… not dark and SAD.
This week I have two quick important points about mood disorders.
First, this Saturday is the winter solstice which is the first day of winter and the day of the year with the shortest daylight.  (It’s also my wedding anniversary.  One of you please remind me on Friday!)  Every year in late fall or early winter some people develop increased appetite, sadness, excessive sleepiness and social withdrawal.  These are some of the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  Though SAD is much more common in more northern latitudes where daylight hours are even shorter, it does occur in sunny Los Angeles too.  The Mayo Clinic website has a very informative page on SAD.  Check it out if you know someone who doesn’t do well this time of year.
Second, last week I wrote about insomnia, and linked to an article that suggested that awakening in the middle of the night for an hour or two may be normal.  Barnet M. emailed me with a very important caution.  Insomnia might not be normal.  It might be a symptom of anxiety or depression.  If you are waking up ruminating about anxiety-provoking things, or if you’ve had changes in your mood or appetite or energy level, please don’t ignore your insomnia.  Discuss it with your doctor.  (Thanks, Barnet!)
Tangential Miscellany:
My wife, Janet, and I wish all my readers who are celebrating a merry Christmas.  May we all enjoy peace, laughter and health in 2008.