I hate winter. It’s bleak. It’s gray. It’s miserable.
The last couple of days, I’ve been mentally formulating my next post. I had plenty of ideas and my life is a fruit cocktail of content, but I just didn’t know where to go with the thoughts. I even have a post that I started, stopped and now I can’t remember where the point I was trying to make. But then, today, I saw God at work. No, really. Just hear me out.
In general, my mental state is very, well, wintery. As someone who suffers from diagnosed seasonal affect disorder, the winter months carry much more than a few inches of snow and some colder temperatures. It’s like my brain frosts over.
It’s not just “I’m cold. I hate being cold.” It’s like “Why do I even live if six months of every year is spent in sheer agony?” I get really sad. I get agitated. I sometimes get angry. I sleep a lot. I become very introverted. Basically, I want to hibernate.
And don’t get me wrong, I’ve done ALL THE THINGS. The vitamin D, exercise, light therapy, getting outside for the sake of getting fresh air. I take my regular medication. I try to get some place warm and sunny once a winter. I put things on my calendar to look forward to. I’ve seen therapists year-round who pump me up and get me ready for winter. And I FEEL ready to tackle the winter. But it doesn’t seem to matter, by this time of year, nothing helps.
This year I’ve filled my calendar with lots of events. A family water park trip, a bridal shower, a cruise, little parties with friends here and there. I even have a new job taking up a lot of the time that was spent wondering why I choose to live in a place that doesn’t get sun for weeks on end.
Saturday I disappointed myself. I have lists and lists of things to do (some have tos, some want tos), and instead I spent most of the day in bed doing none of them. Sunday I was able to force myself up, to get dressed and to try and function like an adult, but two panic attacks and actual tears made going out to dinner almost painful.
I question why I live here. Why do I put myself through this each and every year? My family is here, that’s the only reason. I’d be happy to start over in a place where the weather is a lot friendlier, but unless they moved with me, I wouldn’t survive that either.
Plus we just bought a house here, so there’s that.
As I was driving to work today, which also happens to be my birthday, I saw God at work. Actual God.
I was driving along thinking about how much of a kick in the pants it is to have a January birthday. Sometimes it snows. Sometimes it rains. It’s usually cold. It’s gray. People get sick. We’ve just celebrated Christmas so I’m not always ready to jump into my birthday. I wish it were in June so that I had that in the summer when I’d actually want to do some real celebrating.
But right as I was thinking that, I got a text from a friend.
Then, after that, another.
This went on almost all day. Oh my gosh. I know why I have a birthday in the worst part of the year! I saw it right there.
I literally want to crawl in a hole. Whether it was my birthday or not, I’d want to crawl into a hole. But it is my birthday. So I’m getting all these texts and Facebook messages from people who care. They aren’t the family members that are obligated to wish me a happy birthday, but they are people from around the country who took 3 minutes out of their day to sign a card, or send a text or post a message (even if Facebook told them to). My birthday is here so that I get to feel that love from those people in the middle of a time that makes me so sad it actually pushes through my mood stabilizers and makes me cry.
If my birthday were in June, July or any other “happy” month, I’d be left with dull January. Not a message of love, care or celebration. Just flat, old, cold, snowy January.
I’d like to say that my negative thoughts went away right then and there, but they are hanging around a bit. This just reminded me that there are reasons for everything, including a crappy winter birthday.