Are you violently happy, sad, irritable, restless, ecstatic, horny, hyperactive or just not sure? Of course, you are. We live on a bipolar planet and on June 21st it will be at maximum bipolarity. What’s been called the Summer Solstice, should be known as Serotonin Day.
Serotonin Day happens twice every year. The day our North Pole rocks to its farthest point toward the sun and the day it rolls to its farthest point away. For Northern Hemispherians, June 21st will mark the beginning of summer, for Southeners, winter. But global tipping does more then inspire wardrobe changes. It also swings our moods.
On Serotonin Day, everyone North of the equator, which is where I’m standing, will be experiencing the longest daytime of the year. With all this sunlight, our pineal glands will be robust, transforming nervous system signals into super-sized melatonin supplies. As a result, our serotonin levels will rise. Inveterate Prozac, Paxil, and Eggroll users know that when our serotonin is up, so is our incoherent joy. Life may be imploding, but we’ll feel better about it.
For every yin there is a yang. On the southern curves of the earth, June 21st is the winter solstice — the longest nightime of the year. Less light equals less serotonin. Less serotonin makes for slacker, sometimes downer, states of mind.
So, our global bipolarity is not only astronomical, but psychological. The medical profession has a name for these serotonin swings. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder — S. A. D. — sad. Symptoms of summer SAD include: decreased appetite, depression, insomnia, anxiety, and irritability. Winter SADdies symptoms include: lack of concentration, excessive daytime sleepiness, sluggish movements, and a piss poor attitude.
So, while Northern Hemispherian’s neurotransmitters are cresting this June 21st, Southern Hemispherians will be bottoming down in a darkening day — irrational exuberance in the north, blue funk in the south. With apologizes to my clinically depressed and elated friends, June 21st could be called World Manic Depression Day.
As it is, Seratonin Day is a red flag warning against important decisions between anyone from the northern hemisphere with the southern hemisphere. Marital agreements between Lithuanians and Angolans, firearms sales between Koreans and Australians, or drugs deals between Canadians and Bolivians could all end very badly.
But keep this in mind. It’s a bipolar planet. Have a safe and sane Serotonin Day. And in six months, when the global ball tips back, get ready for an astronomic mood swing.
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