Next Year, I’m Telling February To Take A Hike

I have written about this before, but I cannot emphasize it enough. February is a difficult month. It is already the 21st, but I am not feeling hopeful yet that I will dig myself out of my wallow for a little while yet, because January was not so hot, either, and March is not always so forthcoming with the relief.

You will have to excuse me if I sound like I am complaining. I am.

At this time of year, I do my best to move ahead with things. I go to work, I see friends, and I eat food, but my heart is not in it. My mind is usually wanders off to bed or a hot bath or anything else that accomplishes nothing but offers the possiblity of taking my mind away from its everything-is-futile default setting.

I worry that my medication is not working, even though I know that it is; it is just struggling against February's oppression. I worry that no one loves me, or even likes me, because I am obviously irritating and selfish and boring. I worry that I am far uglier than I think, and that any physical confidence I have is baseless. I worry that I have an as-yet-to-be-diagnosed terminal disease. I worry that my pets will turn on me. I worry that the toaster will electrocute me. I worry that all my written words are worthless.

Just yesterday, I was setting the dye in a Guatemalan bedspread with vinegar and salt in the washing machine. I stuck my finger in the little hole that the lid triggers to start the machine so that I could watch the agitation. I was there for twenty minutes before I noticed that I had not moved or thought in all that time. My brain wants to run far afield of reality right now, even if all it does is watch the back-and-forth swish of water in the drum.

This will subside. The sun will shine more often, the cold will give way to warmth, and I will break out my spring clothing and regain my faith in moving forward through life. I know this. It will happen.

But (a word that hangs covertly behind every good thought) I must first work my way through to that day when spring and summer lift me out of winter. Until then, I will continue to use my full spectrum lamp, take comforting baths, and let knitting carry me into the limbo of nothought.

Before I go, let me ask you: how do you deal with seasonal depression? I have been figuring that one out for thirty-five winters, but it could not hurt to try what you've got.

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