Psychology Talk Series # 14: Rainy Sunny Days in Manila

in #psychology6 years ago


March is when summer finally begins in the Philippines. It does sound fun, but here in the City of Manila where any sidewalk or water body could be your garbage bin and where smoke belching is as common and seemingly hard to quit as smoking cigarettes, that translates to death--you take a walk outside in an afternoon and you just start perspiring like you're meat breaded with air pollution, deep fried in boiling oil .

This year though, I have noticed that this supposedly rain-free month has already been experiencing afternoon showers, and it's not even halfway through this hot season yet! Then just like that, I noticed changes in my routines and my mood. I wouldn't call it seasonal depression, but let me tell you all about that kind of depression probably a lot of Manila people are dealing with these days.


You have probably heard it from Lana Del Rey--summertime sadness--melancholy at a time when most people are out on beaches having the time of their lives. There's also that "winter blues" they call that make you want to spend all your time indoors watching Netflix and binge-eating carbs. One might say that those two common seasons for experiencing what we call Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are just usually the ones most people have had good memories about that's why they cause such loneliness, but that's just one among few other factors.

Who's SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, first of all, is a form of depression that shows a recurring seasonal pattern. To differentiate it from the mood swings we experience that are not really depression but are caused by the seasonal changes, then one should keep in mind that SAD makes significant impact on how the person who has it will go through their day--it's not just a mood shift, for it is actually a sort of a gravitational-like pull towards the usual symptoms like sluggishness. So you may be having that summertime sadness but that doesn't automatically mean you're dealing with SAD.

To give you more ideas of what it's really like to have SAD, here are the following symptoms:

  • lack of energy for daily tasks
  • concentration problems
  • too much sleep/lacking of sleep
  • depression – feeling down, feeling nothing
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • mood changes
  • overeating
  • loss of interest in sex or physical contact
  • social and relationship issues
  • greater drug or alcohol use

So do you still think that mere mood swing is SAD?

Why does one experience SAD? (aside from the obvious factors)

The sky is dark and the day turns slow again, so you flip through the pages of that book you've been planning to read a season ago when it was sunny and you were out having a good time with friends. Then you somehow can't even finish three pages of the book, for all you can think of is hibernating from your entire life. Damn, SAD really hit ya.

Here are a few reasons why SAD hits:

  • Light - it plays a huge role in our lives that it is associated with so many activities we perform in our daily lives that when our preferred dim setting is replaced with bright lights, we feel off and all of a sudden unmotivated. Same goes for so many other basic human activities like sex--some people prefer to do it with or without a light on that when the color of the sky due to seasons change, their libidos start to make shifts as well.
  • Body Clock - the brain sets one's body clock according to the hours of daylight, so when the changes in seasons affect those hours, the brain then has a difficulty adjusting your own clock. This could then lead to the brain or your body itself, making half-baked performances in various tasks.
  • Low Seretonin Levels - seretonin is a chemical used by the brain to regulate our moods, and studies have shown that this chemical is low in those who possess SAD during winter.


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