DeAnne Smith and the Seasonal Affective Disorder Quiz

Hi there. It’s me, DeAnne Smith. You may know me as a new and hilarious contributor to Autostraddle, or as a highly successful international stand up comedian, or as a friendly firecracker of enthusiasm and fun, or as the person sitting behind you on the bus, softly crying to herself. Yes, I am all of those things. And I am here today to talk to you about an issue very close to my heart: seasonal affective disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder, also kno…

Oh, I’m sorry. I drifted off there for a minute. What was I doing? Oh, just contemplating all the bad choices I’ve made in my life as I simultaneously felt the vitamin D drain out of my body in inverse proportion to the growing sense that I’ll never truly love or be loved. But moving on!

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as the “winter blues,” strikes between 2 to 10% of the population and accounts for 73% of Snuggie purchases. According to Wikipedia, symptoms of SAD (Isn’t that just the most apt and adorable acronym ever?) include difficulty waking up in the morning, difficulty concentrating on completing tasks, and a craving for carbohydrates. Because I believe sleeping in, spacing out, and totally fucking loving toast could also apply to college students, pot smokers, old people and pretty much anyone in the world worth knowing at all, I’ve made a slightly more realistic quiz for you to complete in order to know if you suffer from SAD. I’m calling it The SAD Quiz.

Don’t forget to jot down your answers for scoring!


1. When the sun sets, I am usually:

a.) Whistling as I work. I love work! And whistling! And strawberry ice cream and chipmunks and buttons and eskimo kisses!

b.) Watching Oprah give away 600 thread count, organic, cotton sheet sets to South African orphans.

c.) Crying, curled up in a fetal position.

2. In Winter, I especially like to:

a.) Ski, girlfriend! Give me a brisk day and a snowy mountain and I’m in heaven! Eat, sleep, ski, repeat!

b.) Watch hockey, snowboarding, and an entire season’s worth of Glee episodes in one sitting.

c.) Cry, curled up in a fetal position in a bed I haven’t left all day.

via soberbabyyy

3. Most of my friends would say I am:

a.) Super fun, a super duper nice person, and amazing at Ultimate Frisbee! My fwiends awe da best! I wuv dem!!

b.) In control. Robin, Dr. Phil’s wife, says we can all make deliberate choices that lead to richer, happier, and more meaningful lives.

c.) Crying, curled up in a fetal position in a bed I haven’t left all day, which is filled with used tissues.

4. One thing that really gets on my nerves is:

a.) Mean people. Boo on meanies! Meanies send me straight to Frown Town!

b.) Commercials.

c.) Crying, curled up in a fetal position in a bed I haven’t left all day, which is filled with used tissues and an ever increasing amount of Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Dorito crumbs.

5. Waking up in the morning, I think:

a.) Wow, God sure did make another blue-ribbon winner of a hum-dingingly glorious day! Yippee for everything! I feel like the mayor of Smile City!

b.) Did I already miss The View?

c.) …about how I’m still crying, curled up in a fetal position in a bed I haven’t left in five days, which is filled with used tissues, an ever increasing amount of Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Dorito crumbs, and an unshakable sense that I’m an ultimately useless, random collection of molecules destined to live out a meaningless existence only to find myself at the end of it–having never even had so much as one truly decent hair cut– unloved, unaccomplished and deeply and utterly alone.


Mostly (a)s: You can fuck yourself.

Mostly (b)s: Congrats. You’re slugging through.

Mostly (c)s: Hey, do you get that cold, empty feeling in your chest? Like no amount of Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos or praise or human touch will ever be enough? Only a few more months to go!

Hope that was helpful, guys!

(Incidentally, there are handy informational websites to help the SAD-afflicted in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. If you live in Australia, I’m pretty sure the website you’re directed to just tells you to harden the fuck up.)

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I care a lot about my hair. Unrelatedly, I say short, funny things at

DeAnne has written 22 articles for us.


  1. You know what I did on Saturday? Stayed in bed ’til like 5:30 p.m. and ate cookies. C is almost stunningly accurate (minus the crying).

    • Your Saturday and my Saturday (and Sunday!) were identical! Except replace cookies with mac and cheese and root beer barrels. Yay, moping-in-bed buddies!

      • Haha! See, mac and cheese would have required COOKING and that was totally not happening. You’re already doing better than me.

        • It went something like this:

          Stomach: *grumbles*
          Me: But I don’t wanna get up…
          Stomach: You do not have sufficient salty carbohydrates within reach of your bed. Get up, asshole.
          Me: Fiiiiine. *gets up, puts on pot of water, goes back to bed for 7 minutes, puts pasta in water, goes back to bed for another 7 minutes, mixes in cheese packet, goes back to bed until 5:30*
          Stomach: Okay, we’re cool now. But you should probably eat some vegetables this week.

          I still count it as an accomplishment.

  2. You are one of the few columnists/writers that can make me burst out laughing in public, thanks for that!

  3. DeAnne will you marry me? I don’t have a ring because I spent all my money on the Tegan & Sara boxset, but my love for you will be enough, right?

  4. This is why people in Canada are so happy in the summer. The rest of the year is mandatory depression. Next career: therapist in the prairies.

  5. I also suffer from SAD. And I live in Canada. Quebec to be precise so I’m just fucked.
    Someone suggested I buy those lamps that gives your self a false sense of summer. It’ll defeat the purpose though because they cost 300$ and I’ll end up being sad not only in winter but in summer also, mourning my state of poverty.

    • Those lamps are so overpriced! I mean, sunshine is free, dammit! They should come up with an elaborate system of mirrors and a payment plan so those of us with SAD can get more sunlight during the winter months.

      Slightly related sidenote: Remember that lady “owns” the sun?

      • Oh my gosh I did not know about this. Why did I not know about this?
        Also, YES I like the elaborate system of mirrors plan. Instead of using our taxpayers dollars to build a new prison, they should build a fake sun.

    • During the winter I just sit under my desklamp for at least an hour every day and I put a terrarium lizard bulb in it, and I am reptilian enough that it works for me.

  6. Does anyone else get a tinge of excitement when they see a new article by DeAnne?? Always good for a laugh out loud in public moment.

    Perfect timing of this article, as I’m being bombarded with reports of two feet of snow coming. Yay.

    • I have an insulating blanket stretched over my basement window to keep the chill outside. My room feels like a bear cave and I just want to hibernate until May.

  7. The description to 5C is strangely accurate. Like, I wake up most mornings worried about my haircut and what really exists and what doesn’t because so much of everything is almost nothing.

    I just tried to stop thinking.

  8. I’m kind of hoping that living 90% of my life in what I can literally argue is probably in “the top 25 most depressing places to be in winter” (if that list existed) has only temporarily affected some kind of thing that someone might argue is “something to do with astrology”. I’m thinking that maybe my body is just getting used to winters in the “real world” and needs time to adjust.
    But yeah, I didn’t know SAD existed but I’m pretty sure I have it now. I guess I should’ve been using WebMD Symptom Checker for broader symptoms.
    And fuck, I thought I just had an unsatiable passion for baking.

  9. “Marvin!” he exclaimed. “What are you doing?”
    “Don’t feel you have to take any notice of me, please,” came a muffled drone.
    “But how are you, metalman?” said Ford.
    “Very depressed.”
    “What’s up?”
    “I don’t know,” said Marvin, “I’ve never been there.”
    “Why,” said Ford squatting down beside him and shivering, “are you lying face down in the dust?”
    “It’s a very effective way of being wretched,” said Marvin. “Don’t pretend you want to talk to me, I know you hate me.”

    • “”Sorry, did I say something wrong?” said Marvin, dragging himself on regardless. “Pardon me for breathing, which I never do anyway so I don’t know why I bother to say it, oh God I’m so depressed. Here’s another one of those self-satisfied doors. Life! Don’t talk to me about life.””

      The self-satisfied doors answered all As, amirite.

  10. “Watch hockey, snowboarding, and an entire season’s worth of Glee episodes in one sitting.”

    On Friday, I laid in bed all day and watched an entire season of Skins.

    Have you been spying on me?

    • I did this! So much Skins lately…
      Add frostbite + Skins + SAD and you’ve got my entire winter thus far.

  11. Australia has cold places! We have a research station in Antarctica which is sovereign territory!

    • but right now in the part of Australia that I inhabit it is 38 degrees (I don’t know what that is in the weird American system). I’ve been lying in front of the fan all day. I’d rather have snow please.

      • For anyone who was wondering, thanks to Chem, I now know that 38 degrees Celsius translates to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

        • It was 42 degrees yesterday….(or maybe the day before…whenever Monday was)… we lost power at work. my air con sucks arse!!!

    • In Tasmania it snows in the SUMMER.

      SNOW. In SUMMER.

      This goes against everything I learnt in Science class.

  12. This year I found an effective preventative measure to take out against coming down with the ol’ Seasonal Affective Disorder is to winter in the south of France.


    (but seriously, this is why I’m here)

  13. Question 2 answers B&C = My life. Curled up in a fetal position in the bed I haven’t left in 5 days, crying and watching an entire season of Glee.

  14. “Watch hockey, snowboarding, and an entire season’s worth of Glee episodes in one sitting.”

    Does it count if I took pee breaks during the Glee marathon? I mean, I had to get up to do that, so technically it wasn’t one sitting, right?


  15. yup. friday night i basically just cried and slept forever until i had to go to work so i brought lots of vodka because i have the best job ever. last week was miserable. this week is not looking any better. everyone i know seems depressed. one time this weekend i tried to be happy and opened my windows and they were covered in a sheet of ice and snow. so i said “fuck you too, winter” and decided the earth hated me too. im going to go sulk in my bed then not let anyone in and get upset at them for not caring, while finishing my giant box of goldfish and last package of tim tams before the world ends. #sulksulksulk

  16. i have reverse seasonal affective disorder because in the summer, all of the “A” people are in my face screaming with happiness which brings out the “C’ in me

  17. I’m just at Bondi beach right now, it’s about 30 degrees and I NEED to find some shade. What is this winter you guys talk of?

  18. DEANNE YOU ARE SO FUNNY. can you get some matrix-like brain hookup to this site and post at a frequency that debilitates all lesbians into an unproductive, laughter coma? wed get some sweet abs.

  19. February is the worst for me. No amount of melatonin, vitamin D, sunlamps, bright colors or tea will entirely chase the SAD away so I just have to stick it out.

    It’s the shortest month! You all can make it! 28 days!

  20. I generally like winter but winter is different in different places, too. like winter in sweden is super dark but the cold feels more familiar and sharp, and I like that and the light is very pale and far away. I don’t mind it. winter here in glasgow is very dark because its cloudy ALL the fucking time. if its not sleeting, its raining; we rarely get even the white northern light and that makes me feel alone somehow.

    cloudy days are like that though, open skies make me feel like I’m more connected to the world and too many dark days and clouds can be suffocating. you start to feel cut off I think.

  21. I don’t really care about the sun, it’s the negative temperatures that make me want to stay curled up in bed all day.

    It’s supposed to snow a foot tomorrow, if it wasn’t for a dentist appointment that I can’t skip out on, I would stay curled up in bed all damn day.

  22. I think if you answered mostly (a)s, that means you’re Becky, Robin’s former co-anchor on How I Met Your Mother.

  23. I HATE WINTER. Haaaaaaaaate it sooo much. And I don’t know if part of it is because I grew up in Malaysia, which is summer 24/7 yet has massive monsoons that make Australia’s storms look puny (“zomg it’s RAINING!” “you call this rain?!”) and for some reason keeps every indoor surface at 21C.

    But in Brisbane winter is just rain…and rain…and even more rain…and doom and gloom and grey. NOT HAPPY. Also a lot of life drama has happened to me over the winter months the past few years, which doesn’t help.

    Summer isn’t so great for me either, mainly because the extreme sun gives me headaches and nausea. Mild weather does me well. But summer here in Brisbane has been rain and FREAKING FLOODS and gloom followed immediately by ARGH TOO MUCH SUN MY BRAIN’S OVERHEATING.


  24. I’m kind of in love with how you said “harden the fuck up” instead of “man the fuck up”. I know you’re prob fighting the patriarchy and stuffs but mostly it makes me think of Pokémon.

    Metapod totally had Seasonal Affective Disorder, just hibernating and increasing defence until he could be Butterfree. Poor little cocoon.

  25. I hate wintertime
    I love sun
    A’s are obnoxious

    (Kidding. I love you all. I just do not understand you A’s. It’s cold and miserable. Get with the program.)

  26. this totally just popped up in the sidebar and i clicked it and oh wow an article from 3 years ago knows my life exactly AND IT’S NOT EVEN THAT COLD YET, IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE.

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