Last week I had written my article but had not yet ‘saved it’ when the power went off. Twenty minutes later it came on and as I finished writing, it went off again. I assumed it was not ‘meant to be’ and sat quietly the remainder of the day, listening to the wild birds squabble with the squirrel on the birdfeeder. Needless to say, this weather, with the never-ending overcast days of rain or snow, is rather depressing for the gardener.
Actually there is a syndrome/disorder for the way many of us are feeling about now. It is called SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as Winter Blues. There are various symptoms of SAD listed below, all of which result in seasonal depression.
1. Difficulty waking up in the morning and the tendency to oversleep as though in hibernation.
*This is perhaps an unconscious effort to wait out the boring month of February by sleeping it away.
2. The predisposition to overeat, especially with a craving for carbohydrates which are a ‘comfort food‘.
*Naturally this may lead to weight gain which is a further reason for depression.
3. A general lack of energy, difficulty concentrating or completing tasks, and withdrawal from social activities.
*Leaving the house in an ice storm is not a good idea anyway.
The odd thing about this syndrome is that it often appears in totally mentally healthy individuals who simply find themselves confined by winter. A trip to the tanning parlor will help immensely as light is the cure.
Another weather related syndrome some of us may be experiencing is called ‘Cabin Fever’. First recorded in 1918, cabin fever is a term for
a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group of persons are isolated and unable to leave a confined space for an extended period of time. Symptoms of cabin fever include restlessness, irritability, laughter, forgetfulness, excessive sleeping, and finally distrust of anyone they are trapped with. Often there is an urge to race outside even in snow or darkness as the individual assumes 'the unknown' is possibly better than entrapment with their companions. Humorously it has been referred to as a reaction of extreme boredom.
It can safely be assumed that the recent power outages may have contributed to a rash of cabin fever for how many hours can one find entertainment sitting in the dark listening to clocks tick?
Take heart… all of this misery will end with the arrival of the Sun and surely it will be shining soon. I need to be outside!