...but you might at least come out of the cave for a few hours, and maybe even function on a fair-to-middling level.

Meanwhile, been checking out the blogs today...

Photo from Movie Crunch.

G of Doves Today writes very well about working at an elite award event in Southern Cal:

"Okay," said my friend, "it's getting close to showtime. Let's check the lobby." And we turned to go out the side door.

Only there was a group of people coming through the door. We stepped back so they could pass us. Oh. It was Them.
Yes, you know who They are!

She's really tiny. He's tall. Her skin is flawless. He's....I'm speechless.
I could never do such work for a living, because I might well involuntarily scream like some silly teenybopper... or as one person commented, giggle insanely.


mirabile dictu quotes Naomi Klein at The Nation:

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. “The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves.… This international backing must stop.”

Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can’t go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. And they simply aren’t good enough.

An environmentalist was on TV talking about how he didn't throw anything away FOR A YEAR.

He said what?! I musta heard that wrong.

No, I heard him right. A whole year. And then there was a video report, showing... oh holy God, WORMS in his basement. WORMS. He said they kept it extremely clean, gobbling up all the organic waste matter, like uneaten food. (((screams)))

How did he sleep, knowing there were worms down there?

Here is Sustainable Dave's blog about his year-long experiment, suitably named 365 Days of Trash.

If we require worms close by, I don't know if I can be a good environmentalist. (shame)


The fabulous and always-honest Sage at Persephone's Box, writes about one of my favorite subjects, friendship... notably the differences between male and female friendships:

What about women as friends? While the guys are falling in love with me or trying to seduce me, the women are protecting their turf against me. Tanya won't do anything without her husband there, and then they just talk together the entire night. Alice got upset when I spoke directly to her boyfriend the day after I had given birth. I was working on sitting comfortably, and she was accusing me of trying to steal her fella. Then there's Jane. I share an office with Paul, Joe and Jane, and I've been hanging out alone in my classroom lately.

Jane and I have been sort-of friends for a decade or so. We work together and sometimes drink together with the guys there, but we never get into really heavy conversations. I never seem to with women I meet in real life, unfortunately. She had a long affair with another teacher who just retired. In the months before he was leaving, she changed dramatically. If I so much as exchanged pleasantries with him, she'd jump up and actually stand between us. I let it go because it was obviously a difficult time for her.
One of the good things about aging is that these things happen to me less and less often, if ever. (And you know, I can truthfully say I don't miss this sorta stuff at all. It is so nice to have women friends who don't assume you are after their husbands.)

Why are women often so jealous of other women? Is this the fault of the pat... uhhhh, the kyriarchy, or is this in ourselves and our own fears of not measuring up? Both? It continues to puzzle me, and as I age and step away from such interpersonal feuds, I find it is now safe to examine these conflicts closer. And I come back to the same conclusion, always: we can not have success in our feminist endeavors, until we STOP.

And speaking of feminism, the best for last:

I often cover the nasty ideological wars in feminist Blogdonia, but I rarely mention it when people discover common ground and rise above their differences. Thus, it gives me enormous pleasure to note that yes, IT DOES HAPPEN! Check out these inspiring posts by Renegade Evolution and Ginmar, who have decided that they can agree to disagree, WITH RESPECT! Because they know they are coming from the same place, deep concern for women. As Ginmar writes:

[Renegade Evolution] was appalled at the way prostitutes, dancers, and other workers were treated, as if all they were were sexual things to be used. In story after story, I noticed that prostitutes were referred to as prostitutes, by the number of times they'd been arrested. I wanted to know where they grew up, what books they liked, what they wanted to be in high school, who they were. The answer the newspapers and judges and others gave was this: she was a prostitute, so it didn't matter. Some of them were desperate women. Some chose the life. Some were trafficked into it. There were so many problems that they had to be distilled to orders of importance, and at the top of the heap was the important one: what is best for women? What do they want? Not deciding for them, but asking them.

There's no perfection in people, and thank God, because nobody I know would meet the standard. We'd all be without friends and have nothing but enemies and judges. But I now have fewer enemies and it feels good. I feel my energy refocused on what's important, what bedevils us all, and clarity feels so good.

Ren Ev and I will disagree. But once you start talking to someone, it's amazing what you can agree on.
Awesomeness! (((Daisy cries copious hippie-peacenik tears!)))

What is great about these posts (AND YOU MUST READ THEM ALL!) is how they show us that we can learn from disagreements... they aren't always "bad"...what is usually "bad" is how we react to disagreement, not the disagreement itself.


Wow, all that reading just wore my ass out... time to go back in the cave, turn on LAW AND ORDER and chew on some (organic, of course) chocolate-chip cookies...


g said...

thanks for the link!!! I like your blog too.

Rachel said...

To me, SAD is just another vestige of our primitive past; another useful evolutionary adaptation that we no longer need. Just like that deadly love of fats and carbohydrates... which incidentally, also shoots up like a rocket during the winter.

Is THAT why I gained 10 lbs between Thanksgiving and New Years? (I'm down two thanks to not eating a feast twice a week).

Octogalore said...

Great post. I agree that the Ren/Ginmar rapprochement is inspiring! We could all learn something from that.

I've done the olive branch thing twice this year. Both times, I felt I was probably equally culpable in the cooling off. Even if one is in the right, or more in the right, it's arguably the right thing to do to pick up the phone (or the gmail) -- if it feels right.

John Powers said...

One of the great things about the Internet is it's easier to discover that people are different. Of course people do like birds and of a feather flock together. Some figures online act as bridges. I think you're like that Daisy. You encourage your readers to consider another side of many topics and encourage us to remember our common humanity.

KCB said...

Living in Texas, SAD isn't much of an issue, but I can tell I didn't evolve for the heat of high summer here--that's when I lay around eating ice cream and watching crap TV.

Is there a reverse SAD? Because I think my pale ass has it.

ArrogantWorm said...

The Trash blog is interesting. How in the world did his wife agree to loan out their basement for worms, though? I like the idea, m'self - then I'd know that the disposables were disposed of properly instead of the local dump, and compost is always useful. I'd like to get one of those bin sets when I manage to move out. That and I think the worms are horribly cute, m'a sucker.

g said...

And oh, I gotta say? Worm composting is actually pretty cool. I don't know what that guy was doing, but I used a worm bin to compost food wastes for many years, and it was great, didn't smell, and resulted in really great potting soil for my house plants (of course, my worm bin was OUTSIDE)......

YogaforCynics said...

Hate to tell ya this, Daisy, but there are ALWAYS worms nearby....

I'd say more, but my SAD is kicking in and making me uninspired....How long 'til Spring, again?

Meowser said...

I think taking the winter off with pay sounds like a wonderful idea. How can we get that started?

And that stuff about jealous women friends makes me thank the triple goddess I'm aspie. Nobody ever assumes "their" fellas would be interested in me that way. Except for this one time when I really did have a big crush on a married guy. Then I deserved it.

sheila said...

I so have that SADD. But I didn't know they gave out drugs for that! I just sit by the window on sunny days, lol. huh.

There are too many things that are normal parts of everyday life they they are now naming and 'treating'. All a big farce. To make big money.

We've been dealing with these feelings since the beginning of time. For heaven sake. Deal and move on.

Marion said...

Hmmm...age does have its benefits, for sure. Now, at my advanced age, I can chat with interesting men without the hovering that once occurred from their wives or girlfriends. There's so much more freedom with being close to sixty!


daedalus2u said...

What I do for SAD is sit in front of a 500 Watt quartz halogen lamp while I eat my breakfast. I got it from Home Depot for less than $10. A half hours is about 0.25 kwhr, or about $0.05. It is a thermal light source, so it is broad band, not the narrow band stuff from fluorescents. It helps a little. It doesn’t take any extra time because I have to eat breakfast anyway.

Natalia said...

SAD is no fun at all - but I like your thoughts about it possibly being an evolutionary adaptation. That actually makes me feel so much better - since I so obviously struggle with it every few years.

And thanks for the reading recommendations!

Hope you're well.

CrackerLilo said...

Thank you *so much* for the advice on herbs for SAD! I mind-over-matter it, but I still deal with SAD after 4 years up here, especially since I quit taking Lexapro. Apparently Russians don't have those genes; my wife tries, and fails, to understand.

That environmentalist didn't impress me. If you watch a show on BBC America called "How Clean Is Your House?", you'll see people who've clearly spent *years* turning perfectly nice houses into landfills with roofs!

Great viewing for when you have to go into the cave...

And peace between Ren and Ginmar! Will wonders never cease!

JoJo said...

SAD is a real condition up here in the Pac NW. It doesn't bother me except for Dec. 06 after a huge storm when we had no power for 5 days right over winter solstice. That bummed me out. I tend to have SAD during the summer. I hate the sun and hot weather sooooooooooo much.

Renee said...

I am late jumping in but I just wanted to say that the winter blahs seem to be a universal phenomenon. For me part of it stems from being housebound with the fibromalgya. As much as I love the beauty of the seasons, winter is the one I could do without. I knew in a few weeks I will be so tightly wound I will be ready to snap.