It’s been a while since I’ve written a post. I’m not completely sure why, I just haven’t felt much like writing, or doing anything else for that matter. I am sober and everything is alright. But everything is also not alright. I am a depressive, recovering alcoholic and I’ve just been feeling down. Nothing bad has happened, nothing of real consequence anyway. I just feel down and unmotivated for no real particular reason.
Except that it’s October. The beginning of fall and winter is right around the corner.
This is not my favorite time of year. At all. I’ve known that for the last few years, but I’ve blamed it my birthday and the anniversary of ending a pregnancy seven years ago.
But now, I think, there may be other reasons…
Have you ever heard a song, or smelled a scent, or felt something that triggered a specific memory? Like whenever I hear Billy Idol sing Mony, Mony, I am transported back to my very first concert when I was fourteen. Or when I smell cinnamon rolls, memories of my first real job at a bakery come flooding back.
It was like that the other morning. I got up early, about 4:30, as I usually do. I went to sit outside on the patio and have some coffee in my usual morning attire – a pair of Austin’s boxers and a t-shirt, and I realized that I was cold. I later heard on the news that it was our coolest night since last Spring. Anyway, I had to go inside and put on a robe to be comfortable outside. As I sat there, in the cool morning air, memories started filling my head. These weren’t great memories like concerts and cinnamon rolls, these were memories of bad things. Bad things that have happened to me, and bad things that I have caused. Something about the weather triggered an onslaught of scenarios of the past, and filled my heart with feelings of regret and sadness. At first I didn’t understand it. But as I wrote in my journal about these things, it became clear to me. Many, many of the negative things I’ve been through have happened in the fall and winter. Actually, as I’ve really thought about it, almost everything that I would consider “bad” has happened between October and February. It’s when I did much of my active drinking and when most of my bad behavior happened. It’s when I suffered rape as a teenager, it’s when I went off the rails and ended up in the looney-bin, it’s when I’ve been sick enough to go to rehab….twice.
So, is it really the time of year that is to blame for my depression? I don’t know for sure, but it makes sense to me. If a song can trigger a feeling, then why not the weather?
Austin and I talked a lot about it, and after he thought about it, he agreed that this may be the reason. He talked about his feelings of fall and winter which are quite the opposite of mine. He has many, happy memories that are triggered by the beginning of fall, it’s when he feels the most hopeful and happy. So if it affects him in a positive way, then I guess it stands to reason that it can affect me in a negative way.
But now, what to do with this new-found realization that I’ve had about my third-quarter depression? I’m still working on that. I know that lying around watching every old episode of Monarch of the Glen hasn’t really helped much. What is working (a little) is telling myself the truth: the past is over, I can’t change it, and I am a different, healthier person today. I tell myself that my expectations that this time of year is going to be sad and hopeless, are really unfounded. The time of year may bring up old stuff, but my attitude and how I deal with it is really the key to me backing away from the ledge of despair. I don’t have to succumb to my emotions…I can put one foot in front of the other and keep doing the things that I need to. And I can do so happily. Knowing this now, I can, and do, find joy in each day no matter what the weatherman forecasts.
It’s still early in the season, we will have to see how things eventuate for me, but knowing now why it is that I get sad at this time of year will help me to combat the blues. There is power in knowing.