Ho visto anche degli zingari felici

Ê bello che una canzone bellissima trovi nuova vita.

Grazie, Luca Carboni. Anche se l’originale resta insuperabile (anche in questa riproduzione sciaguratamente distorta).

Sarò pazzo, ma Claudi Lolli me lo porto sull’isola deserta.

Pubblicato su Musica. 1 Comment »

SAD: Seasonal affective disorder

Nell’era della complessità, mi picco di essere multi-depresso, depresso a più dimensioni.

In questi giorni – ma oggi è il solstizio, il punto di svolta – riconosco di essere stagionalmente depresso.

Da domani le giornate cominciano ad allungarsi a poco a poco (il solstizio è il periodo della variazione minima della durata del giorno e della notte – “par nadal un pé d’ gal, par pasqueta n’ureta”). E speriamo di venirne fuori. Altre forme depressive mi aspettano.

Lasciamo parlare Wikipedia.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression or winter blues, is 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, repeatedly, year after year. The US National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. They may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.” The condition in the summer is often referred to as Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, and can also include heightened anxiety.

There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapies with bright lights, anti-depression medication, ionized-air administration, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin.


Seasonal mood variations are believed to be related to light. An argument for this view is the effectiveness of bright-light therapy. SAD is measurably present at latitudes in the Arctic region, such as Finland (64º 00´N) where the rate of SAD is 9.5%. Cloud cover may contribute to the negative effects of SAD.

SAD can be a serious disorder and may require hospitalization. There is also potential risk of suicide in some patients experiencing SAD. One study reports 6-35% of sufferers required hospitalization during one period of illness. The symptoms of SAD mimic those of dysthymia or clinical depression. At times, patients may not feel depressed, but rather lack energy to perform everyday activities. Norman Rosenthal, a pioneer in SAD research, has estimated that the prevalence of SAD in the adult United States population is between about 1.5 percent in Florida and about 9 percent in the northern US.

Various etiologies have been performed. One possibility is that SAD is related to a lack of serotonin, and serotonin polymorphisms could play a role in SAD, although this has been disputed. Mice incapable of turning serotonin into N-acetylserotonin (by Serotonin N-acetyltransferase) appear to express “depression-like” behavior, and antidepressants such as fluoxetine increase the amount of the enzyme Serotonin N-acetyltransferase, resulting in an antidepressant-like effect. Another theory is that the cause may be related to melatonin which is produced in dim light and darkness by the pineal gland, since there are direct connections, via the retinohypothalamic tract and the suprachiasmatic nucleus, between the retina and the pineal gland.

Subsyndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder is a milder form of SAD experienced by an estimated 14.3% vs. 6.1% of the U.S. population. The blue feeling experienced by both SAD and SSAD sufferers can usually be dampened or extinguished by exercise and increased outdoor activity, particularly on sunny days, resulting in increased solar exposure. Connections between human mood, as well as energy levels, and the seasons are well documented, even in healthy individuals.

Mutation of a gene expressing melanopsin has been implicated in the risk of having Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The Mayo Clinic describes three types of Seasonal Affective Disorder, each with its own set of symptoms. According to the American Psychiatric Association, for a diagnosis to qualify as SAD, it must meet four criteria: depressive episodes at a particular time of the year; remissions or mania/hypomania also at a characteristic time of year; these patterns must have lasted two years with no nonseasonal major depressive episodes during that same period; and these seasonal depressive episodes outnumber other depressive episodes throughout the patient’s lifetime.

There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapies, medication, ionized-air administration, cognitive-behavioral therapy and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin.

Bright light treatment using a specially designed lamp, or light box, provides a much more intense illumination than traditional incandescent bulbs are capable of. The light is usually white “full spectrum”, although blue light is also used. The light box has proven to be effective at doses of 2500 – 10,000 lux, the sufferer sitting a prescribed distance, commonly 30-60 cm, in front of the box with her/his eyes open but not staring at the light source. Most treatments use 30-60 minute treatments, however this may vary depending on the situation. Many patients use the light box in the morning, and there is evidence that morning light is superior to evening light, although people can respond to evening light as well. Discovering the best schedule is essential. One study has shown that up to 69% of patients find the treatment inconvenient and as many as 19% stop use because of this.

Dawn simulation has also proven to be effective; in some studies, there is an 83% better response when compared to other bright light therapy. When compared in a study to negative air ionization, bright light was proven to be 57.1% effective vs. dawn simulation, 49.5%. Patients using light therapy can experience improvement during the first week, but increased results are evident when continued throughout several weeks.[6] Most studies have found it effective without use year round, but rather as a seasonal treatment lasting for several weeks until frequent light exposure is naturally obtained.

SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants have proven effective in treating SAD. Bupropion is also effective as a prophylactic. Effective antidepressants are fluoxetine, sertraline, or paroxetine. Both fluoxetine and light therapy are 67% effective in treating SAD according to direct head-to-head trials conducted during the 2006 CAN-SAD study. Subjects using the light therapy protocol showed earlier clinical improvement, generally within one week of beginning the clinical treatment.

Negative air ionization, involving the release of charged particles into the sleep environment, has also been found effective with a 47.9% improvement. Depending upon the patient, one treatment (ie. lightbox) may be used in conjunction with another therapy (ie. medication). Modafinil may be also an effective and well-tolerated treatment in patients with seasonal affective disorder/winter depression.

Alfred J. Lewy of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OHSU, and others see the cause of SAD as a misalignment of the sleep-wake phase contra the period of the body clock, circadian rhythms out of synch, and treat it with melatonin in the afternoon. Correctly timed melatonin administration shifts the rhythms of several hormones en bloc.

Winter depression is a common slump in the mood of some inhabitants of most of the Nordic countries. It was first described by the 6th century Goth scholar Jordanes in his Getica wherein he described the inhabitants of Scandza (Scandinavia). Iceland, however, seems to be an exception. A study of more than 2000 people there found the prevalence of seasonal affective disorder and seasonal changes in anxiety and depression to be unexpectedly low in both sexes. The study’s authors suggested that propensity for SAD may differ due to some genetic factor within the Icelandic population. A study of Canadians of wholly Icelandic descent also showed low levels of SAD. It has more recently been suggested that this may be attributed to the large amount of fish traditionally eaten by Icelandic people, 225 lb per person per year as opposed to about 50 in the US and Canada, rather than to genetics.

In the United States, a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder was first proposed by Norman E. Rosenthal, MD in 1984. Rosenthal wondered why he became sluggish during the winter after moving from sunny South Africa to New York. He started experimenting increasing exposure to artificial light, and found this made a difference. In Alaska it has been established that there is a SAD rate of 8.9%, and an even greater rate of 24.9% for subsyndromal SAD. American science fiction-fantasy author Barbara Hambly had undiagnosed SAD for many years and speaks freely about her condition.

Around 20% of Irish people are affected by SAD, according to a survey conducted in 2007. The survey also shows women are more likely to be affected by SAD than men.  An estimated 10% of the population in the Netherlands suffers from SAD.

Il settimo sigillo

Il settimo sigillo (Det sjunde inseglet), 1957, di Ingmar Bergman, con Max von Sydow (Antonius Block), Gunnar Björnstrand (lo scudiero Jöns), Bengt Ekerot (la morte), Nils Poppe (il saltimbanco Jof), Bibi Andersson (Mia, la moglie di Jof).

Per quelli della mia generazione, Il settimo sigillo è – molto più della Corazzata Potëmkin di fantozziana memoria – il film da cineforum per eccellenza. Gli elementi c’erano tutti: un grande regista, i riconoscimenti internazionali (Palma d’oro e Premio speciale della giuria a Cannes e Nastro d’argento in Italia), la fotografia in un bianco e nero strepitoso e apertamente ispirata alla pittura (Albrecht Dürer in primis). E soprattutto, l’argomento filosofico e religioso. I miei gesuiti, sempre un po’ arrischiati, sapevano bene che questo film – che pure non è apertamente “religioso” e soprattutto tutt’altro che “risolto” – rappresenta molto bene il tormento estremo della ricerca della verità assoluta su dio, l’esistenza, l’amore, la morte e tutto il resto (abbiamo appreso molti anni dopo che la risposta c’è, ed è 42). A noi adolescenti impegnati ma ingenui di allora quella ricerca estrema piaceva romanticamente, soddisfaceva le nostre esigenze d’assoluto che non avevano trovato ancora risposta nell’agire politico. Uscivamo dal cinema dopo lunghi dibattiti (nessuna pensava o diceva: “no, il dibattito no”) e continuavamo a discutere per ore.

Come ho trovato il film rivedendolo dopo molti anni? Sempre perfetto ed essenziale sotto il profilo formale. La natura e il paesaggio nordici che accompagnano gli stati d’animo dei protagonisti (dalla cupa partita a scacchi, alla foresta notturna, all’idillio della colazione della famigliola di saltimbanchi allo spuntino a base di fragole di bosco – Antonius Block: “I shall remember this moment: the silence, the twilight, the bowl of strawberries, the bowl of milk. Your faces in the evening light. Mikael asleep, Jof with his lyre. I shall try to remember our talk. I shall carry this memory carefully in my hands as if it were a bowl brimful of fresh milk. It will be a sign to me, and a great sufficiency.”), il medioevo della peste e della violenza delle iconografie, l’essenzialità della recitazione, l’intensità delle inquadrature dei volti. Nessuna sorpresa in questo, soltanto piacevoli conferme. Per fortuna, i capolavori non invecchiano.

Quello che è cambiato, mi sembra, è la mia sensibilità. Ricordavo che alla ricerca di Antonius Block (che vorrebbe sapere dalla morte, dal diavolo e da dio stesso perché dio non si può cogliere con i sensi e perché, se dio è un idolo creato dalla nostra paura, non possiamo eliminarlo dalla nostra coscienza) faceva da contorno un microcosmo rappresentativo dell’intera società umana (il clero, il popolo credulone, la soldataglia, la peste, la caccia alle streghe, i guitti) con tutte le nobiltà e le piccolezze della vita quotidiana.

Non ricordavo invece la splendida figura di Jöns lo scudiero, il Sancho Panza del Don Chisciotte/Antonius Block. Jöns non crede in dio, è consapevole del vuoto e della necessità di viverci dentro consapevolmente e senza rinunciare per questo alle proprie responsabilità e nemmeno alle gioie che la vita può offrire. È il portatore, forse, dei semi della modernità in questo medioevo che volge alla fine, come Antonius è il portatore dubbioso ma coerente dei vecchi valori della cavalleria. Anche Jöns si interroga, ma con dubbio e ironia. Mi è simpatico e lo sento più vicino dell’algido Antonius.

Proviamo a metterli a confronto. Antonius Block (traggo le citazioni da IMDb):

Antonius Block : I want to confess as best I can, but my heart is void. The void is a mirror. I see my face and feel loathing and horror. My indifference to men has shut me out. I live now in a world of ghosts, a prisoner in my dreams.

Antonius Block : Have you met the devil? I want to meet him too.
La giovane strega: Why do you want to do that?
Antonius Block : I want to ask him about God. He must know. He, if anyone.

Death: Don’t you ever stop asking?
Antonius Block: No. I never stop.
Death: But you’re not getting an answer.

Antonius Block: We must make an idol of our fear, and call it god.

Antonius Block: Faith is a torment. It is like loving someone who is out there in the darkness but never appears, no matter how loudly you call.

Antonius Block: Is it so terribly inconceivable to comprehend God with one’s senses? Why does he hide in a cloud of half-promises and unseen miracles? How can we believe in the faithful when we lack faith? What will happen to us who want to believe, but can not? What about those who neither want to nor can believe? Why can’t I kill God in me? Why does He live on in me in a humiliating way – despite my wanting to evict Him from my heart? Why is He, despite all, a mocking reality I can’t be rid of?

Antonius Block: I want knowledge! Not faith, not assumptions, but knowledge. I want God to stretch out His hand, uncover His face and speak to me.
Death: But He remains silent.
Antonius Block: I call out to Him in the darkness. But it’s as if no one was there.
Death: Perhaps there isn’t anyone.
Antonius Block: Then life is a preposterous horror. No man can live faced with Death, knowing everything’s nothingness.
Death: Most people think neither of death nor nothingness.
Antonius Block: But one day you stand at the edge of life and face darkness.
Death: That day.
Antonius Block: I understand what you mean.

E adesso Jöns lo scudiero:

Who will take care of that child. God, the devil, the nothingness? The nothingness, perhaps?

Our crusade was such madness that only a real idealist could have thought it up.

But feel, to the very end, the triumph of being alive!

Jöns è anche portatore di una concezione dell’amore disincantata, anche se piuttosto di maniera:

Love is the blackest of all plagues… if one could die of it, there would be some pleasure in love, but you don’t die of it.

It’s hell with women, and hell without. Best to kill them all while the fun lasts.

Love is nothing but lust and cheating and lies.

Only fools die of love.

Love is as contagious as a cold. It eats away at your strength, morale… If everything is imperfect in this world, love is perfect in its imperfection.