Baguio and SAD

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By Evangeline Murillo

Tea For Two

Thursday, January 30, 2014


THERE’S a song that tells of the “...loneliness of Paris,” then it proceeds to “...I left my heart in San Francisco.” Places mean different things to different people. Their significance lies in the kind of experience a person has had in these cities and areas. Baguio is one such place that many people feel so attached to, it becomes a world of its own.

However, Baguio can be a lonely place, what with the cold plummeting down to 8 degrees at times then rising again to better but still very cold temperatures. Our city can cause SAD. This is short for seasonal affective disorder. Books say that people get affected by the seasons, by the temperatures, by the rains, the fogs and all that are included in an atmospheric environment. Indeed, Baguio metes out the cold air unkindly from freezing to better Celsius degrees. What happens when one is affected by the SAD? Depression tends to occur and recur as the colder temperatures fall and the cold season progresses. Although SAD is mostly present during the coldest months, like now in wintry Baguio, this condition can come during summer as well. Sometimes SAD is referred to as winter depression, winter blues or hibernation reaction. Winter? Yes Baguio, we now have an unofficial winter in our city and province based on the freezing temperatures.

They say SAD is more common in women than in men but I think it’s the same . People of all ages can have it. Symptoms of SAD include, aside from depression, tiredness, fatigue, crying spells, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, loss of sex drive, poor sleep, decreased activity level, and overeating, especially of carbohydrates. When SAD affects a person in summer, symptoms include insomnia, poor appetite, and weight loss, in addition to irritability, difficulty in concentration and crying spells. In severe instances, seasonal affective disorder can be associated with thoughts of suicide. Careful now, Baguio.

What do we do when seasonal affective disorder gets the better of us? Regular exposure to bright lights, particularly fluorescent lights improves depression during the cold months. Of course, the La Union and Pangasinan sun and sands can do miracles too, as well as more social group interaction and support. Invite people for lunch, coffee or dinner or listen to music in our local bars. Attend parties or give one.

Perhaps the loneliness that people feel at times when in Baguio may only be a result of the cold temperature. At other times, when sadness has already affected a person before the cold season comes in, sadness can escalate to serious proportions. Go to where the sun is high and warmest. Our beaches just outside Baguio can be a refuge. Take heart, seasonal affective disorder can fade away at the passing of the season. When the sun comes out beautifully again to warm our hearts, when the birds fly in our skies in platoons, when skies are blue and warm again , when people grow stronger to fight and survive human errors like dishonesty or betrayals, seasonal affective disorder may just go out of the door. Before these, seek out the company of other people in the same situation. Group, regroup and learn to be strong. Don’t fall for people already committed to others. This accelerates symptoms. And don’t be victimized by those already committed to others. You may just ruin your life including your own. Don’t worry, as the cold passes, the heat of the sun will come to heal our tiredness and sadness. Life is beautiful, we can learn to live again!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 31, 2014.

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