Vaughn C. Hardacker here. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or, to most of us, Seasonal Depression. The definition of the disorder is: a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in winter. Common symptoms include sleeping too much, having little to no energy, and overeating. Basically, you feel like crap–and that’s on a good day. This year I have realized that my SAD is not as severe as it has been in the past. This has led me to look at what I’m doing differently this year when compared to others.
The first thing is that I finally got the pity pot off my behind and made a resolution to do something of value to some one other than myself. In November my Marine Corps League detachment sponsored a concert featuring country music star Billy Dean. Proceeds from the concert were slated to be sent to the Toys-For-Tots program run by the U. S. Marine Corps League. Far northern Maine, to wit Aroostook County, is an economically dressed area. Therefore we were amazed when the turnout for the concert was terrific, we netted over $7,000.00 (and that’s after we paid &8,000.00 for Mr. Dean).
What absolutely blew us away was that all of the feed back we got from the attendees was that while Billy Dean was okay, the opening act, a local group called The Good Ole Boys and Girls were terrific! What is also amazing is they performed gratis, the PR from appearing with a major recording star was enough. The work involved in putting on the show kept me too busy to worry about SAD. At this time, we are doing another concert, this one featuring The Good Ole Boys and Girls. The proceeds will be used to assist veterans in need. Unfortunately, we too often hear of local vets who can’t afford heating oil, food, or clothing for their families. This money will be used by The Aroostook Veteran’s Advocacy Committee (a group that I founded three years ago) to provide a temporary solution for whatever their need may be.
How has this helped me? I have found that the more I sit stagnant the more I want to sleep; I don’t need any energy so I become less energetic. It also gets me out and forces ole hermetic me to spend time working with people (It doesn’t hurt that the people I’m working with are all positive people–I’ve learned over the years that anyone can be negative; it takes energy and work to be positive.).
I am not deluding myself. I know it will be mid-May or early June before I don’t have to deal with SAD. However, it sure as hell doesn’t hurt either. So, if you find yourself in northern Aroostook County of February 29 with nothing to do, how about attending a concert?