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Imagine if you suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a mood disorder that hits those with normal mental health, causing depression at the onset of winter. The days are shorter. You wake up to darkness, and go home in darkness. Those of us that work in-doors are likely not to see the sun for stretches of a week at a time. Symptoms can range from a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, withdrawing from friends, family, and social activities to life ending anxiety. But winter is a tough season. It is cold, grey, and dark. Even those showing no signs of S.A.D. will lock themselves away in-doors, waiting out the season, not venturing out-doors unless it is absolutely necessary.
Now imagine everyone in the world suffered from S.A.D. What kind of a world would that be?
The Judas Syndrome offers its reader that very scenario, trapped inside, while a nuclear winter rages. Seasonal Affective Disorder could hardly represent the angst and horror those (un)lucky few survivors would suffer. Though all of the symptoms would apply, the idea that winter may never pass, that spring would never come, and that the summer months may exist only as a memory allows us to coin a new disorder in light of the end of the world: L.A.D. - Life Affective Disorder.
Life Affective Disorder would encompass all of the aforementioned symptoms, one hundred fold. Thoughts of suicide would play out on the most resolute of individuals. Those left to exist in this nightmarish realm alone would almost certainly parish by their own hand. The (un)lucky few trapped with friends or family would fare much better, but for how long? With no end in sight, and no ability to forecast an end to this dark winter, L.A.D. would be rampant in every corner of the world a survivor, or group of survivors were found. The simple comforts wed taken for granted gone, electricity, heat, clean water and food, depression would run rampant through the population.
Currently there are many different treatments for seasonal affective disorder, including light therapy: where the sufferer is exposed to false sunlight, antidepressants: which can artificially alter your mood, cognitive-behavioral therapy: where the patient is taught to think differently about a situation to alter their mood, and hormone therapy: where melatonin is released into the system.
So how did they do it, a group of teenagers, barely out of high school, with no training in S.A.D. prevention? How did they survive and thrive in this harsh new reality? Consider the fact that they spent their tenure hunkered down in a house in the country, many miles from ground zero. Consider the fact that this house had its own water well system, a generator that ran on fossil fuels, and a septic system unaffected by the lack of maintenance on the municipal waterwaste systems. As a self contained environment, with working electricity, heat and water, the chance of S.A.D. is drastically reduced. The effects of fall-out, persisting month after month, blotting out the sun and moon and stars would be offset by artificial light, offering some sense of normalcy to the occupants. The monumental find of a grow-op offered the group marijuana, a substitute for antidepressants and melatonin distribution which would be unavailable in such an environment. Leadership and the instillation of positive thinking that they may be rescued by some branch of the government further heighten their chance of avoiding L.A.D.
Another aspect to their success is that they were, in fact, teenagers. After all, it's teenagers they send to war. Teenagers are resilient, fearless, unwavering. They are stubborn, resilient, often ignoring the threat of death even in the face of danger. They are resourceful, and picking off the major food distribution outlets within their immediate territory sets the stage to further avoid the effects of L.A.D. and, perhaps more importantly, starvation. It could also be said that their most enduring quality is that teenagers are capable of change, and in an endless winter, perhaps their ability to change is their best.