‘Tis the season: Winter and its discontents

Seasonal depression leaves people feeling alone at a time when everyone is coming together. Randy Neilson/UVU Review

As the winter of discontent begins, a front of depression sweeps across the populace. It’s December’s foggy freeze that shoulders the blame for the epidemic, but Jack Frost is wrongfully accused.

What these huddled masses disregard or forget is that regardless of wind chill, snow pack or barometric pressure, life is always miserable.

Seasonal depression is but another long-winded excuse concocted by an already heavily medicated culture.

“T,” a student at UVU, believes that society has gone to astounding lengths to live in a world with zero accountability. “I don’t need pills or therapy because I’m having a bad day, or month or year.

“What I need is to manage my time, figure out what I can do to make things better rather than make excuses.”

The idea of taking responsibility for the dire conditions of life is just too much so the despondent instead hide and hibernate, finding solace in a clinically accepted pretext.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is now a widely acknowledged and commonly diagnosed mood disorder. The idea behind it is that the lack of sunlight causes people to become depressed, gain weight and be more lethargic than in warmer months.

It’s thought to be seasonal because when spring arrives, the symptoms seemingly melt away with the snow.

With no responsibility there is no consequence; with no venture, there is no gain. Winter’s not to blame; rather, it is isolation and the inability to cope with a cold and uncaring world is at the foundation of this widespread melancholy.

“Accept despair,” as Sartre would say. Realize that it’s not just these months and weather systems that are depressing.

This is an unloved generation, isolated by technology and left with the unpaid tab of former generations. There are no bail-outs for the depraved debt that’s been accumulated.

Instead of donning the heavy mantle of responsibility for the misery of life, it’s much easier to claim depression and sulk away.

People only do what they want to do. Being miserable is comfortable. If people really cared about being happy, if that’s what they really wanted, they would find a way. Some do. Others instead wallow in sloughs of self-deprecation and human ingenuity renders further excuses rather than eradicates them.

Depression is an escape, a pretense to avoid adulthood and duty. It’s an elaborate hoax at best.

Decades ago, it was God’s fault. When belief in deity fell out of fashion, it was the parents who took the blame. When it was realized that all parents were lousy and that excuse was rendered ineffective, they went searching down the laundry list for new ones until finally arriving at weather.

Winter, spring, summer or fall, life is a miserable mess. Responsibility for the dreary mentality that marks this time of year lies solely with those that nurture it.

The huddled masses that bemoan the cold fronts are just looking for the richest and most believable reason to explain their pitiful state without accepting liability.

This can’t be the pinnacle of human evolution when cold fronts cause a societal funk for an entire quarter of the year.

The clouds aren’t to blame for the gray malaise that shrouds these bitter months, censure for this season of self-loathing and sadness belongs to those who enable it. It’s the rage against accountability, not bad weather, which creates this lamentable meaninglessness.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, at least so sang Bing Crosby. Clearly his white Christmas delivered something different than the ho-hum attitude that persists in this current social climate.

Alex Sousa is studying journalism in UVU’s communication department. He’s serving as the managing editor at the UVU Review as well as the editor of the music blog on uvureview.com. He’s had experience working as a freelance writer and also as a copy writer at a marketing agency. Currently he’s working as the Editor-in-chief of the Utah Tech Magazine, an interactive, digital publication. He’s a Utah native who’s traveled around the world; having lived in Mexico, backpacked through Europe, studied in the Middle East and—for a time—been stranded in the Ukraine. He can be found on Facebook and he’s available on Twitter @TwoFistedSousa or by email at aljosousa@gmail.com.

2 Responses to "‘Tis the season: Winter and its discontents"

  1. Katy Lemley   November 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Although the author makes a valid point that society has come to rely heavily on drugs to cure “everything”, you, sir, were quite wrong to assume that SAD is another “made-up” disorder to keep people from being accountable for their “miserable” lives. We need sunshine, in case you missed that day in bio 1010, in order to be healthy. It’s called vitamin D and we get it from sunshine. And guess what? The sun isn’t out as much during the winter (you must have missed that day too). Don’t go assuming that just because you don’t have something, that it doesn’t exist. SAD is a real disorder, and I know several people who have it. Those of us who are fortunate enough to not have it, should spend our time helping out our friends suffering from it, rather than belittling them.

    Reply
  2. Wendy W   December 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    The writer of this piece, Alec, is incredibly ignorant regarding seasonal depression. The opinions stated are based on personal biases and assumptions instead of factual, scientific based knowledge.

    It appears this writer needed to do considerable more research before making bold declarations about those who suffer from depression.

    And, is anyone editing this paper? I question your work ethic and philosophies about what is being published this semester. Do you not ask your writers, even those who write opinion pieces, to produce their research?

    This semester the UVU Review has perpetuated biases and prejudices that are counter to the philosophies of a quality institution. This newspaper is a poor example of the quality education that can be achieved here at UVU.

    Reply

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