Why Am I Always Cold?

Maybe I'll just stay in Florida forever. Maybe I'll move south -- there's still plenty of state left below Orlando!

Dec 29, 2011 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

The high today, December 29, 2011, in Orlando, Florida is 65 degrees Farenheit and sunny. Tonight's low is 43 and party cloudy. This isn't as cold as it's going to get -- that's what January is for -- but it's more than cold enough for me.

I'm a cold weather wuss. I hate winter. More than that -- I can barely function in winter. Aw, hell -- I can barely function below 70 degrees, y'all.

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The last time I lived anywhere that experienced what most people in the u.S. would acknowledge as "actual winter," it was 1988 or '89. I was living in Atlanta, Georgia, and I was about 11 years old. It's easiest to tell people I grew up in Atlanta because that was the longest-term place I'd call home until I found myself in Orlando. And I remember ice storms and snow days and sledding on a meager two inches of snow.

I'm pretty sure I already hated the cold, but I lived with it. I mean, I was a pre-teen. It's not like I had any choice in the matter.

But then something a bit unusual happened. We moved to Thailand, a tropical paradise (I started school in Bangkok but wound up with my family in Pattaya, on Jomtien Bay) where the monsoon season was the biggest concern. And the temperature never, in all my time there, dropped below 80 degrees.

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It got hot. It got so hot. Hot and humid like you would not believe unless you have experienced a genuinely tropical climate (Key West is the closest I've come within the U.S.) where it really can be like a sauna. And I loved it.

Yes, I got sweaty. I don't sweat a whole lot, so I didn't get really sweaty, but I did sweat and it was just one of those things. Everyone sweats.

When I came back to the States for high school, I came back to Florida in August. I pretty much thought I was going to die because everyone had the air conditioning cranked so damn high. Climate control is a big deal in Florida.

I've never really regained any sort of tolerance for the cold. It was 45 and raining in Atlanta on Christmas Day, and I spent most of it shivering -- totally happy to be where I was but physically uncomfortable.

I am so tired of this. It makes me feel like there is something desperately wrong with me. My husband, radiator that he is, was running around in a T-shirt, totally comfortable (we joke that we are climatologically incompatible but it's only half a joke). Some kinds of cold are easier than others -- I can mostly deal with a dry cold, honest I can!

And I've tried layering. My verdict is that layering does work. But I hate it. Because then everything gets bunched up and feels constricting and I freak completely out because my clothes are touching me.

Yes, it's that level of ridiculous.

This is probably another manifestation of my inability to deal with turtlenecks. I don't label it a sensory issue lightly -- I mean, it isn't like my clothes don't fit; when clothes get twisted the way layers of clothing often do, I lose my ability to deal with that.

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Throw in the challenge presented by finding warm jackets and boots and things for people of my size...

Maybe I'll just stay in Florida forever. Maybe I'll move south -- there's still plenty of state left below Orlando! I'm laughing, but it's kind of a desperate and pathetic laugh right now.

And, as I said, it makes me worry there's something wrong with me. Third on the list of famous sayings ("Never get involved in a land war in Asia" followed by "Never go in against a Scicilian when death is on the line") must be "Never google your health symptoms unless you're looking for a reason to think you are dying."

But, hey, I did it anyway. And when I go to google and type in "why am I always," the first completion is tired, the second is hungry, and the third is cold -- obvy this is not an uncommon problem. Common reasons why people might feel the cold more strongly than other people include:

Low body weight -- this is, uh, not a problem for me. This is probably making me laugh harder than the situation calls for.

Skipping meals -- I'll cop to doing this but my coldness seems unrelated. I ate breakfast and it's 72 in my office and I am still cold.

Being overly tired -- aren't we all?

An underactive thyroid -- we might have a winner.

Except when I look up the symptoms of having hypothyroidism, well. I'm not tired or weak. Or depressed. I have dry skin sometimes. But I don't have brittle nails. I'm not constipated (yes, it's oversharing, my favorite thing!) and I don't have trouble thinking clearly. I don't have irregular heavy periods.

Don't y'all feel reassured? I do! Except for how I'm still cold. And, honestly, I have a resistence to blaming my thyroid because it's such a common thing for fat to be blamed on and I'm not looking for excuses, you know? I'm just fat.

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Maybe it's winter, maybe it's my thyroid and I need to stop being in denial. Or maybe I'm just cold. It's definitely incentive to turn my attention to finding a new local doctor (my awesome doctor moved out of town) so I can get back on the testing bandwagon. But in the meantime, I've got cardigans and wool socks.

How do you stay warm? Do you think some people just aren't cold weather people? What's wrong with me? (A broad question, I know.) How do people acclimate to the cold anyway?

In the meantime, we harvested tomatoes right before Christmas. I guess if the tomato plants can survive this weather, I can, too.