I used to be someone who could shrug off adversity and problems. Depression, I thought, was a sign of weakness.

But this winter of extremes has me down and — as yet another snowstorm bears down on us this morning — I find myself throwing up my hands and saying “what’s the use?”

It’s not a condition I enjoy.

This winter of extremes follows a year in which we closed our studio and accepted failure for the second time in five years. The new year started with a lot of uncertainty — an economy that remains in the dumpster, the prospect of limited income at a time when electric and insurance rates head skyward along with relatives with failing health and a general dreariness of the society around us.

Optimism does not come easy in these troubled times.  Enthusiasm is buried under a blanket of snow and ice impervious to any and all attempts at removal. There is no light at the end of the tunnel because the tunnel is blocked by snow.

Weather forecasters tell us that at least two — and possibly three — winter storms remain before this long, brutal winter is over. Another “big one” may be lurking out there, waiting to set even more records.

All of this can contribute to a condition that shrinks call “Seasonal Affected Disorder” with the appropriate acronym of “SAD.”

Karen Minty, writing for My Local Health, says SAD was diagnosed centuries ago in Scandinavia where residents fell into deep depressions during long, grey winters.

“The cloudy sky, strong winds and frigid air is enough to cool off anyone’s fire for life,” Minty says. “For those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) though, winter brings with it more than the occasional bout of the winter blues. The season can be a debilitating time for individuals with the disorder.”

Minty lists several warning signs for SAD:

  • Lack of motivation or decreased interest in everyday activities
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Altered energy level
  • Social withdrawal

Took stock of my mental state of late. Yep, got ’em all.

I’m wondering which meltdown will come first: The snow’s or mine?

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