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DIAGNOSIS: SAD (Saints Affective Disorder)

SAD (Saints Affective Disorder) can get to even the best of us.

SAD (Saints Affective Disorder) can even take the best of us down.

The Saints’ first regular season game arrives Sunday. While you may be donning your jersey and stocking your cooler, I am double-checking my meds.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Saints. LOVE. I bleed black and gold. But they're not so good for me, medically speaking. I've got a bad case of SAD, or Saints Affective  Disorder. And I am not alone. There are so many fans who suffer from SAD that it has become the official disorder of Saints football.

SAD sufferers live in a dark world of angst and worry. We can no longer blithely show up at the Dome on game days, yelling random "Who Dats!" at strangers in the stands. We wouldn't dare host a game day BBQ, for fear that our symptoms would interfere. No, those days are over for us.  Because, for us, SAD is serious.

My case is fairly typical. I wake up on fall Sundays and almost immediately feel it coming on. Oh, I try to head it off, all right. I turn on one of those pre-game shows where someone like Terry Bradshaw predicts an easy Saints victory. I feel hopeful; maybe my SAD is in remission.

The game starts. I bravely tell myself that I can watch all four quarters, just like the rest of America. But then Jimmy G drops a perfect spiral, and my first symptom appears. Yep, I'm getting a mi-GRAHAM.

The camera turns to Coach Payton. Eyes narrowed, lips pursed. He looks pissed, of course. (Coach P looking pissed is the official facial expression of Saints football.) My symptoms increase, as I feel the first stirrings of indigest-SEAN.

I leave my husband as he stares at the game. He knows I suffer from SAD and is very sympathetic. He smiles sweetly and asks, "While you're up, can you get me a beer?"

I retreat to the bedroom and get under the covers. Silence. I can do this. Only three more quarters. I start reading a magazine and actually forget about the Saints for a few minutes.

But through the walls I hear, "#%!?#&@!!" I bound out of bed, and ask my husband what happened. "Drew just got intercepted in the red zone," he says. As I slink back to the safety of the dark bedroom, I clutch my belly in pain. Irritable Brees Syndrome.

"Nooooooo!" yells my husband. What now? "We just gave up a touchdown." I reach for the tissues. Here comes my allergic Rob RYAN- itis. "Well," I think, as I retreat once again,"at least we get the ball back now."

But our running game has stalled.  Maybe I should just go down to the St. MARK INGRAM-ary and check myself in.

"Go, Marques!!!" My husband is screaming. What could it be? I know the game is now, blessedly, almost over. I run into the den, where my husband is off his chair, fist in the air. He screams triumphantly, "Marques just scored in the last few seconds! We won!"

As my pain quickly subsides, and my SAD goes away for another week, I smile in relief. We just gave the other team what they deserved. A COLSTON-oscopy. Without anesthesia.

That is, by the way, the official medical procedure of Saints football. All rights reserved.

Lynne Wasserman is a recovering attorney who writes about New Orleans for NolaVie. Email her at [email protected].