Here's how Wikipedia defines "seasonal affective disorder": a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or, less frequently, in the summer, spring or autumn, repeatedly, year after year.
That part about having "normal mental health" most of the time notwithstanding, it's an affliction from which my father and I both suffer.
His own "SAD," as it's known (how cute), worsened considerably when my dad moved to Sweden after remarrying a native Nordic. They'd been living in Manhattan when their first child was born, a girl named Heather, and a year later the three of them moved to Stockholm and another kid was born, a boy named Patrick.
Dad's letters and electronic missives from Sweden take dark turns in the winter months. Now that he's divorced again and living on his own, they are full of morbid self-analysis and disdain.
But back in the happy days of his marriage to Nina, my ex-stepmom, his "SAD" thoughts often were directed at her.
One of his best lines came when Patrick was just a toddler, during a rant about Nina's bossiness and how she and Swedish culture generally exact a sort of spiritual castration of males. He wondered how Patrick would develop ...