Because of my bipolar depression, I’m careful to note changes to and patterns in my mental state. This past November was rough, despite the fact that autumn and Thanksgiving are some of my favorite times of the year. I love autumn. Its cooling temperatures are a relief after a baking hot summer. It heralds the start of school, and even though I’m not a student, it still fills me with optimism for the upcoming year, and feeds my hungry need to keep learning new things.
No, it’s February that’s supposed to be my worst month.
I first realized this when I was in college, even before I knew I was bipolar. Like any good liberated woman on campus, I listened to my fair share of chick music; Ani DeFranco, Dar Williams, Indigo Girls, etc. I was only a few steps away from dreadlocks and patchouli. Fortunately, I liked washing my hair and smelling like flowers, albeit chemical flower odors manufactured by brand-name shampoos. Don’t judge; this was before I knew about Aveda.
Anyhow, my senior year in college was marred by a rough February. The thing is, nothing was really going wrong. I was getting straight A’s in school. I had an awesome group of friends. I had a loving boyfriend who would later become my husband. I had a part-time job in student leadership that was fulfilling enough that it would command a place on my resume for the next five years. Everything was going right.
So why was I so depressed? I wondered.
Walking to and from class and work, I’d listend to *OLD LADY ALERT* mixed-cd’s on my brand-new discman. Every time this particular song came on I’d cry. Despite the tears, I always seemed to listen to this song rather than skip it over. I think, in a way, it was cathartic.
From “February” by Dar Williams:
First we forgot where wed planted those bulbs last year,
Then we forgot that wed planted at all,
Then we forgot what plants are altogether,
And I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and
The nights were long and cold and scary,
Can we live through february?
You know I think christmas was a long red glare,
Shot up like a warning, we gave presents without cards,
And then the snow,
And then the snow came, we were always out shoveling,
And we’d drop to sleep exhausted,
Then we’d wake up, and it’s snowing.
So... that's it. February is here, and I'm on alert. So far I'm doing ok. I have a lot of anxiety about something that I can't discuss here right now. The anxiety is bad, and I'm fighting to keep it at bay, lest it render me utterly catatonic. But it's entirely situational and as time passes and life events unfold, it will hopefully ease up.
Until then, I'll continue plowing through February, one day at a time.