Friday, May 06, 2005

The Seasonal Shift

While this might not come as a surprise to anyone, the vast majority of bipolar patients experience changes in their moods that coincide with the changing of the seasons. For example, when spring starts to get its butt in gear, many bipolar patients report feeling slightly more energized. Manic episodes are more common in spring and summer than they are in the dead of winter.

I notice this particular phenomenon quite a bit in my own life. Back in early March, I'd come home from work and fall asleep, exhausted, at 7pm only to wake at 7am unrested and cranky. Now, I can stay up until 11:00 and wake up at 6:30 without any problems. Oddly though, I do tend to binge sleep when I don't sleep as much during the week. For example, last week, I followed a pretty consistent weekday sleep pattern of 11:00pm to 7:00am. I wasn't overly sleepy, just mildly lazy during the day. But come Saturday, I was utterly incapacitated by exhaustion. I fell asleep at about 7:00pm and only woke intermittently on Sunday. In fact, I think I spent a total of about 5 hours out of bed all Sunday long. And I slept through the night on Sunday night.

Anyway, I notice that my moods tend to vascillate with the seasons as well. In Phoenix and Los Angeles, this was not so much of a problem, but in South Bend, the impact is a bit more pronounced.

And so, stupid things like weekly bowling keep me alive when the sun sets at 4:00pm. And in the summer, life is good.

Summer is like falling into the garden of Eden. At the moment, I feel like my brain is coming alive just like the earth around me has. Dirty snow piles and drab skies have been replaced by baby ducks and vibrant flowers.

Damn the pessimist in me who quietly whispers that winter will come again.