I've had the winter blues. Only in my case they seem to be the winter blacks. Even though I'm living someplace was ample sunshine, I still think I get Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. A psychiatrist-friend of mine told me that was impossible, but I swear every February I sink into a nearly unrecoverable funk! It feels like a black shroud of self-doubt, un-motivation, depression, lethargy, weight gain hangs over my head and I can't shake it. But I have found something that helps.
Back in the ole college days, I took a class titled "Communication in Fiction." (Aren't you jealous? What a great class! I mean I got college credit talking about books!) It's more than escapism. I know a lot of people who poo-poo the value of fiction as something we need. I disagree. Fiction is a life blood. My professor theorized that we actually need to read fiction. During the time we read, fiction specifically, we meet a problem and have a cathartic experience overcoming the problem. This week alone I survived a shipwreck and lived with a tiger on a boat for over 200 days and then saved a company from sabotage--all from the safe distance of a page. What fiction does for me, is help put things in perspective, it helps me empathize, it cures me of "self-ness." I become more aware of others since I've lived in someone else's world for a while.
Now there is a difference between a refreshing dip into fiction and being completely immersed. I don't believe that I would be healthy if I read all day every day. At some point, I have to write too!