Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Writing Prompt: Weather

Weather can have such a huge impact on mood. Some of us experience depression in the winter due to lack of sunlight (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and some of us (like me) have a really hard time in the summer when it is hot and humid.

Writing Prompt: What sort of weather makes you feel the most alive? What kind of weather is the hardest for you to deal with?

14 comments:

Gianna said...

I may be alone in this but weather seems not to affect me at all except that I just don't like extreme temperatures in either direction...

and for me, CA girl that I am (the Bay Area being one of the most temperate places in the world) I don't much like winter OR summer where I live now and most people think I'm a wimp. Since it's nowhere near as bad as some parts of the country....

It doesn't get much below freezing here that often nor does it get above 90 all that often but it's in the high 80's and humid and it's just slightly above freezing all the time...

yeah...call me a wimp...

I like it to be about 48-80 all year long like where I grew up...(and no humidity)

I'm spoiled.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
Actually, even though I'm a California "girl" too, weather used to affect me a lot. June and July used to be hypomanic months and August was a depressive month. Now that I'm well, I think I may have overcome this too.

Of course, like Gianna, I love California weather, and it's great in Los Angeles as well.

Susan

Jazz said...

Gianna--
That 48-80 all year long with no humidity sounds like heaven to me! I love the fall here in Minnesota, because the humidity is gone and the temperatures are starting to get cooler. I don't mind winter, even when it's 20 below for weeks on end, but I hate summer. This summer has been great so far--this is the first week I've had to run the AC!

Jazz said...

Susan--
I don't know that the weather has ever driven me into a mood episode, but I do note that I am more short-tempered in the summer, and more irritable. The hotter the temperatures, the more grouchy I get. I think it's the humidity that really does me in, though. When we lived in Eastern Washington, we'd get a week or two in July of high temps around 110, but it was dry...and that felt a heck of a lot better to me than 80 and humid. I missed the green growing things in Minnesota terribly, though! Desert life is not for me!

Jazz said...

Oh, and I guess I should add--Next to autumn, the weather that makes me feel most alive is thunderstorms--not tornadoes, not hail, thanks, just nice rumbly summer thunderstorms. With a little bit of pretty lightning.

Gianna said...

ahh! I do love the thunderstorms here. There are no true thunderstorms in CA.

I love the rain in the summer...how it cools things off.

But yeah...it's the humidity I hate here too, though I deal with it better than my husband does. What I hate most about summer is that you really can't go out and hike and it's so darn beautiful out that it's just a crying shame. Sometimes we have a nice spring and fall and they last a bit---other times we go straight from cold to hot and hot to cold.

We had a nice spring here this year too, though we did have an early heat wave that scared us...way up into the high 90's.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Jazz and Gianna,
Since I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I've never lived in the kind of weather you describe. But...my husband was born in Ohio and has fond memories of fall, but not the snow in winter.

Personally, although I love seeing fall foliage on trips, I can't stand constant rain (the darkness depresses me), and humidity would make me stay indoors when I thrive being outdoors.

Gianna, we used to hike all over the Santa Monica Mountains because my husband is a painter and does plein air painting. Now that I'm taking photography (and feel so well), we're going to start doing this again.

Jazz, have you ever felt there was a seasonal element to feeling bad? Or is it just the awful humidity?

Susan

Gianna said...

mmmm...I feel vicarious pleasure at the idea of walking in the Santa Monica mountains...I can't wait until I too can walk in the mountains again...and also with my camera that I am looking into buying now.

Clueless said...

Okay, I want in now. I've lived in Southern California my whole life and during the summer, I almost cease to exist until about 8 pm. My body does not regulate temperature well when it is warm. I do not sweat enough, I just swell and get overheated. If the house is 78 or above, I can't function. So, summer our bill is really high even though sometimes it can't even bring the temperature down to 78. My body tends to like winter the best. Before anyone says anything, all medical reasons for this have been ruled out. I just need to stay in a cool enviornment or risk heat exhaustion or worse. I've always been this way since I was a child.

Jazz said...

I'm with you, Clueless...I can't stand the heat and humidity and it makes me irritated beyond belief.

Susan, all three of my depressions occurred in the late winter/early spring--february/march, and each lasted about three months, clearing up by the time summer got underway. So I guess there may be a seasonal component...but not the one that to me would have been obvious, which would have been summer for depression.

Gianna--wish we had mountains! That's one thing I'd love to have. Well, two...I've seen the ocean once (that I can remember), and that was on the Oregon coast, and it was gorgeous...if I could pick a place to live...that would be it.

Mary said...

weather doesnt affect me that way. I just hate the hot humid weather we get here in souther ontario. I love the fall, and winter months..just hate the heat..Mary

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
You're got to admit that it's interesting that all three depressions took place at the same time of year. Norman Rosenthal, M.D. is the expert on this, and there are people who do have depressions when you do, and feel good in summer. Personally, I've always thought that this subject bears more research!

Susan

Jazz said...

Mary--I'm surprised...I always thought Canada was a lot cooler than here! Guess I was wrong. I like fall and winter much better, too!

Jazz said...

Susan--
It is interesting that they all occurred around the same time of year. And the last one occurred while I was taking antidepressants, even!

I always considered the first two depressions situational--I was at home with two small children, which was not at all the life I had planned for myself, and I had a lot of difficulty adjusting to that--the demands, the lack of quiet, the constant need to be paying attention to them. My kids are only 22 months apart, so it seemed like a really long time that I was dealing with infants and toddlers, with no break in between kids...one would get out of a certain stage just as the other was entering it!

The third depression was when I was on bipolar meds, which made me cycle--I had three mood episodes that year, which, for me, is a lot. What I've identified as "episodes" in the past have been years apart, and up until the "mania" that got me sent to the pdoc, not bad enough to warrant chemical intervention.

So, in answer to your original question, while I'm not sure the weather itself triggers it, and if it did I would have expected to experience depression during the hottest summer months, there does seem to be a season during which I am more susceptible to depression.

Sorry to ramble on so!