Change of season, lack of sunlight, sad feelings. These are synonymous with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Singly, or in a combination of these conditions, they can affect the `feeling good’ hormones of the brain. A temporary loss of sunlight can lead to depression and anxiety. Those whom are already afflicted with behavioral health problems can experience double the effect. With the onset of winter, particularly in the region I live (Somerset County, New Jersey), I have experienced the symptoms described above. It was not until I experienced a solemn mood and feelings of depression over periods of years, roughly mid-November through early March, did I become aware of these patterns meaning something more than `cabin fever’. Through therapy sessions I found the technical term Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). With documentation, during my last bout with SAD, I recorded my feelings. `Winter’s Count’ is a musical recollection of this time-wise event based on the emotional aspects of dealing with SAD.
- I – Fall Into Winter
- II – Elegy
- III – Dancing Snowflakes
- IV – Spring Bouquet
`Fall Into Winter’ reflects the change from long days to shorter ones. `Elegy’ senses a time of depressive feelings, the sky reflecting a gray overcast. `Dancing Snowflakes’ refers to the season\rquote s first snow, which I find a somewhat joyful celebration. ‘Spring Bouquet’ rounds out the suite, anticipating the return to longer days.
There is a whole ‘science’ for Seasonal Affective Disorder, the surface of which I have only skimmed. Books, articles and Internet searches, address treatments for SAD. For myself, a strategy has been ` feeding’ the brain with at least an hour of sunlight per day, a strategy my therapist and I have discussed. Every day the halogen light from my music stand helps me fulfill the requirements of supplying daylight, along with a longer duration of houselights, when the weather outside reflects a gloomy environment. It is also a beneficial to pursue some activities if restrained to living indoors. Along with practicing the harp, I involve myself with other music-related activities interspersed with physical exercise and avid interests from the past.
`Winter’s Count’ is written, with Kate Kolbert and Drew Cangelosi in mind, two professionals in the medical field of behavioral health. Their care and expertise is responsible for helping me keep in touch with life and coping with its drawbacks in pursuit of the qualitative aspects of living.