November 5, 2017
The time change is tomorrow and, while many people are happy about it because they don’t have to get up for work in darkness, I am… not. that’s a bit of an understatement. Darkness affects me very, very strongly and always has.
Although I’ve been depressed in every type of weather and light, warm and sunny is best for me, as for many people who suffer from this. Dark is hard. Cold is hard. Obviously the two often go together and I tend to lose hope.
I know people who like the fall and winter. “Enjoy sweater weather!” they tell me. “It makes me want to die,” I don’t respond. Because people really start to worry when you tell them that out loud.
Some years are better than others, and this is a better one. I’m struggling hard with being single but I’m expanding my friends and community and that is really joyful. But it’s work. I have to actively be aware of all this.
It’s just that for far too much of my life, the dark cold night (and of course, I live in California so I’m a wimp) feels like a manifestation of what’s going on inside me.
We’ll see how tomorrow goes.
October 31, 2017
I’m feeling super sad and lonely today and I caught myself being really upset that I’m going to be alone on Halloween (tomorrow). Halloween is not a holiday I have EVER cared about and it’s not a holiday that feels like a real holiday to me. It’s just a Tuesday when I have less work than usual.
But the sadness and loneliness is real. I don’t want to be alone; I’m sad about being alone. I have a bunch of invitations to parties but I don’t want to go to a party. I want to be with someone and pass out candy like we’re partners, or a little family.
This feels ridiculous. I really never have cared about Halloween, never. I’m just sad. And it’s cold and dark and people are celebrating and I feel alone.
October 3, 2017
I’ve always had a hard time with autumn. I’ve described it here before.
It’s starting to be fall here – it’s still warm in the daytime most days but it’s chilly at night, dark is falling earlier, and there’s that fall smell. That smell I don’t even really know how to describe but that brings dread. Maybe only to me – plenty of people seem to love the crisp fall smell.
It’s not as bad this year. I hope that continues to be true. I feel like I have to be vigilant or it will sneak up on me.
September 19, 2017
Something has shifted lately. I don’t know if it’s meds, therapy, prayer, or what, but I’ve been feeling… content. Maybe even joyful sometimes. And much less sorry for myself.
I went to a family event over the weekend. When I spend time with my family, I go way into self-pity mode. I’m the only adult there who’s not married, who doesn’t own a home, who doesn’t have children. Mostly, I’m just the only one alone.
But something about this time was different. I got to spend time with my nephew and nieces who I love very very much. My youngest niece just warmed up to me (she’s two and VERY picky about who she spends time with) so I got to read her books and have her sit on my lap and play games with her. My nephew and I have always had a really strong bond and even though he managed to spill a whole jar of syrup all over my lap, we still had fun.
Things feel good. The tough part is that depression waits. You don’t get cured, you get reprieves. One of the triggers that has been most consistent for me is the season change from summer to fall. So here we are on September 18, and I feel like it’s tapping me on the shoulder. I don’t want it, I don’t want anything to do with it, but there’s a reminder.
November 21, 2010
Whenever I’ve thought about my dog dying in the past, it’s felt like I was going to die. He was one of my best friends for almost eleven years and there through so much of my struggles. Also, I don’t deal well with loss. I have worked myself up into anxiety attacks wondering when he was going to die – long before he was sick. Now he’s gone, and I’m OK.
I was really really sad at first, obviously. I was with him while he passed away which was both wonderful and horribly difficult. I thought that I would be paralyzed with grief, and asked everyone I knew who prayed to pray for me. They did. And I’m OK. I’m remembering him with joy and love – I miss him, but it’s not overwhelming. It feels like God has given me a cushion – like I was starting to fall and he took the rocks away and placed something soft in my path. I have a huge fear of falling – literally and figuratively – and I thought this was going to be one of those falling into a pit times. I thought the bottom would fall out of my life and I’d go back into despair. If anything, the bottom got higher. I’m doing better than I have, EVER. Literally EVER in my life.
I have absolutely no explanation for it other than people praying for me and God rescuing me. To me, it feels every bit as miraculous as if God swooped down to catch me as I was falling off a cliff. My companion of 10+ years who I loved so much and loved me is gone. I’m single. I’m cold because it’s winter, and I don’t do well with cold, dark, and impending holidays. And yet, I’m not just “OK for me.” I’m actually feeling totally emotionally stable. This has never happened and part of me feels like taking out a full page ad in the newspaper because it’s so incredible.
There’s probably something in the Psalms that describes this feeling.
October 7, 2009
It’s been a rough couple of weeks and, combined with the autumn weather*, had me scared that the depression was coming back. Very scared.
But today I’m feeling better. And it used to be that “better” meant sort of numb and just not horrible. Now, better feels good. It’s strange. It’s not normal. It scares me too because it’s so new and strange.
But I’m grateful.
*I know tons of people who get depressed in the winter and early spring when it is cold, gray, rainy, etc. I don’t know anyone else who gets depressed when it’s sunny outside with the smell of fall. Everyone I know loves that. And I do too – I love the smell… but it also feels like a bad omen.
September 24, 2009
I used to not be able to be in a candlelit room. Something about the light level and the quality of the light made me sad. Not a little bit nostalgic and weepy, but despairingly sad. now, from a different perspective, I find it a little bit fascinating that the human brain is so strongly affected by so many different factors. At the time, though, I just learned to be afraid of low light levels.
One time my college roommates wanted to have a fun candlelight dinner. The ugly table was set beautifully and someone had found candlesticks and candles. She turned off the lights and lit the candles and I ran to my bedroom and sobbed. I don’t know if I’ll ever know why, but the candlelight broke something inside of me.
There was a type of music that did that to me too. Any sort of sad-sounding or even just quiet and slow female singer could set off the depression that was barely under the surface. Nina Simone, Jewel, Natalie Cole, Norah Jones, and a whole slew of unremarkable and surprisingly similar female artists would trigger me. (Nina Simone is neither unremarkable nor similar to anyone, just for the record. She’s amazing.) Again, not just a feeling of nostalgia, but more like despair. Falling into a black hole, and always thinking that this time there might not be a way out.
I still prefer bright lights. I will always turn on all the lights in a room and turn them up as high as possible. There’s still something inside me that feels wary, like if the light dims, my guard goes down and the horrible monster that is depression can sneak up on me. But it hasn’t lately. And mostly I’ve just gotten annoyed by Norah Jones and the like. But there’s that sort of muscle memory that doesn’t go away. It’s similar to the fall weather – it’s putting me on edge, just a little, reminding me of how bad things can get.