Seasonal Delusional Disorder

It’s September. At least, that’s what the calendar says. Outside, though, here in Papua, it’s screaming July. Hot, humid, tropical, ain’t-no-such-thing-as-fall July.

MAF missionary Natalie Holsten holding pumpkinThe end of September launches an annual time of seasonal delusional disorder (SDD) that affects ex-patriates hailing from temperate climates now finding themselves in perpetual summer.

The first stage of SDD is Realization. The sufferer notices an increase of Facebook posts like, “So excited to see Pumpkin Spice lattes again!” and “Enjoyed watching Ole Miss whoop up on Boise State!” and “Can’t believe this chilly weather! Brrr!” Pumpkin, football, autumn leaves—none of it is happening here in Indonesia. And that’s when realization dawns: it is autumn somewhere in the world.

The next stage is Denial. The sufferer denies that fall is not coming by setting out a fake pumpkin, hanging a fall-inspired wreath on the door, lighting a scented candle, and whipping up pumpkin spice creamer for her coffee. She thinks that if she creates enough autumn ambiance, it might actually magically become fall.

The Denial stage is quickly followed by the Frustration stage. The sufferer realizes that no matter how much she may wish it, the leaves of the mango tree will stay maddeningly green, all year round. Temps will stay in the mid-80s from now till eternity.

The final stage of SDD is Acceptance. This is where the sufferer finally admits: I live in the tropics. I get summer in perpetuity. There will be no fall, no winter, no spring. One month will melt into the next without any discernible change.

So what is one who suffers from SDD to do? I suggest therapy in the form of celebrating the seasons of the local climate. There is Rainy Season, which could perhaps be celebrated by buying everyone new umbrellas. We could decorate our homes with large, fake mosquitoes and watch “Singin’ in the Rain” together. Windy Season could be heralded with a kite-flying contest.

Now, I’m off to google SDD and see if it actually exists. And then I’ll head over to Pinterest and see if there’s a board on how to make a paper-mache mosquito.

Happy fall, y’all.


  • I might recommend pipe cleaners for the mosquito models. Here in Florida we identify with you, even though we do get January. That’s pretty much when “fall” happens. 😀

  • Angela says:

    While not living on the other side of the world, I too suffered from SDD when we moved from Idaho to Texas 🙂 I am actually guilty of cranking up the AC just so we can turn on the fireplace for a bit of ambiance.

  • Joyce Wall says:

    Love it I am right there ,,,we are in Lapila , Haiti, near Pignon ,Haiti ,,for the last 30 years,,, I tried putting up fake snowflkes one Christmas season,,, did not go over to good,, thekids lookat me like ,,doyou have a fever? Lol… But yep been there love your writting….

  • Melanie says:

    When I lived in Southern Chile (with perpetual winter except spring-like temps for 3 months – Jan, Feb, March – we had the opposite problem. We froze (also WITH perpetual, very cold RAIN) most of the year. We too learned to grill out for Thanksgiving & Christmas, then get together with the few other expats for an odd July 4 – combo of hotdogs & turkey/dressing because we were mid-winter! I experienced the exact opposite of what my FB friends were – YEAR-ROUND! It was funny and weird at the same time.

  • Jennifer Lundgren says:

    also did the opposite, moved from San Antonio, Texas to Sweden. Seasons? I have heard of those. Now I love the winter and hate summer. I do wish Fall itself was longer though.

  • Ruth says:

    Nice to read some of my son’s teachers writing. : ) Wiping the sweat off my forehead and thinking i better go dig out those fake pumpkins. Thanks for wording it all so well.

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