For the greater part of my existence, I had found it exceptionally difficult to navigate between the changing seasons. Each year, at a juncture just prior to the official advent of fall, when the color and pageantry of summer would tragically morph into the dismal blandness of fall, I would turn unimaginably sad, falling into a nagging depression that made me feel like I was tied to the mast of a sinking sink. Thus, I hated October because this is when the noose of whatever it was that bugged me this time of year tightened.
Fall ushered in such a sweeping change in my life that I annually felt numb to the very core of my being. It was like I was devolving, emotionally imploding, always on the defensive, hoping to ultimately invent a short-term remedy for all the daunting behavioral challenges that autumn wrought.
Knowing myself the way I thought I did, I automatically assumed there would be ample evidence about myself that would be readily available to me, but when I studied, researched, and reviewed my emotional history, I found nothing to get me off the shaky ground of the autumn equinox. As can be imagined, this psychic failure on my part only frustrated me more until the inevitable happened: I lost the passion and the courage to continue to look for answers. I would simply suffer in silence, inherently surrendering my emotional curiosity to search for what it was that pained me since it was clearly evident that I was would not be lucky enough to arrange a cure for myself.
The first days of fall were quite naturally the worst as I scrambled to either invent or to discover a way to trick myself into believing that the days to come with their emaciated demeanor and anorexic doom was not merely a short-lived divine phenomenon God used to punish me. Instead, it was what it was which was something that I didn’t understand.
All my life, I have been a rabid fan of summer, a sunshine Superman whose total sense of self-awareness erupts from my kinship and affinity with the joys of warm weather. I luxuriate in the glitter and glow of an earth smeared with sunshine. In summer, I so easily see and recognize how God has laid out the earth like a lush, green carpet. In fall, what I witness is environmental blasphemy.
For much too long, I had been a silent victim in this cruel charade of nature as I quietly witnessed the appealing warmth of spring and summer being transformed into the appalling nothingness of fall and winter. Each year, at the initial onset of my withdrawal symptoms, I would start to make the mental preparations to endure the coming changes to my life.
And then one day, after decades of my annual ‘anointing’ with sadness, I was reborn! And my rebirth could not have happened at a more opportune moment as I had found myself deeply immersed in a funk that was so all-consuming that it appeared as if a demon had crawled into the inner recesses of my soul, and had shut off all the lights.
One thing about me that I enjoy about myself is that I know a good thing when I see it, so when I absently picked up a copy of a Reader’s Digest Magazine, and stumbled upon an article about Seasonal Affectative Disorder, (SAD) I experienced a twinge of hope that was so pronounced that I almost hollered for joy. I was a poster-child for S.A.D.!
I read the article hungrily, devouring each word as if it was a divine delicacy. So, I wasn’t crazy. I simply had SAD! I seriously doubt if anyone has ever responded in that zany a fashion upon the discovery that they had cancer, and quite possibly no one has, to date, made such a celebratory fuss over the knowledge that they had any sort of disorder, but I was ecstatic. For me, it was a starting point, a place from which to launch an attack because now that I had an opponent, I could better prepare a defense. I always fought better when I knew what I was fighting.
Via the Reader’s Digest article, I learned that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is annual disorder that causes severe depression that is so severe that in some cases, meds may have to be prescribed. WOW……I had no idea. I found that some of the symptoms of SAD, which I routinely possessed when the funk was upon me, were depression, loss of interest, low energy, drastic changes in appetite, weight fluctuations, feeling agitated, etc. However, the symptom that disturbed me most was the one that made me feel worthless and hopeless. Don’t get me wrong because not for one single moment, have I ever possessed the audacity to somehow think, feel, or to believe that I would be of some vital worth to the universe so this feeling of worthlessness shouldn’t have nagged me so persistently, yet it did. I used to feel so unnecessary!
Armed with this newfound info about what had plagued me for decades, I suddenly became very comfortable with the idea of restoring my self-determination. I was about to bust loose, to break free. And I did. Just knowing what I was up against gave me the ammo required to face my situation more definitively, and that was the last year that I was bothered with SAD. Good riddance.
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