This is the start of Winter Depression 2013. Now there’s a hashtag.

Today, the black dog found me.

I’ve been wondering for a while about my mood. My sleep hasn’t been sufficient for me to feel rested, and I’m becoming an increasingly unpleasant people to be around. The worst part is I know that if I don’t want to spend time with myself, probably nobody else does either.

Depression, my friends, is a fucker. I can’t imagine living with it year-round, but even seasonally, it’s quite literally the worst feeling in the world.

It’s a mind-boggling, slimy and slippery, insidious creature. It feeds upon the thing my brain naturally does–thinking–and makes thinking the most dangerous thing I can do. I get thought-tunnel vision, as the dark thoughts slowly creep forward in my mind’s eye vision to obscure as many of the light thoughts as they can. I feel irritable and bitter because I am me, this person with these genetics and neurotransmitters, stuck inside this body and brain. I resent everyone around me, because I can’t see their burdens, or if they even carry any. My brain tries to convince me that I am completely and totally alone in this feeling, misunderstood and unwanted for it.

It’s bullshit of course, and after ten years of knowing I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, I know pretty well what the downhill looks like. It’s notably similar from year to year: exhaustion, irritability, weight gain, lost interest… Gosh, I’m a textbook. Even that makes me depressed.

It’s fascinating of course, to have a blog like this. To be able to go back and see previous years. In 2011 my first mention of depression was October 25, and the last mention that winter was in late January 2012. The winter of 2012 began October 21, and ran until the first weekend of February 2013. I was going to say that I thought it started at a different time each year, but clearly it doesn’t. I’d like to think that my new job, plus the prolific sunshine that has lately been gracing Seattle, maybe allowed me to skip the first six weeks of what would normally be a 12-week episode.

12-weeks! Of the 52 in the year! That’s so much time to be depressed, really. Almost a quarter of the year, and I spend it captive in my own mind.

I guess that $70,000 masters degree in clinical psychology was worth it though, because I’m trained in how to deal with exactly what I’m dealing with. They say doctors can’t treat themselves, and maybe I can’t perfectly, but there are certainly things I can try. I may not be able to change the genetics, the neurotransmitters, the temperature outside, or the amount of sunshine, but I can certainly change my thoughts and behaviors in response to that. They do call it “cognitive-behavioral therapy” for a reason.

Get off my back, depression, I’m already tired of you.

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