Whether everyone without exception experiences it, one can never tell. For some, it comes in a subtle, slow manner, approaching at the beginning of, somewhere in the middle, or near the end when the long days of cold and darkness seem to have pervaded for too long that it has extinguished any memories of summer days and the sound of lapping waves in the heat of August.
For others, it comes like the roaring rush of the Siberian winds, paralyzing one as the shivers and overwhelming sense of doom and gloom – those twin cousins of an anticipated darkness and a subjective response to such environmental causation – becomes unavoidable in their power and sensation. Of course, those who live in Florida never experience it, or rarely so.
The winter doldrums come upon most, in varying states of power, with impact in spectrums that only the affected individual can concede to. It is, of course, too early to complain about so nascent in the season. Instead, we are to be “joyful”, as the holiday season is upon us; and yet…
The analogy and metaphor have been applied in literature great and mediocre; of seasons likened to life’s cycles, and of their parallels to the experiences engaged. From the “winter of discontent” to the “summer of childhood memories”, the cycle of seasons play upon the imagination, as spring represents the innocent beginnings of youthful dreams and fall betrays the end of childhood.
But of winter? Where does the metaphor begin, and more importantly, what is anticipated beyond the frozen pillars of shivering nights? And of winter doldrums – do we all experience them, and to what metaphor will we attribute the sensation of blanketed despondency, never to be shed except in the light of hope for a future yet to be anticipated?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has brought about the winter doldrums too early in one’s career, preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may well be the only way to shed the blanket of winter doldrums. For, if spring is the season of hope and summer the embracing of tomorrow, then fall must by necessity be the phase of the downtrodden, and the winter doldrums the time to begin preparing.
Such analogies, of course, are meant to be just that – images by which to begin a process that remains a stark reality – for, the bureaucracy of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is likened to a dark dungeon that must be faced, and the perilous journey of filing a Federal Disability Retirement is sometimes the only way out of the despair of the Winter doldrums, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire