Seasonal Turmoil: Gogatsu-Byo And Relationships

With all of the possible upheaval and changes that take place in April, you would think that a month that starts with a week of holidays like May would be a kinder, gentler time. But there is something sinister that may strike at any moment in May: the so-called Gogatsu-byo.

Back to work and post-vacation can make you feel a bit off — to say the least.

What Is It?

Gogatsu-byo (五月病) or “May Sickness” is the term for a Seasonal Affective Disorder-like psychological condition that affects many Japanese people (and directly or indirectly, us foreigners living here) once the flurry of activity in April and the relaxing Golden Week vacation has passed.

Many believe that the number of changes that take place in April, coupled with vacations and then push back into a still-new work or school environment, causes the Gogatsu-byo in the first place. Sufferers report experiencing insomnia, decreased or increased appetite, restlessness, nervousness or anxiety, mood swings, depression, or a host of other “not quite feeling right” physical symptoms that many doctors will struggle to diagnose. While this may seem like an unusual condition to those new to Japan, after being here for a few years, you will definitely start …continue reading