By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Does this weather have you down? That’s a normal reaction, according to a local mental health expert who says the recurring storms have brought not just snow and ice but also anxiety and despair.

“The old-fashioned term would be ‘cabin fever,’ ” notes psychologist Frank Farley of Temple University.  He says the impact of this winter goes way beyond Seasonal Affective Disorder.

“This is, in my view, a special category of anxiety, depression, (and) mental stress,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

And everyone is feeling it, even those who normally delight in exceptional weather.

” ‘Yet another storm is on the way,’ — there’s almost an inflection when you’re talking about it, where you’re just so sick and tired of winter at this point,” says CBS3 meteorologist Katie Fehlinger.

Farley has advice for coping without losing your mind:

“Look,” he notes, “snow melts.  That happens to be one of its qualities.   This will pass.  So that’s a very important attitude to have.”

Farley says you could even turn it into something positive.  Are you a parent, for example, worried about how much time your child spends online?  Farley says you may have a rare opportunity.

“Here’s the offline world!  You’ve got a storm coming, power is out, you have to be home.  That’s going to bring your family closer together,” he advises.

See?  Even snow clouds have silver linings.

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