Winter Articles

Black Ice

Joseph Bottum's dark side
Feb 01, 2016

Sometimes in January, often in February—always somewhere in the course of the winter—I feel it settling down on me and the season: that icy fog that dulls the senses, the cold that gnaws the bone, the sadness that deadens the will.

A form of "seasonal affective disorder," I've been told such winter depressions are called: a vitamin D deficiency caused by lack of sunshine, maybe, or a rise in melatonin during the shortened daylight hours. Possibly a lack of serotonin. No one knows for sure. But the cure, they say, involves getting outside a little whenever the winter days are bright. Set up an indoor lightbox, buy a bedroom air ionizer, and it'll go away soon enough. Soon enough, they say.

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