I have no trouble believing that this day, January 24, is The Most Depressing Day of the Year. According to The Toronto Star and all sorts of other news sources, a British scientist, Cliff Arnall, has "discovered" this through various analyses and formulae. To quote The Star:
The calculation for this day of misery reads: [W +(D-d)] x TQ divided by M x NA.
W is the weather, D is debt minus the money (d) you earned in January. T is the time since Christmas and Q, the time since you lapsed back into your bad habits. Divide that by M — your low motivational level — and NA, the need to take action.
While I'm am sure that the whole thing is all rather tongue in cheek, good old CBC radio is always quick to follow a good story when one presents itself. This morning, they interviewed another scientist, who fundamentally agreed with Arnall. While he didn't necessarily concur that this specific day must be the most depressing of all, he did verify that Arnall was essentially correct and agreed that we are entering depression season. He seemed to be legitimizing a Winter Blues syndrome, which is similar to SAD but not as serious. It's apparently a matter of degree; one can still function relatively well if s/he is merely suffering from Winter Blues.
This story certainly resonated with me today. Although we thoroughly enjoyed our weekend company, certain unrelated events must have left me somewhat shell shocked, for I was barely functioning this morning — felt completely drained. Duties had to be faced regardless, and my tiredness morphed into The Black Cloud that settles on me periodically.
In truth, I am a misery to be around when this occurs. I know it, but I can't seem to help in — at least in the short run. Before too long, however, I realize that I must be proactive — must do something to begin to effect the much-needed mood change. Both reading and writing were completely out of the question in that mind set, but I knew that I must do something aggressive.
I didn't much feel like snowshoeing, but knew that there was little else that I could do with myself. To quote the article: "Exercise is very important ... Get out and about — put on your hat and gloves and go for a walk." So I did. Almost immediately, as always, The Black Cloud began to give way. One glimmer of sunlight pierced through; soon the cloud began to tear apart.
The walk, I followed up with two other mild physical activities: hauling a little firewood, and shovelling a little snow. Then, I chose to continue my proactive behaviour by cooking a dinner rather than scrounging for leftovers.
In truth, I am still right knackered, but I trust that one more good sleep will amend that. And, while I'm still not exactly ebullient, neither do I remain morose.
It must be an awful thing to suffer from clinical depression. I read blogs of several people who suffer from this affliction or from something much like it, and they sometimes drop by here. I cannot claim, even after today's episode, that understand what they must endure, but I believe that I can at least say that I understand that it must be very difficult indeed.
Of course, my day had nothing to do with Arnall's Most Depressing Day of the Year or even with Winter Blues. In my case it was simply a coincidence: the aftermath of weekend events. Perhaps I shall tell of those events when I am feeling a little more energetic: not to worry — there is nothing tragic to reveal. I'm just not up to the telling yet.