My Winter Hibernation
It's been a problem for as long as I can remember. It's something that has affected me even before I was cognizant of it: Seasonal Depression. Every fall, fresh off either World Con (in the past) or more recently Dragon Con I enter this state of vegetation. When pressed by Jon I often excuse it as burn-out from spending my summer months working on preparing new artwork and prints for upcoming shows- but if I am to be completely honest with myself I'd have to admit it comes from something deeper. If it were mere burnout I would be back on my feet after a week or so of downtime- but my creative hibernation tends to last nearly all winter.
I've been like this since I was a kid, though I didn't fully understand this until much later. There was a point post-college where things had reached a boiling point: I was sitting in the gym and was overcome with inexplicable sadness- a sadness that had been gripping me for weeks. It wasn't just lethargy anymore; it was now a melancholy that I couldn't shake and whose origins were completely unknown to me. You see, my life was going great at the time. I had been freelancing consistently, I was 25 and looked better than I ever had before due to my dedication to working out, I was finally starting to gain an audience for my work, and I was living with good friends. I really had nothing to be particularly sad about- but it was there, oppressive and constant. So I gave my mom a call and asked for her Doctorly Advice. It was then that she informed me that this has always been a thing with me. Every year my grades would dip in the winter and I'd get less sociable. It was a trend I was completely unaware of while going through it but seemed so obvious in retrospect. She then recommended a few things that could help: daylight lamps and Vitamin D. And while it definitely helped me escape the horrible sadness it didn't really solve the state of creative lethargy that overtook me every winter.
Flash forward five years and it is a problem that continues to frustrate me. The amount of work I could get done if I wasn't shut down for 4-6 months out of the year is infuriating to contemplate. If I could just find a solution to this problem- along with my growing suspicion that I suffer from Adult ADD- I can only imagine how fast I could improve my art and how much more I could produce.
So here's my goal for this winter: try different techniques to break past the lethargy caused by Seasonal Depression and get to work trying to produce art all year-round, not just in the summer months. I also want to talk to someone about options for diagnosing and possibly treating my adult ADD. I really do think that having a dedicated Studio outside my bedroom (in the form of the Castle Braid Library) will go a long way in helping to motivate me (in the sense that I need to be down there using the space or I'll likely lose it)- but it will take more than that to solve this problem. I'm just hoping I can discover the proper solution and make this the first winter that doesn't turn into a complete waste of time.
POST NOTES: I do understand that my Freelance work is always most busy in the winter months, which means my capacity to get more work done is still limited, but it's important to eliminate the biggest obstacles anyway- and that is honestly the Depression and ADD, not the workload.