A few weeks ago, I wrote the following paragraph, overly-confident that my yearly battle with seasonal depression was not going to be such a big deal in 2012..
It strikes me, nearly halfway through the month, that I’ve forgotten to declare war on September. There’s no little block of notebook prose where September is a villain stalking through the landscape of my plans, twisting and befouling them. There’s no letter addressed to the personification of Autumn, asking it to cease hostilities or face the wrath of my renewed enthusiasm. There’s no stockpiling of ephedrine in my “medicine” drawer or a badly photoshopped images where Autumn leaves are replaced with with fruit pastilles and energy drinks.
It was prepped and ready to go, wanting only for a short concluding paragraph to seal it off or inspire discussion. AND THEN THE CAGE CAME DOWN. Somewhere between writing the above and the end of the month, the imaginary walls and screaming demands that make up my stresses decided to tighten, and I was painfully aware of how much bullshit this was, and how many energy drinks, coping mechanisms, and foreign weather reports I was already utilising to keep my grip on things.
I came to realise that it had been less a case of feeling strong and confident about September, but rather that I had entered the month in an already heightened state of stress, already struggling to keep the pieces together, already battling wildly to stay afloat.
It wasn’t that September was going to be any less of a threat to me this year, but rather that September had very little work to do to cause the kind of damage it usually did. September rushed to the battlefield only to see me already bleeding out, shrugged and sat back to see how things would wrap up for me.
While the lesson to learn here may be one about constant vigilance, about never letting yourself believe things are okay when they’re not, the deeper lesson seems to be about the dangers of letting myself (or anyone else for that matter) feed off their stresses and mental claustrophobia, or train themselves into thinking it’s their natural state of being, the best healthiest approach towards getting on with things.
If it hadn’t been for the bottle-stopper removal that was a week away in Turkey (where property prices are currently lower than the average UK mortgage deposit, incidentally) I think I’d still be running at that heightened state of unnecessary over-awareness and significance, and burn out well before Christmas, before the gaudy songs and cheery lights of that season had a chance to do their usual post-Autumn job of picking me up again.