(Currently listening to the album Threads by Now, Now.)
The cold months excite some to no end, but not all. The holidays, the chill in the air, the possibility of snow and the fresh start of the new year. While I love the symbolic fresh start of the new year, my excitement wears off fairly quickly as I prepare to face seasonal affective disorder head on like clockwork. It’s about as exciting as knowing you’re in for a physical by a new doctor and bracing yourself for a complete strangers finger up your butt (and yes girls that’s actually a thing that happens when you’re a male my age). I’ve gotten better at understanding, acknowledging and preparing for seasonal depression over the years, but it’s still a tricky bitch to contend with. Not to mention that beyond a slight dip in temperature that let’s me wear my year-round wardrobe of all black jeans-boots-shirt-hoodie-jacket-hat combo, I actually hate it being cold. I used to think I just hated this time of year because I was skinny and had no insulation, but no matter how many layers I put on to go outside, it’s still mildly uncomfortable at best. I’ll take a heater, my Carhartt jammies and a warm blanket at home any day.
Then I wondered if it was just my location… Living in Atlanta, Georgia it’s an annual joke how little (if any) snow that we get. It’s usually always a plain uninteresting sort of cold here during the winter months, with just enough warm days mixed in to make sure you stay perfectly on the edge of a runny nose. Disappointment over snow days linger, tempt and then slap you in the face with a full on ice storm. Strange how I actually really appreciate those days, although I suspect it’s because I don’t have to make an excuse to my social circle as to why I’m not to leaving the house.
It was my Senior year of college in 2006 that I actually realized I had seasonal affective disorder. I was surrounded by a multitude of great friends nearing my last 6 months of schooling ever yet I felt like I was totally alone. After a some counseling help to get my sleep schedule and eating back on schedule, I pulled through right as spring was near. It scared the hell out of me though because for the first time in my life I had hit what I unquestionably knew was not just a sadness or laziness, but depression.
Trial and error and knowing the patterns to look for have helped me quite a lot over the years but this year hasn’t been easy. I was prepared for the frigid air, the lack of color on the trees, the inability to hang out on my deck or open windows… I have a stack of amazing video games to play, blu-rays to watch and a folder full of music projects that I’m excited for, but this year… it’s just different. This is not the seasonal affective I am used to. In fact it’s something all together different and it hit me like a ton of bricks this past week. That’s when I realized what it was. It was the culmination of fears becoming reality with the power change of our American presidents. I won’t go in to my level of disappointment for this country right now but it doesn’t feel like home. It almost looks like home, but it’s disgusting, cruel and void of reason.
I got black out drunk two nights in a row this past weekend and sat in my studio weeping while watching the UK Parliament discuss our president’s decision to ban Muslims from entering or re-entering the United States. As British citizens were protesting in their own streets, they spent hours discussing the ideology that America was built on, what that stands for and it resonated across the entire house. They questioned what sort of relationship to continue having with the United States like a boy that just found out his wealthy girlfriend was actually a hooker. All the while they quoted the words on our great Statue of Liberty that welcomes immigrants in with open arms to live a life of freedom. It started slow but then uncontrollably, I sobbed.
My American blood wept. My British blood wept. My human blood wept.
So much for avoiding seasonal depression. While I was worried about the doctor with the stranger finger, another one entered the room with a stranger fist.
I’m fairly good at hibernating by now, but I’m desperately ready for spring.