This year in particular I have physically felt my sanity escape my brain.
The clocks went back as the days are already getting shorter and shorter. I didn’t even gain an extra hour of sleep. I was more tired and completely exhausted than in recent weeks. I have been so irritable and all I want to do is sleep. Even eating regularly is difficult. Red Bull and Starbucks have been my saviors.
Besides the overwhelming apathy, the desire to neither live nor die mixed with nihilism, and the intertwining of anger and despair and hopelessness, my other most hated symptoms include: The pressure in my head. The pounding in my ears. The splitting pain between my ears. The inability to focus on anything except my own pain and exhaustion. Every feeling is heightened then dulled. Every emotion is exaggerated then muted.
I have a very love/hate relationship with the sun. I prefer it cloaked behind thick clouds. I enjoy its warmth as I stay in the shade. I still want it there, just out of sight. I hate cloudless days. I also hate winter weather. I understand that I need the sun, especially as it is around less and less as the year wanes. I understand its role in my life. I watch helplessly as it peeks out less and less and the moon and her domain rule queen.
This year I have not hid or downplayed my struggles. My coworkers have noticed I am not smiling, I’m scowling more than normal. “You look tired.” I’ve heard that about three times this week. I just tell them. “Eh, I’m depressed.” And then my least favorite conversation starts up.
“Why are you depressed? Like what’s causing it?”
“My brain. I have depression.”
I’m done making excuses for it. I would rather be honest. Not to make others feel sorry for me. But to give a face to depression. It always amazes me how many people are surprised to learn I have it. It’s not just “I’m tired” or “oh I’m just having a bad day today.” One bad day doesn’t end up being 10 years long. Being tired doesn’t mean I want to sleep and never wake up.
I feel like the only times I’m truly happy is with my wife and friends. But at the back of my mind is the premature grief of one day losing them all. Maybe it’s the reminder that one day they won’t be here anymore and I truly will be sad and lonely. Maybe the desire to die first fuels my behavior and actions like eating poorly and refusing to exercise. Yet it’s contradicted by the fact that I enjoy living so much, when I can enjoy it. I love my wife and my cats and my coworkers and my family and being in nature, even watching the sun rise before I find shade.
I am hoping I can shake off this particularly bad bout of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, but I am not very hopeful. Maybe I will be tomorrow or next week. Or next year. Just not today.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.