Credit: Designecologist


Seasonal Affective Disorder

Noun – depression associated with late autumn and winter and thought to be caused by a lack of light.

They say that January here reports the highest number of suicides and newly documented cases of depression. Living in Manitoba now, I can certainly understand why. Stark, skeletal trees dot the snow-suffocated landscape for what seems like an eternity. It’s easy for the brain to lapse into what is medically known as “seasonal affective disorder” or s.a.d. How appropriate.


It snows from mid-November, resulting in the temperature outside slowly decreasing with each passing day. With it ranging from 2F/-17C to around -31F/-35C outside, I keep telling myself that as long as you are dressed properly, you can be just as comfortable outside in this weather as you can be on a warm, summer’s day. However, the soul doesn’t seem to understand that. Not a single leaf or flower petal in sight. There is much earthly beauty to be found at this time of year, for sure. However, it can squelch one’s enthusiasm when there is a risk to life and limb just to go outside to see it!

A snow covered road through an allée of bare trees

I make a conscious effort in my life to be as self-aware as I can. Yet, I too have fallen victim to this phenomenon, for the first time. The odd thing about this disorder is that it seems to creep up on you. First, you find yourself tossing and turning a bit more at night. After that, the motivation to continue your winter to-do list begins to dwindle. Until one day you’re folding laundry and you suddenly feel an overwhelming urge to chuck the whole basket out the window into the frozen abyss!

I honestly don’t know how life-long Manitobans do it. To survive this draining of the spirit year after year and yet be as resilient as ever. What’s their secret? Don’t get me wrong. I have truly found the happiness and contentment that I had always dreamed of here. The people and landscapes are simply amazing. But geez-louise!  These winters are really something else.


All I know is that Mother Nature’s gotta do what Mother Nature’s gotta do. Who am I to expect her to do anything else?

So what do I do? I write. I write it all down. Every frustration, every annoyance, every sadness. I get it all out. Onto paper and out of my head so I don’t have to carry it around with me.

S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) 1

I break out all my gardening catalogs and magazines and expose my brain to images of beautiful gardens in full bloom, soaking up brilliant sunshine. Then I open my garden design software and begin to plan.

In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable – Dwight D. Eisenhower

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