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Yesterday’s post is an illustration of the Seasonal Cycle I’ve identified in myself. It’s a literary painting, in extreme, of the way I almost always feel the worst during the bleak months. I have never been diagnosed by a professional, so I am loathe to apply any kind of disorder or condition by name (and I really dislike it when other people do that, with all manner of psychological disorders).
To be more detailed about what it’s like for me – it’s not as though Spring and Summer are magically free of any sadness. In fact, I ride a roller coaster all year long… but when the sun is high I’m on the Kiddie Coaster. During Fall, I transition and climb the peak to the Mega Drop-Off of Winter’s Coaster of Malcontent and Despair.
I’m also not so deep in depression during my Winter Lows that John has to hide my razors. I am, for lack of a better term, a functioning depressive. I can smile, laugh, and force myself to do what it takes to get by from day to day. I can even fake it hard enough to make people fairly unaware. And beyond that, I have moments where I am content. They seem to flit by, and they are fewer and shorter than during the warm months, but they are there.
It’s the core of me that changes. It’s the ability to keep things flowing regularly. It’s the feeling inside my heart. It’s the blank stretches inside my head. It’s the drowning desire to lock myself in a closet and close my eyes more often than not. It’s a lack of motivation that was there before, an inability to care as much about myself and others. It’s having to force action rather than being propelled from within with ease.
At some point after Fall has begun, I just wake up one day and realize that I don’t care about anything in the same way as I did the day before.
And I have no desire to care, either.
This year, that happened to me last Thursday. I got up with Braden and came downstairs. Before we had breakfast, I opened the blinds in the living room and looked out at the leafless trees. Standing close to the glass that separated me from the icy chill outside, I felt the cold leaching through. It nipped at my arms, it taunted me. And my head just… went numb.
I blinked, staring out at the gray.
And I didn’t care. I didn’t want breakfast, I didn’t want to look at my computer, I didn’t want to sing songs with Braden, or call my husband. I didn’t want to want to and I didn’t care.
And my realization of the lack of motivation in my heart just sunk me. I think that every year, I hope as I climb the ladder that there will be an escalator at the top this time. Or an elevator. Or a jet-pack. Anything to keep me from sliding down again.
After breakfast, I got on my computer anyway, out of a sense of obligation (and because it is here that I search for something to buoy me, so often). And I did something I haven’t taken the time to do much at all in a long while – I actually opened my blog reader. (Yes, I’m a crappy blog reader when I get too wrapped up in deadlines. Which is always nowadays.)
And right around the same time I was hitting the top of that ladder, waiting for that icy push on the small of my back, I found something better than an escalator, an elevator, or a jet-pack.
Sometimes it’s inspiring enough to watch someone else beat The Slide that you start thinking maybe you can, too.
I may not grow wings of my own, but here’s to never giving up on the possibility.
All spring and summer long (but for bouts of the bitchiness I’m cursed with, both by Nature and Nurture) I spend my time climbing the ladder.
I kick my feet back into the air after each step up, with a little grinning head toss and a shimmying booty shake, as I climb up, and up and up. Is that a spicy little theme song playing?
I hum a song as I let the sun shine on my face, feeling that warmth.
I look up and see myself getting closer to the top as time passes, but mostly, the peak holds no meaning for me. Sometimes a memory tickles buttons in my mind, but the sun has permeated even there, and its rays push those memories into corners unreachable for now.
The smile on my face keeps spreading.
I still shake my booty and kick out my feet as I step up, up, up the ladder.
By the time it’s bleak and cold outside, I reach the top. There’s nowhere left to go.
I look down at the sleek, cold, metal of the slide and I shiver.
My smile starts to fade. I’m cold. The corners of my mind come alive with recognition of what’s happening.
As the wind blows through me, rattling my bones, I look around and can no longer find the light of the sun.
My teeth chatter.
Before long, a sudden gust of wind slaps a strong, icy hand into the small of my back and gives a malicious PUSH, and with a gasp, I tumble into the metal.
There are no sides to hold. There is no amount of scrambling that can stop my descent.
As if it matters… for as soon as my flesh makes contact with that metal, the cold seems to leach out of my very soul all desire to fight the obvious.
As my face falls slack, I quickly begin the long slide down for The Winter.