I feel like I am moving out of my latest depression, it has stuck around for more than a month. I am happy to report that I was more functional during this level of depression than I ever have been before. I only missed one day of work. I only hid inside my bedroom after work a couple of times. I was attentive to my family and played with my daughter, things I am embarrassed to say are not always true.
But I am more than a little hesitant. You see, I generally hit a major depression towards the end of March and through April. This is when two of my suicide attempts have been, including last year. And I spent yet another spring season doing the day program at St John Outpatient mental health services a few years ago.
Every year it is rough for me. My doctor calls it reverse seasonal affective disorder, and I have written that in this place before. I am not sure I agree. I think there are seas of triggers that pop up this time of year for me and it might be more of a cognitive behavioral thing than a whatever they think causes depression now thing.
Here are the ones I have been able to figure out: My birthday. In the past I never cared much for my birthday mostly because my mom never remembered it. And when she happened to get close to the date, she never knew my age. The last time I spoke with her I had just turned 19, but we spent a decent amount of time talking about me going to college next year, clearly thinking I was 17 or 18. These days, my birthday is simply a reminder of how far off course my life has gone from the plan. I am starting to come around on that idea, but it has taken a lot of very frustratingly repetitive counseling.
Approaching summertime/ less clothing/ swimming. I hate to take my shirt off. I rarely have it off in my own house. We have a great pool in our city, I have access to a tremendous lake house, actually two, and I am expected to swim at all of them. And I do like it, I like to be in the water, but I hate having my shirt off. It might seem obvious that this is due to my current weight, but surprisingly no. I hated taking my shirt off in high school too. It isn’t limited to simply being bare-chested either. I prefer to be in hoodies and jeans than t-shirts and shorts. I just feel more comfortable, more hidden.
Another factor with summer is that I sweat like a hog. No one wants to be around the sweaty, fat, hairy balding guy. I find myself turning into Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. My sweating also has nothing to do with my weight, I have always been this way since I started playing sports in middle school. Although it doesn’t help now that I can sweat from eating too fast.
I think the spring often marks the passing of another year for a lot of people, and I am no different. I think this is where things sound like season affective disorder for me. I don’t like getting older anymore, I don’t like time passing. I feel like my future will be full of regrets, missed opportunities and poor choices. I’m not exactly excited to dive into it.
Springtime has always been synonymous with girls breaking my heart. My very first girlfriend dumped me on March 18th, 2000; my second on May 15th of the next year. My two longest girlfriends, aside from my wife, both dumped me in the springtime as well, one of those was a kind of murky ending and the last time we had a good conversation on the phone was on my 21st birthday. This obviously compounds the birthday experience. From my vantage point now, it is plainly obvious that I was facing depression back when all that was happening and I was placing too much stress on these girls and they probably had no idea what was going on. I always thought my depression came from being dumped, but it was probably always the other way around. I got dumped because I was depressed.
So I’m leery, to say the least. It seems like things are going just fine, or at least starting to. But the back of my mind is filled with lurking thoughts about the suicidal depths of a coming depression I can do nothing to stave off.
What can I do? It either comes or it doesn’t.