There’s something about this time of year that I love so much it’s hard to put the why into words. I’m sure many of you get it. Who doesn’t love everything that comes with Fall?
On the other hand, I find myself fighting a battle that’s more difficult this year than it’s ever been. Those of you who, like me, struggle with seasonal depression also get it. Who doesn’t love being stuck in bed and resisting the urge to hibernate forever?
This week kicked off with a total fail of a “long” run on Sunday, which ended up being approximately 1.3 miles of good and half a mile of hobbling to my car rock-hard, tight calves and feet. Forget the 4 to 5 I was supposed to get in. I’m learning that the less I run and the more I age, the more time it takes me to recover from things like extended periods of time on my feet. Nothing gets me going like acknowledging that my body isn’t capable of the things it once was, though of course I realize it’s still awesome to be able to train, run, and generally move as I wish.
Couple that failure with accidentally skipping a few days of the heavy dose of Vitamin D I take around the time change, and cool, it’s a recipe for seasonal depression and self-doubt so simple, it seems to have been ripped from the pages of Ina Garten’s latest cookbook. How simple is that?
Except in this case, the Ina question taunting me is actually how bad can that be?
It can be bad, it turns out. Worse than in the past; worse than my senior year of high school, the first year I remember feeling this way in the fall. Earlier this week, I felt an otherwise inexplicable darkness and weight in such a tangible way it was nearly physical. The ridiculous part is that I can acknowledge it all I want, but it’s so difficult to escape sometimes. It’s not even real. My life is so good right now, it’s laughable. These feelings are not an accurate reflection of my reality.
Years of experience have taught me how to escape the darkness. Today I’m in a much better place.
For me, the best thing I can do is to write these things down to get past them. I need to make a record for myself as a reminder that the darkness does lift, and to be honest about the (lack of actual magnitude) in what’s happening versus what I feel, which are two different things. This is especially weird to me because the darkness of depression seems to take over when life is really good or when I feel the pressure of something about to change. I also recognize and know it’s okay to feel this way, since it’s something I’ve been through before and will likely face again.
In the meantime, I’m taking steps to put myself back on the life-is-rainbows train, starting back with that Vitamin D, adequate but not-too-much sleep, and time like this where I simply pour the thoughts out of my head. Running helps, too. All of this helps. This too shall pass.
Anyone who’s invested in one of those light boxes or a tanning bed membership over winter, I’d love to hear your thoughts.