For most of my adult life, I’ve loathed Winter, or even the coming of it. Once the Equinox is passed, usually September 21st or so, I quickly start to feel the increase of darkness with each passing day. Couple that with some degree of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and there’s the recipe for an emotional shitstorm nobody understands unless they share this wonderful malady.
Oddly enough, all of this shows up in me most often as anxiety rather than depression. Well, of course, nothing is simple with me. Turns out, my particular version is actually called Seasonal Panic Disorder, which while less common is still nonetheless well documented.
From my behind-the-eyeballs experience, and from what I’ve read, the purely SAD variant tends to be challenged with depression during the winter and often has bouts of anxiety in the summer. Seasonal Panic Disorder dishes up average plates of anxiety in the sunnier months, and a generous helping of anxiety at other times.
It’s difficult to relate the feelings of anxiety, and yes sheer panic, that can accompany the daily setting of the sun, as it starts dimming by mid-afternoon. Compare it to feelings of fear, and you’ll begin to understand.
So, in December, the yearnings of a sun worshipper, such as I, include an intense focus on December 21, the Winter Solstice. It’s the known bottom of the dark emotional hole, not just the terminus of the seemingly ever-expanding darkness.
One day, getting up on December 22, can make a difference. The average “normal” person will find the change imperceptible. For me it’s like seeing a rescue boat on the horizon, as a gasp for one more breath of air and struggle to stay afloat long enough . . . .