My Annual Seasonal Affective Disorder Has Arrived. Here’s What That Means.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 0.603% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

“I was worried when you sent me pictures of the flowers blooming,” Fox said. Which is, apparently, my cue: when spring arrives and the daffodils burst into glorious life, my Seasonal Affective Disorder uncurls.

Which means that I am now battling my annual depression. Yes, it is inverted; most people have theirs in the winter. But I am a creature of the night, and “more sunlight” means “massive self-loathing.” And for the next month, I will be fighting horrific suicidal ideations.

For me, SAD starts lightly – just random sadnesses so intense that I have to restrain the urge to burst into tears. I’ll be walking along, everything fine, and then any happiness I have is abruptly crushed.

As the weeks go by, that intensifies into a weird aftereffect – the moment anyone leaves my sight, I become convinced that I am an anchor around their neck. They don’t really want to hear from me, I contribute nothing to their life, and in fact they would probably be better off if I left them. That’s when the suicidal ideation starts. (And, in fact, my two serious suicide attempts were both during my SAD.)

So I’ll be a little slow in answering queries, and prone to withdrawing. I’m terrified to talk to anyone, because I’m convinced this is the moment they will tell me that I’m correct and my entire existence is a burden to them. Or, alternatively, that they are actually okay with me and that the next thing I say will shatter that fragile tolerance.

I’ll be all right. I’m on extra doses of my medications in preparation for this, and my wife is watching me carefully. And if experience is any marker, it’ll be over by mid-to-late May – just in time for my novel to drop!

But if you want to help:

1) Understand that my often sporadic communication will be even more sporadic.
2) Text me/DM me over the next few weeks to tell me you’re thinking of me – pictures of faces help. (But as per #1, realize I may not be in a space to reply properly.)

I don’t like discussing this, truthfully. But this is life with a fairly impactful mental illness. And I think I owe it to people to be honest about what that entails.

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous Alex
    Apr 16, 2019

    Thank you again for being upfront about this issue, difficult as it may be for you to discuss. Please (as best you can) ignore your brain. I’ll still be here after this blows over (as, I’m sure, will be those close to you), and I will be wishing you well in the meantime.

    -Alex

  2. JMFargo
    Apr 16, 2019

    I appreciate the honesty and openness even though it’s difficult – and I appreciate that you’re open about it being difficult. It’s good to know what you’re going through and what helps.

    Thank you for working through it as best you can.

    Good luck.

  3. Paul N
    Apr 17, 2019

    I hope you get through the season okay. I hope for your wellbeing every year.

  4. tlethbridge
    Apr 18, 2019

    As someone who does not know you at all, but appreciates your blog for your humor and insight and your books for their ability to capture me and help me endure being trapped on an airplane, I am wishing you all the best as you get through this spring. You are a genuine net positive in my life, and I am sure, in the lives of thousands of other complete strangers. I can only imagine that to know you better is to reap those benefits more completely, so hang in there and continue being amazing.

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