Seasonal Affective Decision-making



How it works

This how seasonal affective disorder works. It keeps you in the house, makes you regret every bad decision you ever made, bashes you over the head with your personal shortcomings, and then teases you with all the things you could have done but didn’t.

Here I sit in my little apartment, looking out at a grey sky, and thinking that I may have to forgo my usual Friday night glasses of wine if it means actually going outside to buy a bottle. Similarly, my soul is desperately in need of California sunshine but my mind can’t fathom the thought of driving on treacherous roads to get to it.

Making a decision

Last year I flew down to California for my winter snowbird travels and I was going to buy or lease or rent a car while there, but in the end I did none of those things and the trip was not as fulfilling as it could have been. Consequently, this year I decided I would drive down, tough out the long four days on the road in each direction, and enjoy as much visiting and sight-seeing as I wanted.

My plan was to start my drive south on December 1. I have put some plans in place, arranged for my travel insurance, was all set to get winter tires on my car, and was about to get my medications prescribed for six months when it snowed. It snowed really, really, early. It’s only October 14 and we have already had as much snow has we had in January last year. That’s ten weeks earlier, folks. Ten weeks! We hadn’t even finished raking all the leaves yet.

So, now I’m backtracking on the decision I thought I had made. As I look out my window and watch the snow fall, I feel trapped and a bit depressed.


Yesterday I was supposed to drive to Red Deer, a couple of hours away, to meet with my writing group but the weather reports stopped me from going. They were predicting freezing rain and snow and I didn’t want to take the chance. The thought of driving home for two hours or more at night in that weather was enough to terrify me. I’ve driven in freezing rain before and, believe me, it’s not something you would willingly do twice.

As it turned out, the storm didn’t hit until later in the night, but by then I had already cancelled and we Skyped our meeting instead.  Skyping is better than nothing, but it’s not like actually meeting your friends. This is not the first time I’ve had to do this, so I’m starting to feel like a burden on the group. Maybe I should leave and let them invite someone who can actually make it to meetings. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think they’d be better off without me.

My ongoing memory loss issues mean that I have trouble keeping track of all the characters in a novel, and I also seem to have completely missed the request to write 5,000 words for this meeting. I absolutely have no idea when that was agreed upon, and so of course I was the only one who had not done so.  Yes, I have become that person.

Compounding the problem

The real significance of all this, though, is that it is way too early in the year for me to be Skyping a meeting, no matter how well or how badly I participate. And, it’s ridiculously early to be getting cabin fever. That isn’t supposed to kick in until February. And, I can’t believe I’m revisiting my decision to drive south.

So, of course, I head to the Internet where I read about wars, and refugees, and political wrangling, and plane crashes. Then I check my Twitter feed and realize how many accidents there have already been in the city this morning and I wonder why I even have Edmonton Traffic on my Twitter feed when I hardly ever drive anywhere anyway.

Finally, I think “Well, the heck with it. I’m going back to bed,” but it’s only noon so I write this blog post instead.





  1. If you have decided not to rejoin your writing group, I hope you will not give up your writing. I for one enjoy reading your adventures in life both past and present. Looking forward to the next blog from snowbirdofparadice.

  2. You do know how we all look forward to your visit, but we also want you to be safe and not exhausted from that 4 day drive. Please concentrate on finding the most comfortable way to get here. If you fly it gives us an extra 3 or 4 days with you. Consider it!
    Incidentally, I agree with Barbara in regards to your writing. I know there’s a book in your future!

    1. Thanks, Jane. I look forward to seeing you, too. I’m hoping the snow will go so that I can drive and have my car with me while I’m there, but if not I’ll live without it!

      Thanks for the encouragement to write. I really do need to start that book! 🙂

  3. So sorry about the SAD aspects; it’s so frustrating when our amazing minds are not our best friends. So glad your writing group still wants you! That’s another aspect of SAD; perceptions may not be so accurate….
    I am impressed you are in a group who puts together 5,000 word works. Sounds pretty intense to me!
    And I hope this snow melts soon and you can return to the regularly scheduled program of Fall.

    1. Thanks for your understanding, Lorna. Yes, it is frustrating! And, you are right; my perceptions are sometimes “off.” My writing group is wonderful, but they don’t always write such lengthy pieces for our monthly meetings. This was an exception.

      I’m hoping we get back to fall soon, too!

  4. I’ve been where you are many times. Keep your head up my friend. This too shall pass. I just discovered your blog recently and I’ve really enjoyed it. Many of your posts make me chuckle out loud. You are a wonderful writer. Maybe you should move to Toronto. We haven’t had to call in the army yet! Lol. 😉

  5. Hope you feel better! I don’t like that fluffy white stuff myself. I fear it will be here in RI soon. At least you have Cali as an escape 😏 I really enjoy your posts

    1. I felt better as soon as I had gone outside for a walk! Sometimes it really is just that simple. Today, though, the sidewalks are covered in ice so I’m housebound again, but not feeling so low as I was when I wrote this blog. I’m glad you enjoy the blog. I will be sure to make the next one more cheery. 🙂

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