an answer

The other day I unintentionally found the answer to why I feel so blah lately.  

Dooce says, "Today I just want to remind everyone that March (as well as September) can be rough on those who are prone to depression. If you're upset or frustrated or anxious or sad and you don't know why, don't be too hard on yourself. It could just be the rotation of the earth. (That's not hippie speak. That's science. It has something to do with the rapid change in light during this time of year and how our brains process that change [which is the CliffsNotes version of how my own psychiatrist explained it.])"

It's not that I don't trust her psychiatrist, but I feel like I should do a little of my own research when I post things here.  I didn't find much (but I didn't look that hard), but I did find a snippet from a book, Notes on Clinical Biochemistry by John K. Candlish and M. A. Crook (via google books). 

"Another important observation that hints at the involvement of melatonin in some affective disorders is that some forms of depression show a seasonal distribution, with peaks of depression occuring in autumn and spring.  It has been proposed, therefore, that this could be related to rapid changes in day length during these periods and that changes in the light-dark cycle may later circadian rhythm patterns, particularly at the equinoxes."

I also found this (very scientific) article by a psychiatrist in Norway.  He concludes that, "in northern climates, the time after the equinoxes, especially in spring, are high-risk periods."  This is mostly with regards to violent behaviors, but interesting and relavant nonetheless.  I also found the full text of a paper by him, some of his conclusions were

  • Suicide frequency in Norway peaks between April and June
  • The monthly frequency of telephone calls to a help-line for children and of violence correlate with the speed of change in length of day
  • The seasonal pattern of frequency of telephone calls to a help-line for children and of violence is influenced by latitude.

Good to know my spring blahs have some scientific basis!

**In searching for this information using keywords such as "equinox" and "depression" I came across a few surprising "Seasonal Adaptations of Siberian Hamsters," and that babies biological clocks are (allegedly) affected by the light-dark cycle they are born into (winter births = higher risk for depression)