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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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Thought You Knew: Winter…Cloudy With A Chance of Snow, Suicide

Thought You Knew: Winter…Cloudy With A Chance of Snow, Suicide

The month from mid-December to mid-January is the longest amount of time many of us spend at our parents’ houses each year.

In probably unrelated news, approximately 20 percent of the population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

SAD is a type of depression triggered by the changing seasons that usually begins in late fall or early winter and is gone by summer. Symptoms include fatigue, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed and lack of energy.

The AAFP believes a lack of adequate sunlight is the primary cause of SAD and recommends light therapy and leaving the house every once in a while as possible treatments.

As a long-time (we’re coming up on four years) self-diagnosed sufferer of SAD, I am clearly more qualified than the Internet to offer advice for people wishing to overcome this debilitating condition.

I’m assuming you’ve considered the obvious and decided against sticking your head in the oven with your Christmas ham. Smart move.  No one wants brains in their dinner.

My absolute favorite thing to do when I feel SAD is to change into some overpriced loungewear from Anthropologie, listen to Radiohead and walk around slamming doors and sighing a lot. It feels just like an indie movie, especially on days when it’s raining.

It’s also a really good idea to become nocturnal because you end up with a lot of time by yourself in the dark while the rest of your family sleeps. Sometimes you can go days without talking to a single person, which is great. You’ll find that when you’re SAD, everyone around you becomes unbearable.

Frequently when I’m bemoaning my existence, people suggest thinking of the less fortunate as a way to put things in perspective. Precious, from the movie “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” is usually the first person who comes to mind, which really bums me out.

Instead, I like to think about people who are significantly more fortunate than I am and consider how awful they must feel about Precious.

Thinking of richer, better looking, less SAD people suffering is a great way to make yourself feel better.

Another fun option is to look back on of all the people you’ve rejected in your life.

Doing this makes me feel powerful and gives me a sense of control, which can make the SAD go away.
For a while, at least.

Be careful though, this often leads to thinking about the times when I’ve been rejected, which causes more SADness.

When parts of my treatment take an ugly turn like that, I like to remember how insignificant everything is. I do this by looking at pictures of space. There’s nothing bigger than space (hold on—this is about to become a pretty scientific discussion) and the space we’re talking about when we refer to space? That’s just the parts of the universe that are proven to exist.

Don’t even get me started on all of the undiscovered parts of space (and the aliens!). There’s no way to feel important after that.

I bet that if Barack Obama is reading this right now, he is wondering why people even care so much about what he’s up to, given how irrelevant we all are. I bet this is helping Barack Obama overcome his SAD.

If none of my thoughtful mind exercises have helped with alleviating your SAD, consider yourself lucky. It’s time to seek professional help.
Please don’t view this as a negative thing; psychiatrists mean pills.

I’m not suggesting that you develop a substance abuse problem. In fact, I would see this as a business opportunity. Instead of taking the pills yourself, you should save them for next semester and make some cash in January.

Nothing will ever make you happier than money.

Plus, I hear UMW is currently suffering from a drug dealer shortage. Now’s your chance to monopolize the industry. And, if you stick to pills, they’re totally legal to receive through the mail as long as the prescription is in your name.

If none of these tips are quite right for you, you could always make a paper chain, counting down until the date the world is set to end in 2012. Not only are crafts a great way to distract yourself from how horrible you feel about being alive during the winter, but you will also get to see just how near the end really is.

Keeping these helpful suggestions in mind, I hope you all have an enjoyable, SAD-free month with your families.

I feel like I should mention that I’m not, like, a doctor or anything, though. I barely passed biology.

Maybe you should try the light therapy.


  1. Snark

    hahahha this is the greatest

  2. Joe

    This by far has to be the best self-help I have seen for SAD. Congrats Mr. Kroll, you’ve single-handedly put me on the path to enlightenment as I save up on those pills. Next January will be so sweet.

  3. David Gallagher

    Jordan is a woman.

  4. SAD

    This is probably the least news-worthy poorly-written article of the century. “Like” is not an applicable transition word, and wearing anthropologie doesn’t make you “indie;” it makes you just another college-aged brat who is spending all of mommy and daddy’s money on a college education that won’t actually teach him or her anything about life.

  5. KC

    I think it’s funny that Mr. Kroll’s SAD is also mocking him in comment form.

  6. A.K.


  7. Humberto

    I’ve been a long time bullet reader and having struggled to grasp the goals of certain columns like this in the past. Finally though, I feel that someone clearly “gets it”. Thank you Jordan Kroll for saying what we all feel but putting it into words better than those of 99% of the population

  8. Snark

    Dear SAD,
    I hope you realize this isn’t supposed to be “news-worthy.”

  9. Snark

    PS to SAD-I’m sure Jordan doesn’t appreciate the judgmental and gratuitous nature of your comment.

  10. Joe

    @David Gallagher Thanks for the correction, I should probably look up the author rather than make an assumption based on name. Gender-neutral names tend to be tricky for me.

  11. CPM

    I just want to toss out there that joking around about suicide is not acceptable. Particularly sentences like, “I’m assuming you’ve considered the obvious and decided against sticking your head in the oven with your Christmas ham.” Suicide is not something to be made light of, no matter what the situation.

  12. Hunter

    Ok, since when did it become OK to make fun of a medical problem? When your hormones are not balanced right because of the amount of light you receive during the winter months?

    Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder are medical problems that are hard for those affected by them to cope with. It usually requires medication to fix the problem and even then it may not help because of home complex depression is.

    People may spend all their time around people and still be depressed it’s unfortunate, not funny in the least, and not something they can control.

    Why the Editorial Staff allowed this to be published I don’t know and they may want to take a more critical look at the articles they publish from this point forward.

    This is not cool, funny, or light-hearted on a serious topic. I’m sure you have truly helped all those suffering from depression and contemplating suicide.

  13. Damian Allen

    Often it helps people to make jokes to deal with uncomfortable topics. However, I do not think that depression and suicide are cases where this strategy is warranted.

    One would assume that anyone could consider the obvious. One would assume that everyone would know that they are loved. But among Americans our age, suicide is the third leading cause of death. While I understand that the author was trying to make a joke, I doubt that depressed people considering suicide will be helped by any of her suggestions. In fact, I believe them to be perpetuating a number of myths about depression.

    This is not funny. This is disgusting. In the future I would appreciate it if the bullet were to refrain from making jokes about those with mental disorders.

  14. Hunter

    *how instead of home

  15. Sarah

    Making fun of suicide and depression is not funny. Making fun of mental disorders is not funny. This article could have been better if it had actually provided useful hints to alleviate the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder or how friends could be more supportive. Instead, it was spent mocking some of the most vulnerable people on campus. Suicide is the third most leading cause of death for people our age. Show some common decency.

  16. Lee

    I, unfortunately, have to agree with several of the above commentators that this article really missed its mark. As I sat in Seacobeck, reading this over my dinner, I felt a growing sense of horror with each “suggestion”. When I came to the end I had only to assume that–in the same way that violence in Taratino movies is so over-the-top it becomes ridiculous–Ms. Kroll’s advice and anecdotes were part of some greater joke that I missed.

    According to some people, I did miss the joke. Yet even as I look back over the article, I still can’t find the humor. Being funny is difficult business, I will absolutely give you that, and it’s easy to fall flat. But when your joke regards depression and suicide, you better be sure 99% of your audience is going to laugh. Otherwise, you’ll be labeled callous and thoughtless, even when your intentions were good.

    I’m sure, Ms. Kroll, you did not mean to stomp on such a tender subject. But this was a definite bumble.

    As a life-long sufferer of clinical depression and SAD, I have quite an intimate relationship with this subject. And I have to say, with a heavy heart, I’ve yet to find anything funny about it.

  17. Cassandra

    This article is hilarious. All you overly-sensitive cretins are taking this far too seriously.

  18. Ana

    Well, in all my years at UMW I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so convoluted printed in its “illustrious” paper. I’m sure this article was supposed to be a farcical entertainment piece but it has fallen far short of that mark.

    Ms. Kroll your self-diagnosis of SAD is BS and your comments: “If none of my thoughtful mind exercises have helped with alleviating your SAD, considers yourself lucky. It’s time to seek professional help. Please don’t view this as a negative thing; psychiatrists mean pills.” is nothing short of offensive.

    May I suggest you do a little research before writing a snarky opinion article on such topics as this in the future?

  19. Rachel

    f*** em if they cant take a joke. this is hilarious.

  20. Arnold

    This is the first time I’ve ever commented on one of these “blogs” but I think that people have this way out of proportion. Jordan is merely making an observation of how many people find breaks to be stagnant and not interesting.

    If anyone has read her previous articles, she is well informed and non offensive. “Self diagnosed SAD” is a joke folks. Also she cites real statistics.

    I think everyone (except whoever Humberto is) is blowing this way out of control

  21. Lauren

    As someone who has also been diagnosed with SAD and considers herself to have a decent sense of humor, this is so, so SO screwed up and in poor taste. The Bullet should be ashamed.

  22. Nicole

    I too found it in extremely poor taste that the Bullet decided to publish an article that managed to mock mental disorders & chemical imbalances, suicide, AND seeking help for either of the first two. Of course it wasn’t meant to be a newsworthy article–of course it was intended to be farcical. Nonetheless, it failed in its intention and was simply hurtful and offensive. Jordan, there are many other ways to be funny than by mocking those with mental illnesses, those contemplating suicide, and those who have the courage to seek help.

  23. Paul

    I just realized something thanks to this article and the following “offended” comments.

    UMW is a breeding ground for stupid people.

    Jordan, good job at understanding satire/humor. Apparently most of these kids are too far up their own [butts] to even begin to comprehend anything above the caliber of a knock knock joke from grade school.

  24. Arnold

    How could anyone not laugh at the line: “Plus, I hear UMW is currently suffering from a drug dealer shortage. Now’s your chance to monopolize the industry. And, if you stick to pills, they’re totally legal to receive through the mail as long as the prescription is in your name.”

    Well played sir!

  25. Heather

    This article is humorous to those who have never been directly affected by suicide. Suicide is a very serious issue to be dealt with. In case you forget what it means, it means someone taking their own life. Oh yes, feeling so depressed and hopeless that you lose the will to live should definitely tickle ones funny bone. I’m disappointed Bullet. Very disappointed.

  26. Nicole

    “When I make a joke about something that’s typically not a laughing matter, it’s not because I’m trying to make light of a serious situation…In my experience, the more isolated the incident you’re joking about is, the more successful the joke will be….It’s difficult to know where to draw the line, so instead I suggest that you get to know your audience….” In this situation Jordan failed to get to know her audience at all; it’s impossible to get to know an audience of 4,000+ students, but it is possible to decide what jokes are for friends only.

    “Comedy, like any other art form, is totally subjective. We’re all going to interpret things differently based on our past experiences and there will be times when you offend someone with a joke because you didn’t realize how it affects them on a more personal level.
    The best way to avoid an uncomfortable situation is to censor yourself until you know your audience.”
    It may be that in some groups, suicide jokes are hilarious. For those of us for whom suicide is not a joke but something that’s become reality, it fails to be funny.

    I hope that when considering humor that preys on individuals who have suffered or continue to suffer, Jordan will reconsider publishing it in a public forum. Or at the least, she will consider putting a notice at the top that it might be upset or triggering for some readers.

    And Jordan’s final point: “In most cases, it’s not out of respect for the subject matter that we should censor ourselves, but out of respect for each other.”

  27. Cassandra

    “This article is humorous to those who have never been directly affected by suicide. Suicide is a very serious issue to be dealt with.”

    Not true. I think it’s unfair to make the assumption that because I found this article funny, I’ve never dealt with suicide or depression.

    In fact, I think BECAUSE I have had said experience, I find it funnier. If you can’t laugh about problems, then I believe you might have a bigger problem.

  28. Back Off

    I am an individual that deal with depression and I found this column HILARIOUS. People tip toe around it and I personally feel a little more infuriated when people say that I need special treatment.
    Depression exists and I would feel better laughing about it then pretending it doesn’t exist.

    This column does everything a good column needs to : it is timely, gives factual basis, and a unique funny viewpoint. Jordan is doing all of us a service by writing this column and you all need to get off of your high horse and laugh a little.

    Great job, Jordan. Keep up the amazing work!

  29. Cassandra

    “Back Off,” I think that’s a problem not only at this university, but probably in our country as a whole. It’s all about political correctness & walking on eggshells.

    But as you said, people who actually suffer from depression don’t want to be coddled or pitied or tiptoed around. Sometimes they deserve a good laugh.

    But we live in a country that thinks we shouldn’t laugh at serious issues – when quite the contrary is true. Laughing about it doesn’t make it any less serious. It just takes some of the pressure off. What about the phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine”?

    But if everyone else would rather read a paper filled with medical facts & somber, politically-correct articles, well, I guess that’s their preference. But I’d rather laugh.

  30. Leah

    As somebody intimately familiar with depression and suicidal tendencies, and as somebody who has seen firsthand the debilitating results of not taking prescribed medication as prescribed (as would be the case when stocking it up to sell later), I find this article appalling to say the least.

  31. Jess

    When I was little I dealt with depression and seriously the only thing that helped was to know people didn’t want to avoid me and think my situation was sooooo taboo. It’s uncomfortable when society shuns the idea that people can have it rough. “Back Off” I feel ya and think this Jordan sounds like a nice guy. Considering there are hardly any guys on campus at all it’s nice one has a sense of humor that doesn’t have to do with sex

  32. Zac

    This article is hilarious. In fear of being politically incorrect (oh wait I don’t have that fear) these people with suicidal tendencies obviously need to become atheist or flock to Australia to keep in the sun. But thanks for using this as a medium to disseminate your depression to the small community that reads this blog.