It seems that Estonia may not be somewhere I’ll eventually be able to settle down forever and ever.
This saddens me, because I really do love it here. I love the culture, the old streets and buildings, the restaurants, the cold weather, and the fact that you can get an excellent cup of coffee for about 35p as opposed to £3.50. This is a great place to live!
It’s dark nearly all the time now, which is also a plus for me. I do not enjoy bright sunshine and stifling heat. I like long, dark evenings, fluffy snow, crisp breezes and that sort of thing – odd creature that I am. It does not bother me in the slightest that we never really see daylight any more these days, and that the hours that aren’t filled with total darkness are rapidly becoming fewer. All that SAD stuff? Seasonal Affective Disorder? Nonsense! Just a load of whiners moaning about the weather.
Anyway, it’s not like I’ve been able to experience much of the weather, because I’ve been utterly exhausted of late, and getting the energy to go outside has been a rare occurrence. No obvious reason, and yet there never seems to be a point in the day at which I actually wake up. Sluggish and sleepy, that’s me. All day, every day. It’s kind of depressing, to be honest, and makes me feel sad on a regular basis.
It was suggested to me that I might have a Vitamin D deficiency, as this is something that leads to chronic fatigue, constant tiredness, and the general run-down feeling of having less energy than… good grief, I don’t even have the energy to come up with a witty comparison, there. Wearily, I went online and did a spot of googling on the subject of said vitamin. The suggested diagnosis seemed highly plausible, which was great, as clearly all I had to do was start taking Vitamin D supplements and I’d be full of beans again. Hurrah!
I cheered too early, because every article I read seemed determined to redirect me in my clicking, sending me to various pages about a certain well-known condition resulting from this apparently common vitamin deficiency. So, boys and girls, who knows what causes Vitamin D deficiency?
The answer we’re looking for is “lack of sunlight”. How amusing. Vitamin D is, of course, only produced when skin is exposed to the sun. This is obviously a little tricky when you haven’t glimpsed the sun for several weeks. So your body stops producing Vitamin D, your bones weaken, and you get rickets. Isn’t that nice? Or, more commonly, you manage to get a tiny amount of Vitamin D from things like fish and dairy products, and take the highest recommended “safe” dose of supplements, and you avoid rickets… you just suffer from SAD instead.
The irony is not lost on me. Girl who hates bright sunshine and hot weather, loves cold, dark days, and scoffs at sufferers of SAD, finds self suffering from same. I didn’t want it to be true, and so it was with increasing despondence that I read the list of symptoms:
- difficulty concentrating
- weight gain
- avoidance of social situations
- body aches, often for no apparent reason
- feeling excessively tired
- feelings of hopelessness
- increased, excessive sleep
- loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- lack of energy
Woe and despair: I am allergic to my preferred weather type.
Relieved as I am to find that there’s a reason for all this, and I’m not simply going round the bend as previously feared, I’m also somewhat disconsolate to read that in order to get the required amount of Vitamin D to avoid this unhappy condition, you’d have to drink 40 glasses of milk per day. And that can’t be good for you. It seems that there’s no way to do it other than fooling your body into thinking it’s sunny – and for this, there exist many ludicrously-priced “light therapy” lamps. A bit of research around this has shown me that (a) half the population of Estonia has SAD, (b) as a result there are specialist light therapy shops all over the place, and (c) those crafty sods must be filthy rich.
Well, I’m off to stare at the little blinky light on the dishwasher. It brings me comfort and carefully measured happiness at regular two-second intervals.