Thursday, May 3, 2007

What If Human Hibernation Was Okay?

I've often thought that maybe those of us who suffer from seasonal depression aren't truly sick at all. Perhaps we're just a slightly different species. Within the animal kingdom, I'm can't imagine that lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes and others go around criticizing black bears, badgers, bats, chipmunks, fat-tailed lemurs, ground squirrels, hamsters, woodchucks, prairie dogs, and raccoons just because they go to sleep for a couple of months in the winter and awaken in the spring.

Why do we get such grief for similar behavior? What if it wasn't considered a bad thing to just need a brief respite each year? What if we knew that it was okay to eat more, gain a little weight, prepare to have a long snooze, and awaken in the spring when it's sunny and nice?

Bears prepare themselves. They rake leaves, twigs, and other plants to make a nest of sorts. They make dens in burrows, caves, hallowed-out trees, and crevices. They go to sleep with their loved ones, and wake up months later.

And when they reappear, no one says, "I'm so pissed because you missed my anniversary while you were hibernating." Or "It's difficult to remain friends with you because you disappear for months at a time."

Quite honestly, animals seem far more accepting of each other's behavioral differences than humans. Have you ever heard about a bear yelling at a bird for flying south for the winter? Can you imagine a horse saying to a fish, "You shouldn't have to swim to warmer water during the winter because I don't have to leave my home."

Perhaps the bottom line with all this is that those of us who experience seasonal affective disorder--wouldn't feel so bad about it--if we stopped getting such slack.

Personally, I may start using black bears as a role model of sorts. I sure like their nightshirts although they're a bit pricey. But perhaps if I still need to hibernate next winter, it might be a good investment.

1 comment:

"Dootz" said...

I like the hibernation idea. I think it would be great, too, for all of us hibernators to have a great big feast when we come out of it in the spring.

...except we'll need to eat animals from other phyla, not our own of course...