Just beneath the surface of normal

My Own Worst Enemy


This is not my time of year. I mean, we already know I’m the poster child for Seasonal Affective Disorder, but if winter is the Pacific Ocean, then late February through Mid-March is the Marianas Trench; in theory it’s got a bottom, but it’s a long, long way down. And it gets more dark and surreal the further down you go.

what late winter depression looks like

Dude, I’m SO fucking ready for spring.

From last year’s post on the topic, we know that this is the time of year that saw me drop out of college when I was eighteen so that I could stay home and watch golf on TV alone in the dark because it was so soothing. That’s right: at 18 I opted for golf in the dark over a warm early-spring day, or friends, or boys, or my birthday. And I don’t even play golf. But I guess there was something about the green grass and the slow, papery voices that made me feel safe and calmed the overwhelm of navigating being newly on my own on a huge anonymizing campus with no structure, unlimited freedom, a full-time course load, a full-time job, and untreated PTSD and depression. Eventually all the avoidance just crushes you. While I haven’t actually hit that low since, not a late winter goes by that I don’t drift down into the trench and remember the warm cocoon of golfy oblivion.

Somehow that was twenty years ago. Now I have a light box, two different antidepressants, a gym membership, a juicer, a CPAP, a carefully regulated sleep schedule, and a house full of supportive family to keep me on track. And still I feel the sinking when this time of year rolls around. It probably doesn’t help that the blue light of my light box always makes me think of being in a submarine in Barbados, which also happened this time of year:

Also gives you a sinking feeling. But with tropical fish and a shipwreck instead of a cup of tea and a laptop on yet another cold and dreary day.

Worse? I can’t drink coffee anymore. Coffee used to be my life raft this time of year and I kept my doses low the rest of the year so that come mid-February I could double it and vibrate my way through. But in January, when I started the second medication, it started causing things like panic attacks and vertigo, so we said a teary, Ativan-soaked goodbye. We’ll always have Yirgachaffe. I’ve since funneled that frustrated energy into being absurdly well-versed in tea, though I do still occasionally sate my frustrated Arabica lust with fair trade organic decaf and revel in the memories of French presses past. But seriously, even WITH coffee I feel like crawling in a cave and full-on hibernating (fecal plug and all), and the gallons of tea I down every day has not even come close to stilling the relentless fatigue-induced eyelid twitch that has been my near-constant companion since shortly after Halloween. That is not helping things much. But I have to admit, lack of panic attacks and random sober bedspins is nice; most of the time I manage to choose it over still eyelids.

Regardless of my chosen caffeine delivery system, I also get really, really flaky this time of year. So I’ll think of this really great idea for a blog post and then I’ll totally forget by the time I get to a computer. And then I’ll remember again when I’m on the train – underground, with no signal. Needless to say, I’m not getting much of anywhere with writing right now. Most of my amusing moments these days occur in short pithy comments because I can’t muster the focus to draw it out into a whole post.

Like how there’s this student whose last name is close enough to “Mangina” that I ALWAYS have to retype it. He very briefly even got a file folder that said that. It’s a good thing I’m not in the Registrar’s office, where it might wind up on his actual diploma. Or – God forbid – his transcript. Of course if anyone is gonna screw up somebody’s chances at grad school with an unfortunate typo, it’s gonna be me. Imagine if he had to legally change it in order to get accepted so that eventually he had to go by Dr. Mangina. All because I have the sensibilities of a twelve-year-old boy.

But that little paragraph is all I have to say on the subject. Do you really want to read a 50-word post? Probably not. It’s like the written equivalent of tapas: lovely, but not nearly enough.Hell, maybe I should start Tweeting in earnest if that’s all I can muster. Though I honestly can’t think of Twitter without thinking of that scene in The Lonely Guy where everyone is shouting a name on the rooftops, and no one is listening, so I always have an irrational twinge of shame when I post. Especially to a famous person who doesn’t know who the hell I am. Hi, this is me, inadvertently e-stalking you. I swear I’m not creepy. Much.

Nor do you probably want to read yet another IM Transcript, where a good half of my decent material happens these days. That being said, here’s another one because I can’t resist a cheap laugh:

David: Thought of the day: Where are the children’s industrial albums?
Me: At the bottom of the remainder bin where they belong.
Or possibly at the Charles Manson Community Daycare
David: Heh
Trent Reznor’s Muppet babies
Me: Our talents for developing sketch comedy premises are totally wasted.
Because that would be freakin’ hilarious.
David: Not as much as Quentin Tarantino’s Muppet Babies
Me: “do you know what they call diapers in France?”

Also, I keep thinking things that keep me from writing like, “why does everyone speak in hyperbole all the time anymore? Like something can’t just be lovely, it has to be completely fucking epically awesome.” And since I kind of tend to speak in hyperbole myself, I’m suddenly keeping my mouth shut and saying things like “lovely,” which is completely fucking epically boring.

Still, despite the cold, the fatigue, the full-time job that it surviving the winter, and the lack of much interesting to say, I did just manage to write some words. That’s how you make art, and I should probably give myself points for that.

Nah. Because then I’d be my own worst frenemy. And I completely fucking epically hate that word.


6 thoughts on “My Own Worst Enemy

  1. I….didn’t know…about the fecal…(gulps) plug…thing. But…I’m never….ever…going to be ….the same.

  2. I’m sorry. It’s not the sort of thing you can un-know. On the other hand, it’s a pretty clever evolutionary trait. As long as you don’t think about it too hard.

  3. You sound almost as depressed as I am. Also, I feel like that fish looks.

    • Oh no – I assure you, it’s really not that bad (because of the litany of supportive therapies listed in this post). I mostly just want to stop wearing coats and maybe see my hyacinths again sometime soon. I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling really bad, though. It gets better, I promise – nothing in the universe is constant (even the things we really want to be, like laughter and cat crazies) and you couldn’t hold onto this depression forever if you tried. I hope that brings some comfort, and that your next good day comes soon. {{{totally-not-creepy stranger-hugs}}}

  4. Yay! I’m glad I could help! 🙂

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