About fifteen years ago I began experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is basically depression brought on by the lack of sunlight that accompanies Fall and Winter. The first time I felt this depression I was eighteen and it scared the shit out of me. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop crying. I felt numb but everything hurt at the same time. All I ever wanted to do was lay under the covers and be left alone. It’s not so scary anymore because after a day or so of feeling like crap I’m able to identify what’s going on. I’ve been pretty lucky in that I generally manage just fine until we set the clocks back at the end of October and I seem to rebound quite quickly towards the end of December once the days start getting longer again. Some people experience major depressive symptoms well through Winter and into Spring. I’ve also been pretty lucky because it seems that my symptoms are exacerbated by factors that, with some significant shifts in my outlook on life and the choices I make, I have been able to change.
Over the years I’ve experienced some pretty rough times. But, at this point, the way I feel during these months is more like perma-PMS. I’m tired, irritable, and more muuuuuch more sensitive than usual (super super awesome for those around me, right??). I’m definitely not myself, but honestly, it’s a huge improvement over the months I used to spend crying myself to sleep every night because everything just sucked so damn much. This certainly still sucks, but not nearly as bad.
I don’t like not being myself. I hate the fact that other people, namely Tyler, have to put up with me not being myself. I mean, he basically has to deal with a different person for two months out of the year.
And let me just say, he is amazing at it. I’ve always been pretty honest and open about this part of my life, simply because I never want anyone around me to think that my disinterest or grouchiness or sensitivity is their fault. Everyone who loves me always tries to be understanding to the best of their ability and some people try to help. Tyler is the only person who has ever seemed to actually get it in the way that makes things better for me.
Yesterday was a long day. I was frustrated for no good reason at work and felt myself on the verge of tears a few times. By the time I headed home I wasn’t really feeling life. I just wanted to go to bed, but I had been planning a dinner for days that I was really excited about, so I focused on that. When I arrived we put on the music and started pulling everything we needed for dinner out of the fridge and pantry. I quickly realized that I was out of a key ingredient I’d assumed we had because we keep it as a staple in the house. Holy crap you would have thought the sky was falling. Yes, the lack of sesame oil for my bibimbap was the end of the fucking world. I went from cheerful to incredibly sad/incredibly pissed in about ten seconds and never recovered. That’s what this is like, and that’s why I compare it to PMS. I can be just fine one minute and something so silly can cause my mood to take a nose dive. It’s really exhausting, to tell you the truth.
And Tyler, he was just amazing. He didn’t chastise me for being irrational, which I most certainly was. He didn’t get mad at me for being a bitch, which he probably should have. He sat down on the kitchen floor and kept me company while I held back tears. He made sure the dog didn’t get in my way, because nothing can set me off faster if I’m already grouchy than the dog’s nose in everything while I try to cook. He also didn’t offer to go get sesame oil, and I’m glad he didn’t. Because honestly, I was being a nut case and while he certainly wasn’t giving me shit for it, he also didn’t indulge it. This helps me pull my head of out of my ass much faster than if he did. He also gave me smiles and hugs instead of his usual boob grabs and butt pinches, which I typically tolerate (because, LOVE and all that crap), but tend to annoy me. Then he cleaned up all by himself (he’s a big boy!), a post-dinner chore we usually share.
After the dishes were done he asked me what I wanted to do, and responded that I wanted to go lay in bed alone and not talk. Was in part because I just felt exhausted and didn’t want to talk, but also because I didn’t want to drag his evening down any more than I already had, so I figured I’d excuse myself and let him be. He asked if he could come lay next to me and not talk too. The answer was yes, of course. If you’ve ever met my boyfriend you know that sitting still and staying quiet are not things that he does very well. But he does them for me in these moments. It really helps. He also insisted I turn on the light therapy box I have for this time of year which, when I actually remember to use it, really helps as well. It’s amazing how easy it is to not do the simple things I know will make me feel better when I’m in this frame of mind. I mean. It’s pretty fucking easy. Turn on light. Sit in chair (or lay in bed). But when I get this way I don’t even think to use the light. Tyler remembers for me.
I’m generally a strong person. I’m fairly level headed. And I pride myself on being able to see situations from many different perspectives before I react. I’m certainly not someone who lets the lack of a condiment ruin my day. Unless it’s during the months of November or December, that is. I’m also not someone who depends on others too much. And if Tyler reacted to my little moments the way I suspect he often times wants to instead of the way that he actually does, I couldn’t blame him at all. I consider myself so incredibly lucky that he is willing and able give me what I need in these situations. Like he can lay in bed next to me and not talk (or grab boobs), and take awesome selfies when I want to document the tender moment.