Monday, September 2, 2013
And now we enter September
September has always been a mixed bag for me.
It isn't fall, but it feels like it.
It isn't the end, but it feel like it is.
It brings back that feeling of hopelessness, a loss of control to my memories and my soul.
When I was a child, I would retreat into myself. I wouldn't want to leave the house. I would cry for days on end. My mother couldn't cope with me, and her advice was to pull "yourself together." My father blamed my mother. And the other kids at school sensing weakness pounced, making me a constant target for their need to be superior to others in the most cruel way possible.
It wasn't until I was twenty that I learned that that there was a name for this feeling - Seasonal Affective
Depression. Or that the feelings I had as a child would get more powerful as I grew older.
Once I found that it had a name, I told my parents. My mother said "I can't understand this." My father said "There's nothing wrong with you." Their inability to comprehend this imbalance in brain chemicals wasn't about not loving me, but in their ability to believe that they had created a child who had a mental deficiency. Unable to get their support, I retreated even further.
Eventually I tried to kill myself but had the forethought to tell a shrink this and he got me involved in some tough love therapy. He told me what I had and told me that he could help me either make it stop, or that we could at least control it. It was the first time I felt that someone understood me. And his plan continues to work.
So what does it feel like, this annual ritual that my mind goes through? Its tied to the sun and warmth and the sounds.
I'm usually OK up until the 21st of the month or so. But once we cross over that seasonal line, my heart sinks and the feeling of loss, hopelessness and dread wash over me like a constant wave. Once that happens, then "the gray" creeps upon me, until November rears its ugly head, and all feels totally lost upon me.
What is "the gray"? I can't explain it other than to say that it is a veil of cloudiness that drapes itself over me, dulling my ability to feel joy, to think quickly or to wrest myself from it. It lifts, on occasion, but its the opposite of what people who aren't afflicted with SAD feel.
The worst is November. It is the month of my birth, and it is the cruelest month of all. Instead of more good days than bad, "the gray" envelopes you in a state where you have more days that are bad, with the occasional day of good. I feel like I am descending into total madness.
The good news is, if I can hang onto until winter solstice, things start looking up. Something deep in my being senses that the promise of better times is a couple weeks away. And by Groundhog Day, every day holds 24 hours of promise.
Having SAD is a lot like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ. You have to start a journey into the depths of who knows what, and you have no idea what lies ahead, but the hope that you will reach your destination is possible.
So I have upped my meds well in advance, and we'll see what happens. Intellectually, I can say that I will make it. But emotionally it's confession that I make because I am too cowardly to bring about my end. So I will just have to hold on and get to where I am going on.