Weather, Baseball, and Mood

10-Sept-12

People often wonder if the weather affects one’s mood. From my experience since having an arthritic spine and suffering from mental illness, weather can certainly affect both. On sunny days, my pain from arthritis is less when the temp is between 40-60 degrees. I tend to like colder weather than hot/warm. I am a New Englander, born and raised in Boston so adapting to temperature fluctuations is a necessity. It might be 50 degrees one day and 70 degrees the next. Although I try to keep track of baramotric pressure, pain is usually my gauge.  The day before thunderstorms I am stuff and will have right hip pain, sometime with pain down the legs.

My mood on the other hand is quite the opposite of what the weather will be. On sunny days I am gloomy and downhearted. Mostly because I do not like bright sunshine. It can cause me to get a migraine just on the brightness alone. On these days I tend to stay in bed or my room because artificial light doesn’t affect me as much as real light does. Being outside on bright days always makes me feel down for some reason. Soon as it’s cloudy my mood will brighten even if my pain is increased. Sometimes when it’s cold and damp I can be in a bad mood but only because my pain levels have spiked and usually because I am incapacitated by it. It’s no fun having to stay in bed when you want to go out because you can’t move.

But I have found that despite this, sometimes moving about is a good thing. I used to and still love walking in the rain. I;, more apt to go out on a dreary rainy day because it compliments my mood. Gray skies and overcast always makes me feel less gloomy. Granted I am not a happy person. Happiness, like sadness, is a feeling that is likely to dissipate with time. Contentment on the other hand is what I strive for because it’s more realistic than the despair and anguish that depression and suicidality brings. Relatively few things make me happy. A nice mocha latte from Starbucks with toffee nut and caramel, my Red Sox boys in a winning year (this year is gone baby gone), and baseball season. I have noticed a correlation between the end of baseball season (end of world series or Sox season) with sadness more than any other time of the year, that is until Feb when baseball season starts to begin to get underway. Some people will call this SAD but SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder) is usually between Nov-April. My depression increases the beginning of Oct (when the sox play their last game) through mid February, which is outside the SAD parameters. So I have what is called BAD-> Baseball Affective Disorder or BDD-Baseball Depressive Disorder. Neither of these diagnoses will unfortunately make its way to the DSM-V (diagnostical statistical manual). Baseball just is not worthy enough to be classified as a major or minor mental disorder. That truly is sad. My psychiatrist agrees with me as what do you do when baseball season is over? How do you survive until spring training? Five months is a long time to go without this wonderful past time.

What I find exciting is you never know what the pitcher is going to throw. He may hit the player, catcher, or umpire. The ball might be foul, a hit, or a pop out. This is what keeps me sane, Baseball is my livelihood because it is America’s past time. No baseball and my already sucky mood becomes gloomier than a rained out game. On the days my Sox are not playing I will watch whatever game is on. Even if it is the stupid Yankees or as Red Sox Nation calls then, the Skankees, well maybe not all of Red Sox Nation, just me.

But I digress from my original line of mood and weather. I know most people love sunshine and hear but I don’t. Give me a cold gloomy day and I will be happier than a pig in mud. Take today. It was bright when I left the house at 9 am this morning. Then by noon it started getting cloudy and looked like it was going to rain. When the first rays of light came through my window I was very grumpy. I didn’t want to get out of bed. When I did, I grumbled, didn’t even take a shower, wanted to end my life and despite all that still got dressed and left my house. When noon rolled around and saw that it was getting cloudy my mood shifted and I felt relief. My contentment come back. I was as grumpy and could face the rest of the day. The temperature was neither cold nor hot, probably in the mid 60s and it was windy. Sunlight and me do not get along. It really makes me depressed where as a cloudy sky will make me happy. And when you have major depression, you will take any happiness you can get, even if it is on a cloudy cold day.