Tuesday November 6th showed Hamilton a day of sunlight after what felt like more than a week of constant gloom. The sunless days following Hurricane Sandy left some Mohawk students unable to motivate themselves to be productive.
Business student William Dobie says he found his academic achievements were noticeably affected due to the dour moods he experienced in the sun’s absence.
“I definitely feel more tired all the time,” he said, “I’m actually less productive than usual. When the sun is shining then I feel more happy and I feel I do better on my tests and assignments.”
This lack of motivation can be symptomatic of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. The Canadian Mental Health Association describes SAD as “a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. For [those affected] the shortening days of late autumn are the beginning of a type of clinical depression that can last until spring.”
Last week saw many unwilling to leave the house because of the cold, wet days.
“I have just been in my bed. I mean, I don’t even want to wake up and be here for [an] 8 o’clock class,” said Mohawk student Christina Neptune.
Dennis DeSalvo, Director for Hamilton’s Mental Health Court Support Services, says hopelessness, a loss of interest in work or other activities, decline in energy levels and ability to concentrate, increased need to sleep, and social withdrawal are all symptoms of SAD for which to look out.
“That would be a good thing to sort of check out with your friends, to see if they’ve noticed you wanting to spend more time on your own,” said DeSalvo, referring to the potential social withdrawal SAD might incur.
Although the cause of the disorder is still unconfirmed, research suggests that between two and three percent of the population in Ontario may have SAD. Another 15% experience something less severe called the “winter blues.”
Some students aren’t experiencing any emotional or academic pitfalls due to the poor weather, and only long to see a bright, sunny day.
“I can still do my schoolwork fine, it’s not that bad. I just want to see the sun again that’s all,” said student Sarah Ferreira.
*Mohawk provides personal and academic counseling at The Square—Student Services, Room C102. Phone: (905) 575-2211