As the days grow darker and the nights get longer, I find myself caught in this tug-of-war of emotion. I love the dark, the night, the fall and pre-winter seasons for their atmosphere and weather. But once November and December is upon us, I feel it creep in. It can’t be stopped and it can’t really be contained, it’s a slow rolling wave that comes toward me slowly and crashes over me like a hard hand. Here it comes, my seasonal depression.
I feel the exhaustion, the fatigue, the “Why get out of bed today?”, the sadness, the need to curl up and never move. The anxiety of “I can’t miss school today!” and the depressing thought of “I just want to sleep forever.” The only thing to truly get me out of bed is work, and even then I only wish I could stay home. I don’t want to interact with anyone, I don’t want to go outside, I don’t want to exist in any capacity than sleeping and the Internet. My grades drop, I stop studying, assignments are left until late, I slack off at work and sleep days away. I feel this as the snow falls, the Christmas lights go up and the trees come down, nothing becomes light again until April or May, when school is done and the winter has gone.
I never understood what this was; why I hated Christmas time outside of Christmas day, why I never wanted to leave my house, why my body hated getting up in the morning. Was it the cold? Was it the snow? Was it the unhappy memories of fights over Christmas with my family? Or was it my already existing depression becoming worse with the lack of sunlight?
My doctor knows this occurs to me. Or at least, he does but not the full extent. I haven’t been formally diagnosed with depression or seasonal affective disorder. I find myself pushing myself to suck it up, like I always do. I tell myself I have no valid diagnosis, so I shouldn’t be allowing this to happen to myself. But I don’t allow it. I’ve mentally taught myself that because I lack a diagnosis, I don’t have the right to feel the way I do. But when your family and friends notice how starkly different you behave during the summer compared to the winter, when they ask you if you are okay and if you are alright all winter and comment on your change in the spring. Is it so wrong to think something else is here?
I look forward to the day I can sit down with a psychiatrist and explain all these feelings I endure when the days are dark and cold. I hope to one day hear that I was right and it is alright to know yourself. While others may take offense to my presumptions, I know me; and I know that winter is possibly the hardest time of year for me mentally.
Good luck and much love.