Today I’m going to break all the Perfect Blog Post Rules and write the post that I’d like to have found when I first realized I might have Seasonal Affective Disorder back in 2005. Of course, I wouldn’t have understood this post back then. I would have just thought I’d stumbled upon the rantings of a mad woman. But that’s okay because we all know that crazy people make the best bloggers.
Also, in honor of full disclosure, I’m warning you that today’s post has been sponsored in part by the Eff Word. Consider yourself duly warned.
Let’s start by watching this little 40 second video:
Before moving to the Mountain in 2004, I would have so enjoyed that video. Now, somewhere between 27 seconds and 28 seconds into it I feel a sudden need for a Xanax.
For the past several weeks I’ve been experiencing the dreaded return of the loathsome Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that has plagued me since my second year living here on the Mountain. If you don’t know what SAD is go outside right now and give thanks to your Sun God. If you are one of those people who doesn’t believe Seasonal Affective Disorder exists then go eat some rat poison and stop taking up valuable real estate on the planet. Seasonal Affective Disorder most certainly DOES exist and those of us who suffer from it think we’re going cyclically insane, thank you very much.
Last week, Steve from Ending the Grind asked me how I could have this video where I say I’m living happily ever when I’m obviously struggling so much now with my unspeakable problem. In the interest of full self-disclosure I just want to say to Steve and to everyone else who wonders this very thing, “I have no fucking idea.” I do know that my dissatisfaction with the unspeakable increases exponentially in the winter.
I had a little twitter exchange the other day where I mentioned dreading the coming winter and someone tweeted back something about my living in California, so how bad could winter be? This just shows how big and diverse California really is, and how poorly Americans today grasp such complicated things like geography.
I lived in sunny Southern California for most of my life (several of those years on the beach), and now I live in a place that more closely resembles Northern Exposure where the people are quirky and weird, but with a notable lack of John Corbett walking around for us to look at (which makes me think we need a Man Candy Monday devoted just to John Corbett, don’t we?).
I’m sure it would cure my SAD instantly if only John Corbett were walking around town.
The folks in Northern Exposure certainly understood the effects of the winter darkness. I love this little speech John Corbett gives to the inhabitants of his dark, sunless town about the meaning of light.
We do have eccentrics living here who say stuff like that, but none of them are John Corbett. Our weirdos hang out at the Post Office a lot and yammer on about the dangers of cell phone towers and chemtrails. They also usually smell pretty bad because, for some very good reason I’m sure that I don’t understand, cosmic awareness and deodorant can’t peacefully coexist in their crazy little world.
In the absence of John Corbett, we do have a guy in town I’ve aptly nicknamed, “Hairy Armpit Man”. Hairy Armpit Man came by his name after he regaled all of us one night at the Chinese Restaurant (yes, there is just one) with how important the sun is and how he liked to drive up the Mountain to the Mile One Marker and hike around with all his clothes off, specifically, and he expounded on this part in loud detail while I was trying to eat my Mu Shu Shrimp, exposing his armpits to the sun. (This is called “freehiking” by the way and it is not as uncommon as you might think.)
For most sufferers of SAD, January and February are the hardest months, but for me October and November are the worst. The panic begins to set in as I wonder how long it will last, how bad will it be, and will I survive it this year?
I start thinking about selling our house and moving the hell away to somewhere sunny because I don’t know how much longer I can live like this. But the stupid economy has us backed against a wall. We live in an isolated, expensive resort town where the unemployment rate is:
Let’s take a moment and compare this with the unemployment rate during The Great Depression, shall we?
(Disclaimer: No one knows for sure what the actual unemployment rate was since nobody was keeping statistics back then. This graph is an educated guess. If you research this issue yourself, you will find that your mileage may vary depending on who is trying to sell you what. I’m trying to sell you the fact that our economy sucks buttermilk and we can’t sell our house for near what we paid for it meaning that we have a choice to either suck it up and stay here or walk away with nothing.)
Since I highly doubt that you can cure seasonal affective disorder by having sex with John Corbett (although I might be willing to take part in that study), I have to find other ways to cope.
I’m going to admit out loud that this year, for the very first time ever, I’ve broken down and started taking Wellbutrin-XL. This is hard and humbling.
Okay, it is humiliating. But I’m admitting it because someone out there reading these words might benefit from them.
I’ve never taken any anti-depressants before because I believed I could power my way through this. Even last year when my mother was dying I didn’t take anti-depressants. This year I’ve given up my pride in the hopes of saving myself and others around me.
I’m trying to be proactive.
I went to see a new doctor because I just don’t want to read fucking Kierkegaard again. I have also started light therapy, resumed cardio exercise (finally my knee is feeling reliably better), and taking more Vitamin D.
And since John Corbett doesn’t seem to be making himself available, I thought I’d give you this song by ELO. As sure as winter, summer is coming. I just need to remember that when the darkness comes.