There’s just something about fall, isn’t there? The incandescent light, filtering through multi-hughed leaves. The ubiquitous pumpkin flavored bakery goods (though, if you’re at all in the market for a good recipe, these are pretty fan-damn-tastic). The smell of woodsmoke, the return of good TV. The slowly creeping darkness. It’s wonderful and terrifying. It’s hopeful and melancholy.
It was early October, Homecoming Weekend, when I “voluntarily” withdrew from college for “health” reasons (meaning I was batshit insane and no one knew what to do with me; I don’t fault them, exactly, it wasn’t THEIR job to fix me). I remember the impossibly colored leaves on the gingko trees around campus. The yellow lights glowing from the living room windows of nearby houses. I remember the smell of the cool air. I remember the darkness.
Dooce once posted, in one of her many posts about her struggle with depression, that the spring and autumnal equinoxes are often the hardest times from those who suffer from depression (the broken brain chemistry type of depression) (I’m not sure why that parenthetical needed to be written, maybe to justify my feelings to myself). The changing of seasons, the shifting light.
I’m not on medication now. I haven’t been for many years. I’ve been on a lot, though. Antidepressants. Antianxieties. Antipsychotics. If there was a condition available, I was on the anti drug for it. I slowly weaned myself off last time, after I was put back on them following a particular traumatic event. I didn’t want to be dependent on a pill. I wanted to find my own way. I was seeing a counselor, I was making friends. I was doing OK.
I never looked back.
Every now and then I get this feeling, this brain-zap, or electric shock feeling that runs up my spine and wraps around my brain. Turns out this is a symptom of withdrawal from many of these psychiatric medications. Even now, years later, I get them. I’ve begun to wonder if it’s at all related to the seasons. To this idea that my once damaged synapsis are just having a harder time firing than usual. I wonder if, once the connection between the serotonin receptors and uptakers and whatever else they are called, is broken, do they ever really and truly get better?
I was talking to John about this the other night, when, after putting the kids to bed I was just sitting on the couch, unable or unwilling to move, not sure why I was feeling so terribly, but feeling quite terribly. He called it the “constant knocking.” That depression is this annoying solicitor, seeking a way in. Knock knock knocking all the time. And it’s my job to say “no.” Go away. I don’t want what you’re selling. Not today. Not ever. No no no no no.
But, of course, it’s worth it.
Is it? I could be using that brain power on so many other things. But what choice is there? I let it in once, and it was near impossible to get rid of – if, in fact, I did get rid of it. Maybe instead of a “knocker” I should say that depression is like a vampire, once you let it in, however briefly, it has access to swoop in through the windows and suck the life right out of you. (And you know that THIS vampire doesn’t sparkle.)
Maybe the other thing about fall is what it signifies. The advent of winter. Longer nights. Less light. Cold. Lots of sickness. (Christmas!). And more metaphorically, too. The season of really shitty anniversaries. Assaults and hospitalizations and psych wards and pumped stomachs. Fall is knowing that it’s all right around the corner.
I feel a little weird writing about this. Again. Or, I guess, at all. Look at me and my Really Big Problems.
Except, not really.
I’m OK. I’m not, you know, in “danger.” (It feels so silly to even write that; I’m hoping that everyone would know that about me, but just in case). But it’s true. I am OK. I’m happy with my life, I am. My family is the best ever, I am finally teaching in a real college with real students and getting the experience I’ve been wanting for years, everyone is healthy, we’re not in any real financial straights.
I’m having a hard time.
I’m sad and anxious and there’s this twisty knot in my stomach and my thoughts won’t settle and what I want, oh so badly, is to hide under the covers with my Kindle and to read the scene where Beth dies so I can cry and cry and just mope a bit, you know?
I know that part of it is being exhausted. I am so tired, you guys. Luna’s sleep is a whole other post or novel or whatever but it’s not good, and my levels of sleep deprivation are reaching 11. Sleep and wonky brain chemistry are a rather potent combo.
Anyway, this is the state of things. I know posting is light, and has been for a while. It will likely continue to be light because really, who wants to read a blog full of random whining? I’ll try to get back to posting lots of cute baby pictures and indulgent cookie recipes soon.