Thoughts from Blue Angel
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2003-04-13 16:00:17 (UTC)

The un-SAD

It's amazing how the one thing that consumes you the most
is often the one thing you keep locked up inside. It is
hard to share with others, afraid that they won't see how
big this thing is and how you aren't making it up.

I told Tyler. It took him a while to understand, to
believe I was serious. He saw the change in me. And now I
feel better. This big thing that takes over my mind and my
emotions is real. But it was still so big that I could
never even write about it in my own diary... until now.

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. I know that
everyone gets a little blah in the winter, but I become
seriously depressed. Every year for as long as I can
remember, from January to April, I've sunk into this world
where I'm not the same person.

The usual happy, understanding, confident, responsible, and
sociable Jennifer disappears. In her place comes a girl
who worries constantly, but can't seem to get the
motivation to do anything about the worry. I might spend a
whole day beating myself up inside for not doing homework,
but I still won't do it. In fact, in those cases, I
usually just skip class so I won't have to face the fact
that I didn't do it.

Words and actions that usually don't bother me become
painful, and they can cause my mood from going to happy to
miserable in a matter of seconds. I get cranky and say
things I don't mean, all the time knowing exactly what I'm
doing, and it's like I can't stop myself.

I stop caring about everything. My schoolwork suffers, I
drop extracurriculars, I stop answering the phone for the
fear that it's someone calling to ask why I let them down.
I stop wanting to hang out with my friends. All I want to
do is sleep all day.

I will admit that suicidal thoughts pop into my head at
least a few times every year, some years being worse than
others. Most years, they are only shallow thoughts, and
they are not considered seriously. Other years, they are
more consuming, although that hasn't happened in a long
while. In either case, I always get the feeling at least
once that I wouldn't mind going to sleep and not waking up
in the morning.

It starts right after Christmas. I get cranky more than
usual. I get quiet and my disposition isn't quite so
sunny. At first, I can control myself by taking a few
minutes to pull myself together. Pretty soon, my bad moods
become more and more frequent, until it feels like I'm in a
bad mood more than I'm in a good one. I start doubting
myself on many levels.

By February, I'm regularly skipping meetings and classes.
I turn down invitations to go out with my friends. I feel
guilty about not being a good student/friend, so I get more
depressed. It doesn't take much to hurt my feelings. I
start gaining weight.

It gets especially hard to control myself in March, because
I feel like I'm drained emotionally and my self-discipline
is worn out. I often get snappy. By this point, I can't
stand myself.

In the very end of March and first week or so of April, I
start to feel much better. However, this is a very hard
time for me, because I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster.
One minute, I will feel completely better; the next, I'll
be back at rock bottom. There are no words to describe
this frustration.

It's hard to explain the feeling I get after the winter is
gone and I look back on it. I know how irrational I was at
times and how what I did during that period did at least
some irreversible damage. Yet I always know that there's
no way I'll be able to stop it from happening the next year.

In fact, now that I'm a veteran SAD sufferer, I don't have
to wait until April to realize how irrational my actions
are. I know at the moment. And this year, I spent a lot
of time telling myself, "This isn't you. This is the SAD
trying to control you. Please think through what you're
doing right now." Doing that made this year much better
than those before it. However, I still did a lot of things
I regret, and I still cried myself to sleep several times.

I know that I should write here more often during those
hard times, but I just can't find the motivation to do it,
even though I know it will make me feel better. My own
diary has had an incomplete look at my life, because I
haven't even wanted to share my shadow with my diary. But
now, I have, and I hope that I can continue to express it
next year when I am revisited...