SAD

Hey, I remember this. This feeling of being slow, and tired,
and the likelihood that if one small thing goes wrong, the feeling that
everything is over and life just might as well end because fuck this noise,
man. I spent years dealing with this, back when I lived on the east coast,
until the doctor said oh hey, this is one of those seasonal things, where you
are defective. Winter sucks, doesn’t it? Get some vitamin D.

Once I became aware of it, it was easier to deal with, the
annual slide into being so sure that I suck and everything was wrong with me.
It wasn’t entirely seasonal affective disorder, of course–I am disordered
because of biology, too, and because I am a delicate sensitive artistic flower
with delicate sensibilities that are very flower-like. And sensitive. Also, I’m
totally an artist. We have issues. Mostly, I can just get really fucking
depressed, really easily. Especially when the sun goes away, so terribly
unfairly.

I moved to California,
and expected to be cured–under the delusion that it was, in fact, The Sunshine
State, having not done my research. Weirdly, I was not cured. It turns out that
the whole winter solstice, daylight savings thing happens on both coasts. No matter what the state’s
motto is! I bet it even happens in Florida.

But as it turns out, there’s something helpful about living
in a place without that oppressive real-winter thing happening. There’s almost
always somewhere sunny, in San Francisco.
Even if it’s just a spot, for a couple of minutes. Sometimes, when the weather
isn’t nuts and the Storm of the Century isn’t blowing through, dumping acres of
water, you can sit outside in the sun in a T-shirt and eat your lunch in and
think nice thoughts about life and living and happiness about living life. I wasn’t cured by California,
but living in California surely
helped. It helped enough that I forgot lack of daylight could be a factor in my
moods. And then I moved to Utah,
land of winter. Hi! It’s winter, here, as it turns out. 

It is peaceful, to sit at home on the couch, in your
pajamas, and let the day dawn gray, move through shades of brighter gray, and
then fade into black. That peace can become lethargy and that lethargy can
become unhappiness and that unhappiness can sink you lower than you thought was
possible, more quickly than you could have expected, and suddenly you are
forgetting what it is to shower, or change, or set foot outside your house all
day. This is a slippery slope, especially when I don’t have to leave the house
anyway and why not just lapse into complete and utter ennui? It’s so easy.

Oh, hey, I remember how easy this is, to just let myself get
overwhelmed. I could sit, and do the bare minimum to pay my rent, live out of
boxes, eat tuna from a can I don’t even bother to drain, and just enjoy the
creeping tendrils of tragedy and despair. I remember how hard it is to dig out
from under this, to wake up and shake it off and mix other metaphors cheerfully
and with great vigor and a renewed sense of purpose.

Knowing what’s going on–that always helps. Trying to not
explode, that helps, too. So I have another thing to add to my to-do list. I’m
going to move it to the top, and maybe the rest of the list will stop freaking
me out.

  3 comments for “SAD

  1. anon
    February 8, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I totally understand this, every single word. Your ability to observe and note it, however, will be your saving grace. It’s ok. You just got there. You’re settling in. Adjusting not just to a new city (and new weather) but a new lifestyle. Don’t beat yourself up, just give yourself room to breathe and grow into this new life. It’ll happen.

  2. February 8, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I also completely understand every single word of this — I suffer from SAD, and I live in Minnesota, so this time of year is HORRIBLE for me. And I also office out of my home, so there’s no reason for me to leave many days, and even if I WANT to, it’s so hard to talk myself into it… I’ve found that I really just do ahve to force myself out, and once I”m out, it’s not so bad anymore, it’s just the leaving (the getting showered, getting out of the flannel pants, the putting on of the coat and the warming up of the car), that is so hard. SO hard. I totally get it.

    thankfully, I’m going on vacation to Mexico on Monday, and it will seriously be the first time I’ve seen the sun in weeks.

  3. February 9, 2008 at 7:46 am

    I’ve been lurking around your blog for awhile. Your writing always touches me.

    This post describes exactly what I’m going through. I returned from Florida to the Northeast, and winter is a reminder of why I went to Florida in the first place. I get so depressed in the winter. It is hard for me to leave the house. (Especially to go to a job that I hate).

    Perhaps I need to see a professional and get a diagnosis.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

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