The clocks changed last week. It’s been Halloween. I heard Christmas songs in Clinton’s Cards before. And it’s dark at 4pm. It’s definitely winter. With winter comes all the fun things – Christmas parties and New Year and – yay – another year older for me.
But as soon as the dark nights start my mood takes a nosedive. In the way that the arrival of spring makes me feel happy and hopeful, winter does the exact opposite. I feel sad, alone, hopeless. Lonely. This has happened my whole life, so I don’t want to tie it into my current depression diagnosis.
I’ve wondered if it’s some form of SAD. Basically when depression symptoms come in when the nights get darker, related to the reduced exposure to sunlight. And then it lifts again in the spring when the clocks change again. It does seem to tie in with what I feel and when I feel it.
Or is it more general? As much as I hate admitting it, this is the time of the year when I start to feel lonely. I see all the things that are coming up, and realise I’ve got no-one to do them with. No-one to go and watch the fireworks with. To buy Christmas presents for. To kiss at midnight at New Year. Or who will get me a surprise for my birthday. My self-worth collapses. What exactly is wrong with me? As I put it to my friend last year on my birthday: “I’m no-one’s first priority”. Yes I do have friends and I do have family, but my oneness is exacerbated when everyone else in the world seems to have a plus one and (in my mind) lives some perfect John Lewis ad life.
Do I feel depressed because of this? Because of SAD? Or do both combine to make everything feel worse?
Since I’m already on anti-depressants and have been though CBT I don’t really know what else can be done to help me through this. I try to silence that nasty little voice in my head that makes me feel this way by telling me all the bad things and the sad things. I try to challenge it with evidence, but when the evidence is only that, like last year, you’re spending Christmas and your birthday on your own, it’s hard to tell it to shut up.
I’ll still do all the fun things. Probably go to watch the fireworks by myself. Have Christmas with family and meet up with friends. Might spend New Year Eve in by myself, as I don’t want to be the tag-along on other people’s celebrations. And keep my birthday under wraps, because I don’t want to draw the attention to myself.
I guess it’s just a case of waiting it out, and for the balmy spring evenings to come around again, bringing some hope with it.