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.


  1. you will make it, you will be fine.

    i have spoken.

  2. You have an open invitation to live at my home where seasons don't exist! I haven't felt the change of Spring or Fall in 20 years. Actually it did have a vague Fall feeling for the first time recently with the crisp clarity of daylight and the Earth's seasonal rotation. I almost wanted to wear purple, but 90 degrees prevail.

    What Norma said...

    If not come weather the SAD here.

  3. It must be difficult having to go through this each year. Have you tried those sun-lamps with the wave-lengths that mimic sunlight? I have know some people who swear by them.

    1. I have a full spectrum light,' and I use it, but the effects are minimal. My former shrink in Ohio said that in 30+ years of practice he's only seen a handful of patients with an onset as early or as lasting. Pills mitigate it by making me numb. The light box, gives a momentary lift. In November, nothing makes a difference.

  4. I hope that you'll listen to your intellectual voice; the one that tells you you'll make it through and that this is just a seasonal phase that will pass.

    My advice, for what it's worth, is to print out a reminder of how this feeling will pass...something that you'll see everyday that keeps you in check and let's you know that "the sun will come out tomorrow."

  5. Cookie i hear you... The grey fog is lifting a little here with the onset of spring with summer just around the corner. This past winter has been the shittyest for me in years. No motivation, elevated anxiety and the feeling that things just arn't worth the effort... I'm seeing my shrink next week but like you know myself well enough to have boosted my meds earlier... It has worked and hope is returning...
    But i just get to the stage where punching munchkins and flying monkeys that get in my way seems like a really good option... if only i had the energy...

    Little Mistress MJ "Annie" is Right... "the sun does come out tomorrow"...

  6. MJ has excellent advice!

    Living in Texas, this is unknown to me except as the dread I have in May that there will months on end of horrible heat that makes being outside impossible for someone of my delicate sensibilities . . . or general wimpiness. It's just now that I can see relief around the corner, even though it's a long block to get to that corner. So I can relate in some way . . . and you have much sympathy and support, for what they're worth.

  7. I had SAD, too, for years. I found out by accident that taking vitamin D (5000 IU per day with K2) made it go away. I was halfway through November before I noticed it was missing.