“It always seems to be spring, with you”
Dad had stopped slicing potatoes for dinner and looked at me, old eyes wary and full of care. We don’t often talk like this – about this – but today it’s inescapable. Sent home from work, nearly to A&E. Out of a job, again. Bedraggled in trousers and a creased blue shirt, work lanyard still hanging from my collar. It had all been going so well.
I’d been thinking the same. Past few years, it’s hit or accelerated in spring.
“Ever since you were 14”
Jesus. I’d not thought back that far.
There’s evidence of seasonal variation in some forms of bipolar, and spring is by far the most common pressure point – possibly because as people emerge from winter depression and into summer (hypo)mania, they enter a dangerous transition phase. Depressed people with furious energy can do themselves a lot of harm.
It’s easy for me to look back and misremember my own episodes to fit the pattern; read my own bad fortune in the papers. 2014 mixed episode was definitely spring, as was 2017, although the depression has extended into summer. 2012 didn’t really hit until the summer. 2008 I was wildly hypomanic in the spring*, thanks to paroxetine – before quitting the drug, levelling out, then crashing spectacularly in the early winter. It’d be great to think there was a tidal regularity to this, but chaos gets into everything.
Being depressed in spring and – especially – in summer is fucking dreadful. I mean being depressed anyway is fucking dreadful but when it’s dark and windy, rainy and fierce outside there’s at least a certain resonance with the environment. Spending days inside covered in crumbs watching Netflix while you wonder how you fucked up so much that even your TV feels the need throw shade (‘are you STILL watching?’ yes I am Netflix and I can do it without the attitude, thanks) – it works so much better with the curtains drawn and rain lashing outside.
I have hated the sun. It’s inescapable light oppressive heat, the sweat and the stick and useless fans of summer, the happy sunbeams that press against my closed eyes at 5am and force me awake. And the bafflement on faces, or pity, ‘such a shame you’re low when it’s such a nice day’, oh fuck off.
When you don’t want to be seen, creeping out the front door in drizzle under grim skies is easy. But the sun picks you out, burns you a black mark on a white world as you scurry in your oversize tee and sweatpants to the nearest store, for a kilogram of ice cream or another packet of fags or beer, trying to ignore the kids and the families and the normal fucking people living normal fucking lives, out enjoying the sun. Glorious day, the weather forecasters say, oh fuck off.
Summer is the friend who insists you’ll be fine if you just get out if you just buck up and maybe you should try just not being depressed for a while. Summer, when you’re depressed, is a fucking prick.
I think this episode is resolving now – hopefully it’s resolving. Maybe it’s only a brief reprieve, or maybe I’m undergoing a bit of a hypo shift (…I do tend to blog more when I’m a bit hypo), but I don’t care for the details. Crying into my hands while the sun shone through closed curtains got old very, very quickly; it’s such a blessing to be able to enjoy a walk in the park
*Probably low level mania. It was hard not to speak in complex rhyme, which I found hilarious.