Late August. That’s when it begins. The alarm goes off at 6:15am and eyes flutter open only to find that the morning is a little darker than it was the day before. The burn of the retreating sun coupled with the chilly air of September takes me further down. Darkness. Winter. Winter is coming…
Winter. The word conjures warm memories of skiing, Christmas break, and playing in the snow. Childhood memories flood my mind and I wonder how they can define one thing for the rest of our lives?
The joyful anticipation of my childhood winters have churned and twisted to dread. The cold and dark, dark sky brings a sadness that makes my bones feel brittle and my skin feel numb. The depression seeps in and I’m left with the bleak.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is the fancy name for the condition affecting dark-hating, cold-loathing people. It has the power to spray shit over half of my year. That’s half a life cloaked with horrible, awful, shitty-ass shit.
I live in Colorado—it’s amazing, it’s beautiful, it’s majestic, but it has winter and I fucking hate winter. I’m fundamentally against moving to California or Florida, so don’t even try it. Seasons are a must. Can’t we just shorten winter to a one month thing?
The jubilation that accompanies back-to-school season is trumped by a deeper sense that the world is coming to an end.
Fall foliage? What fall foliage? My mind is occupied with depressing images of waking up in my tomb of a cold, dark house, dragging my ass down the stairs and slapping together ham and cheese sandwiches for school lunches.
Pumpkins and trick-or-treating? Fuck that. Winter is coming and my hands are numb.
You want to know what really brings me to my knees? Jeans. Jeans and itchy sweaters and clothes that confine my sensory-whacked body. Yoga pants, you say? Damn the yoga pants. I’m tired of yoga pants; they just remind me of the weight I put on from candy, stuffing, and the tidal wave of gluttony that comes with the hap-happiest season around. When all joy has left life, a pumpkin scone (or two) can look like the North Star to a ship lost at sea.
Next comes Christmas? Joy to the world, the lord has come. Whaaaat? What is Christmas even about? I’m going to throw every last Christmas card in the recycle bin right after I oooh and ahhh at it because the depression is too heavy to Martha Stewart my way into cutting a sorry-ass ribbon that you can pin the cards to.
And the baby Jesus? What if I think Jesus was just a dude in the Bible? Then what is all of the hubaloo about? Mother fucking presents, that’s what. We get to watch our spoiled, entitled kids rip open present after present, crying for more, more, more.
Oh fuck. I sound like the Grinch, don’t I?
I don’t want to be this way, I really don’t. I want to bask in the warm glow of family, I want to cook a fucking feast to feed 40 fucking people (that was a little ambitious… maybe more like 12), and most of all, I want to be happy and enjoy the memories I’m making with my own kids.
The magic of winter is for kids and ski-bums. I long for the kiss of warm air on my skin, the smell of the earth, and the sweet, sweet daylight that transforms ham sandwich-making into a palatable task.
The depression is real and makes for long days, and levels of unthinkable curmudgeony are coaxed out of the most optimistic of personalities. This shitty disorder baffles those who are unaffected and they observe us with a suspicious eye as they wonder where their loved one has gone.
Experts recommend buying one of those lamp-thingies with special light bulbs to help combat the depression. You shine it into your face for 20 minutes hoping to fool yourself into thinking that summer has arrived. I’ve tried one and surprisingly… it managed to depress me further. I was cold, it was dark and I had a bright fucking light shining directly into my face. That’s it.
So? What’s the happy ending? Where is the bright side? As far as I know, the bright side is that spring will come again and I can run through the meadow like Fraulein fucking Maria and Captain Von Trapp because the hills are alive, bitches.
The hills are once again alive.