October is My Nemesis: Depression and Daylight

Sunrise in winter

October is my nemesis

My worst crashes and crises begin in October. My insightful husband pointed this out a few years ago. I reviewed my history and realized he was right. I’m stubborn, so I tried hard to prove him wrong going forward. But I didn’t succeed.

Even this year, while I am feeling better than I have in over a decade, October hit me hard. Some of those old feelings resurfaced and I felt down and discouraged much of the time. It is frustrating, but it also got me thinking a lot about light.

Darkness, Depression, and Daylight

When my husband first pointed out that October was a rough patch every year, I brought it up to my therapist. He said he has found that to be the case with many of his clients with bipolar disorder. He talked to me about the changing seasons and the decreasing daylight and referred me to this site, which is full of all sorts of fantastic info on both bipolar and the implications of daylight and darkness on the brain.

I feel a dramatic shift in both my mood and my energy levels as the days shorten and winter approaches, much like seasonal affective disorder. That is depressing in and of itself because Fall was always my favorite season, but there are a few ways in which I can fight back and still enjoy the things I love about autumn.

The Beauty of Cycles

The blessing in discovering patterns and triggers with bipolar and depression, is that it defines a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, October is yucky and winter in general is hard, but I can count down the days to December 21st–Winter Solstice. From that day on I know that we gain a few more minutes of daylight each day. From one day to the next, the change is imperceptible, but all of those little minutes add up until long, sunny days are here again. Knowing that is enough to help me keep holding on through the dark of winter.

Be A Light

Additionally, I can find ways to put my own light into the world. I can resist the urge to withdraw and isolate. For me, human connection appears to be one of the greatest anti-depressants. I try to make time to laugh with family and friends, as well as to serve others both near and far. These are ways that I can create light in my own sphere completely independent from the change in seasons.

As I was struggling to work through the darkness of this October, I put Riser, by Dierks Bently, on repeat on my playlist:

I’m a riser
I’m a get up off the ground, don’t run and hider
When pushin’ comes to shovin’, hey I’m a fighter
When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter
A get out aliver of the fire

When I wanted to crawl under my covers and cry, instead I belted out those words and told myself that I am all of those things.

And you know what?

I am. So, October’s darkness can come every year and it’s okay. I don’t have to be afraid, or defeated. I am a lighter.

The Light of the World

Lastly, I put my trust in the One whose light will never be dimmed. And He can help me through every October and every winter, no matter how dark things get. His light can overcome all darkness no matter how black. I just need to stay close to Him to have the influence of His light in my life.

This Christmas season is a perfect time to remember the Light of the World by participating in the #LightTheWorld campaign, with details found here. Nothing brings light into my life like serving others.