• Trina

    You hit the nail on the head with this one Heather. Here I thought I was the only one going through the September BLAHS.

    By the time March rolls around I just want to go away, get out of my skin, get some sun.

    Thank goodness for vitamin D and meds!!! :-)

  • Meaghan H

    Once again you have put into words the subtle feeling of quiet terror that inches it’s way in from time to time. But, I’ve leaned that it fades.
    Four years ago, in March, I finally went to counseling because I could no longer handle being what I called a ‘protectionist who procrastinates’. It was so much more, and yet nothing I could put into to words – no thing was wrong, but it was all spiraling out.

    That March, reading your blog I finally found the words, but more importantly, I found the courage to finally seek help.

    Thank you. Here comes October.

  • Garden Gnome Arts

    I’m going to pass this onto a friend, I think it will help her to feel a little less alone today.

    Always lovely to read your blog Heather:]

    -Camille
    GGA

  • writtendad

    I first saw your tweet about this earlier this month (or late in August?) and, assuming it related to everyone, I made a point of stopping by the cubicle of someone at work on a daily basis. We’ve never been especially close, but he seemed to be floundering a bit so, with your tweet in the back of my mind, I sat in his cube each morning to chat and see how he was. Turns our he has been struggling with anxiety, depression, divorce, and quitting smoking all at the same time. That all came out over the course of my visits and two days ago he pulled me aside and thanked me for talking to him, for listening to his problems, and for taking the time out of my day. He said it really helped. Maybe he would have been fine without me stopping by, maybe September had no impact on his mood, but your tweet made me do it and he thanked me for it, so I thought I should share that here.

    Thank you from him to me and thank you from me to you.

  • Robyn L

    Cymbalta is my best friend. This is the first September I’ve had without feelings of deep despair.

    And keep running. Even if you’re still sad, you’ll feel like you have a purpose each day with a measurable accomplishment. xo

  • ellapritch

    Hi Heather, thank you for sharing because I think there’s such a stigma surrounding depression, and seeing such a successful, beautiful, funny woman being 100% honest about her struggles and not being ashamed to take medication or do whatever is necessary to feel okay is refreshing, and could possibly save a life. (helloooo run-on sentence, oops). My husband committed suicide six years ago. He was too proud and stubborn to seek out help and thought he should be strong enough to ‘fix’ himself. Such a shame, so sad, not how things should’ve turned out at all. As I read in a book shortly after his death…”suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” So true.
    Hang in there, girlfriend. This is my very first time responding. I promise subsequent replies won’t be so heavy!

  • Pandora Has A Box

    It’s so helpful, in managing depression, to get a handle on how seasons affect us. Autumn has never been an issue for me; it’s my favorite time of the year, hands down. But spring? My god. “April is the cruelest month” indeed.

    Also, thank you for making it clear that one can do every thing “right” (therapy, exercise, diet, meditation, banging bongos naked in your back yard) and still…and still…and still…be depressed and need medication. The only reason I’m alive today is because I did everything “right” and then got onto medication. When the brain chemistry turns on a dime, nothing else will help.

    Thank you, thank you.

  • Jeni

    Just wanted to throw my hat in the ring and thank you for putting in to words so perfectly what this effing depression feels like. And of course, for helping us feel not so alone. xo

  • Mr Seitz

    Could you possibly be a member of the those of us that suffer from S.A.D.? Seasonal Affect Disorder. I know it sounds like a made up illness. I am from Michigan, and feel it come on about this time of year myself. To the degree that you describe, well, no. I am just reminded that I hate winter, when Autumn arrives. Kind of takes from the joy of Autumn. I really like the seasonal change from summer to Autumn. But you can have winter. Dark all of the fucking time. Cold, shitty sloppy weather. I have found that a trip out of state, to someplace warm and sunny helps. If that’s not in the cards, lot’s of light, and brighter colors in your home will help too. Even a trip to a nice hotel, with your spouse, to enjoy the Jacuzzi. (Better yet, if you have the means, a Jacuzzi, right in the back of the house might be a better option!) Nothing like slipping into a 103 degree bubbling caldron, and out again in the freezing weather, to dive into your warm home, laughing and enjoying an adult beverage in a big warm towel to shake off the winter blues. Just knowing you can do that over and over again as you wish, must help. Truth is, as we all get older, winter really does blow. Sunshine is essential in the health of ones mind. Feeling it on your skin, covering your eyes when it’s so bright, is all part of the human condition. We like the sun. We like to be warm. It’s why we migrate south..

  • varway

    I feel very lucky not having this happen to me, but I wonder and have to ask….does this have to do with where you live? Is it related to weather? Does this affect people who live in cold, wintery, snowy places more than it does people who live in more temperate areas?

    Seems to me (putting on my amateur psychologist hat) that this might be more related to coming in and out of winter (harsh winters, with lots of snow and cold) than we might think.

    Oh, and full disclosure, I live in San Antonio, a place with very little harsh winter activity.

  • kelmochel

    I do not suffer from depression, but I have loved ones that do. And now -gulp- I am a mother. I have two girls. The 21mo old has been a CRABASS for 3 days straight. We live way up in the mtns in CO, and all us local mamas keep talking about how the seasons changing are affecting our kids, but this post takes that understanding to a new level. The more I can learn about how different people (kids included) are influenced by seasons changing, the better. Many thanks, and take care. All of us high country peeps will find solace in bitching about the copious amounts of snow soon enough (and we’ll love it – we wouldn’t keep living here if we didn’t).

  • iwasawriter

    OMG. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you mentioned this. I had no idea, and for about 2 weeks now I’ve been wondering just what the hell the problem is. I’ve always been able to make the February/March connection, but this makes so much sense too! After three years of reading and never leaving a single comment, I went through all the registration just to tell you that you helped me today. Thank you!

  • aunty_del

    Thank you!

    I’ve had that irritable, dissatisfied with everything & nothing, blah feeling in spring for years, so regularly that my ex-partner called it September-itis (I’m in Australia). Now that I know I’ve probably had mild depression for years it was probably worse at that time of year; even now that I’m on antidepressants it’s a bit worse.

    Have even sent this link to my ex, with a Eureka! note.

  • mrscunning14

    Many warm, loving hugs to you. Hang in there.

  • 2bdboys

    My Dad committed suicide in March 1979…i never knew that little statistic either. I doubt it would have been easier to know that all my life, but wish that he had known it was going to get better if he just made it around that corner…

  • Karyn

    it’s like you’re in my head. thanks so much to you and to your commenters for helping me feel a little less alone and crazy.

    http://karyninny.com/2011/10/03/empty/

  • swilliams38

    This is just what I needed. Thank you.

  • Crazy Card Lady

    Yep I hear you Heather! Love the choking feeling I get out of the blue sometimes. Damn Cosmos!

  • Bonnierh

    Heather, this post inspired me enough to get me over my writers block. I hope this its ok to do this and I gave you credit! http://twentysomethingfails.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/moments-of-weakness/
    p.s. I love you and your family and have followed this blog for years! You are an inspiration in so many different ways :-)

  • Jenny Hatch

    Heather,

    Cyclical Depression is also related to Trauma.

    I was gang raped in 1989 and had no memory of it for twelve years. All we knew is that every April I would have a mini meltdown accompanied by tons of emotional distress, including depression and panic.

    As each year clicked by I became more and more agitated the closer I came to remembering the assault.

    A whole Cottage Industry has been instituted around the notion of False Memory Syndrome, and frankly I did not believe in repressed trauma all during my twenties.

    When my brother died in 2001, it triggered my memories to begin coming into my concious mind. As I have healed these past ten years from the Gang Rape as well as Family Pattern Sexual Abuse, I have learned that the year anniversaries of traumas are key healing times. Five, ten, fifteen, and twenty year anniversaries are also big memory triggers.

    But perhaps the greatest triggers have occured when my children have reached certain ages. My son Ben who is almost nine has provided the most profound healing opportunities. As he reached certain key ages starting when he was eight months old, my body and mind would recreate certain scenarios and attempt to reconcile the trauma. I dreamed so much during this time, and my dreams were always helpful in pointing me in the right direction as to where healing was to be found.

    I pray as you move through whatever cyclical pattern is happening in your mind, that you can make it safely through to the other side.

    God Bless!

    Jenny Hatch

  • thebutlerdidit

    Because as much as a person with depression is sad, we are the same measure of angry that we can’t just stop feeling this way.

    This speaks such volumes to me. That I am not the only one going through this at this time of the year! It also seems for me, a lot of depressing things have happened between these months. Divorce, death, economy crashes, ect. Those things just intensifies it all. There are years I relive the events because of the weather.

    Thank you for being able to put my feelings into words to express myself and to let those of us know we are not alone. It is hard for me to do even that right now. When I do find the words I feel it doesn’t matter how I say it, others around me who don’t live it, just simply wont get it!

  • irritableblogsyndrome

    Thank you so much for sharing that piece of information about suicide rates being higher in March and September. I lived in WA for 12 years (recently moved to Vegas thank goodness) and September was so painfully hard for me because I new it was the beginning of nine long months of constant rain and no sunshine. March is right around the time of year I would start to lose it because of being the dark and rain for so long. We started to schedule trips to CA during that month so I could cope. Thank you again for being so candid in sharing your ongoing battle with depression.

  • colagrl

    After waiting for a long time to find the right thing to say – this post pulled at my heart the other day. My father died from depression 16 years ago (which is longer then eternity every passing year). He had a sun light and he took meds but one day he just couldn’t go on. I know how the fall seasons just dragged him down. Christmas was just so depressing because he didn’t want to get up out of bed.

    And though I don’t suffer from depression – not being able to see the sun, feel the warmth on my arms, my face… and in my heart; it brings me down too (remind me again why I allowed my husband to move us to Denver??). I know it will get better – as you do too, it just seems like forever sometimes and then I’ll bask in the warmth of my Jeep in the Spring.

    Maybe this was why I had that crazy notion to buy a Jeep after all these years! Maybe my dad should have gone one too! I enjoyed the summer so much this year driving with a soft top on the Jeep (next year – NO TOP on the JEEP!) with the wind in my hair, the sun on my arms and the music loud. Really loud. My own natural sunlight on wheels…

    How many days till Spring??

  • bellamaxjoy

    I am currently being treated for depression, after many years of treating symptoms. And it is unreal how I feel here in Pittsburgh when the weather starts changing, I am already getting sad and weepy. Add that to trying to recover from an affair after 26 happy years married, and my head is ready to explode, with anxiety too…….gonna be a long winter.

  • juliemewood

    Sorry you’re feeling this way Heather! That’s got to so difficult to deal with! I’m glad you tweeted what you did about it though because for a few days a few weeks ago, I was feeling down. I had no real reason to feel down but your tweet helped me understand it a little more.

    Good luck! Much love!

  • Heather B.

    I’ve been having similar feelings though I cannot articulate them as well as you do here. It’s even more difficult being late or just blah in the office where people keep telling me to ‘cheer up’ or wonder why I sit with the door closed. It’s because I’m sad and I cannot help being sad. My brain just likes to do this to itself and hopefully I’ll get through it.

    (I will say at the beginning of the month I was so fucking done with it all but now things are better but not great)

    (basically, I’m right there with you)

  • skoenig1706

    Heather, i can’t tell you how much this post helped me. i’ve never tracked it by month (the september and may thing), but it seems to fit. i’ve definitely hit it again this month – that feeling of the world falling apart around you, and you can’t figure out why you feel that way. and choking back sobs more consistently than you’d like to admit.
    your book and your blog have been some of the best therapy i’ve ever had. knowing that i’m not alone with my struggles in depression and with not always loving motherhood makes the world of difference. so thank you for being so open!
    Sarah

  • cameron_barrett

    So THAT’S what’s been going on! And here I was, thinking it was just the Red Sox implosion.

  • lindzerlou14

    Interesting.

    After I was diagnosed with manic depression, I pulled out my old journals, which I’ve kept for about twelve years. I read that every September, I get the same way: my mood changes, I’m sick of the daylight, ready to cocoon in winter.

    I also get the same migraine headache every year, usually within the same three days. (Got it on Tuesday, right on schedule.)

    Just wanted to say you’re not alone in your September blues, even though autumn is my favorite time of year.

    It’s amazing how our bodies can remember, even when we don’t.

  • mybottlesup

    sigh. i’m sorry you are going through this right now. typically i loathe septembers both for the reasons you mention and because my family has suffered great tragedies during that particular month.
    for some strange reason, (maybe it’s the pregnancy) this has been a good september though. i’d even say it’s been a strong september. considering i haven’t been able to honestly say that since i was 11 years old, i’m counting it as a victory. i still feel the heaviness though, and i know exactly what it is.
    i get it. and i’m keeping you in my thoughts and sending you some east coast sunshine with extra vitamin d.
    you’re not alone, either… in case you forgot. i’m always grateful when you remind me of that.

  • taylor

    this must be the reason i asked my doctor to up my meds last week. i’m thinking of replacing all light bulbs in my house with full spectrum light bulbs…this way it is always sunny at my house.

  • Carol Shwanda

    I am so sorry to hear that you are feeling sad, but I am very happy and proud that you have the courage to talk about it. You are an inspiration to all and your writing is beautiful. I hope you feel better soon. If not, take a vacation in a warm, tropical place. I know people who suffer from depression and that has really helped them. Cheers and much love, Carol.

  • radiantlisa

    I’m right there with you, sister, waiting for my new light box to arrive.

  • iampinkdog

    Hearts and Hugs, Heather. Hang in there…

  • Barstool Babe

    I used to go into a deep depressive episode every May. Then last September I got so bad (even with my meds) that I actually asked my doctor for sleeping pills because “I just want to go to sleep forever.” Needless to say I didn’t get the pills but did have several appointments during the month with both her and my therapist to pull me through the crisis. Now I have to watch out during both May and September.

    Thanks for the information. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one going through this cyclic process.

  • xmyrin

    Because as much as a person with depression is sad, we are the same measure of angry that we can’t just stop feeling this way.

    I don’t think anyone has described how I feel about depression so accurately. This is exactly it for me.

  • waitimaprincess

    I’ve never thought to look at the time of year. I always hear about Mercury being in retrograde affecting moods, but I’ve never bothered to find out what it actually means. I’m so used to wallowing, so used to being inexplicably sad, my husband has occassionally commented that no matter what he does to make me happy I don’t know HOW to be happy. But it IS particularly worse at this time of year. I also know that the whole loss of suns fucks w/my mind b/c I hate being cold. I will say this though, which I’ve told no one else (and feel wholly free to distribute it to you, Internet people), is that I’ve finally asked for…medicinal assistance. There, I said it.

  • dooce

    @waitimaprincess that is so brave of you. Thank you for sharing that.

  • librarianjess

    Echoing everybody else in saying: thanks for this. I have both going on right now — depression + a bad, heartbreaking breakup. The fear that This Despair Is Going To Last Forever is overwhelming some days, particularly when suddenly there is no one’s beloved hand to hold.

    Goddamnit, now I’m crying again, hold on.

    Anyway — thanks. And also, you hang in there too. We’re all here for you.

  • lori.ann.mcvay

    THANK YOU! Geeeze! I could not figure out why the heck I have been feeling so ridiculously awful (not to mention having an unarticulated need to devour every sugar-laden, chocolatey goodness in the world). In spite of meds, the weather wins. Awwww crap! At least I know what it is now!

  • reJoyce

    Thanks for a beautiful, wonderful, accurate post. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I think the struggle between knowing that “nothing is wrong” and the anger that you can’t stop yourself from feeling so sad is constant. My psychologist used to ask me, “Would you be happier if you were hospitalized with a broken leg?” And the answer was a resounding “yes!”

    You’ve worded the struggle between sadness, knowledge, and anger better than I ever could and I appreciate that, because it will help me share how I feel with those I love most.

  • SerenityNOW

    I have similar feelings around this time and I have only just come to the conclusion that it’s my brain thinking it’s time to get all anxious again because school is starting. I was an anxious kid and September brought lots of change! that I didn’t like! Even the smell of school bus exhaust brings me right back to those days.
    I also hate the feelings of guilt that accompany the depression. I have a great life! People who love me! How dare I feel “blue!”
    You described what many of us cannot. Thank you.

  • Mindy Lee

    Thank you for sharing that. A light bulb just went off in my head. All of these years I’ve never understood why I always get so sad. I LOVE fall. I love the upcoming holidays and the big meals and the time to be with my family and friends. And big steamy cups of soup. I blame the change in seasons in my desire to cocoon, be alone, and be quiet. When really?

    It’s just depression.

  • crivens

    Oh thank god. I just spent the last week and a half desperately obsessed with the band Tokio Hotel FOR NO REASON (well, other than that they’re fairly attractive and their music doesn’t completely suck). Now I know that although I am clearly still insane, at least there is a scientific explanation.

  • RyantheGirl

    Really glad to have read this post… the weather really messes with me every year, but sometimes I’m too busy to notice that that’s what the problem (at least in part) is. Sending the link to this post to my SO… :)

  • norwego

    I’ve been feeling bummed out for a few weeks now, and turning it into anger at people I’m not normally angry with. I’m not diagnosed with depression, though being even only slightly self-aware, I know I have mood-swings that aren’t the same as most people I know. I didn’t think about it being seasonal. I figured people were just being thoughtless or mean, or I was being thoughtless or mean, and it was a natural reaction to that.

    hmm.

  • Stormwhisper

    I always associated September mood changes with school starting, but now that I’m not in school and it persists, that explains so much. It wasn’t something that I gave much thought to, but now that I look back, it all makes perfect sense.

    It certainly explains why my depression and anxiety have been going haywire over the past few weeks.

  • Ruffian

    My decent into depression starts in the fall too. My mom passed away on December 14, 1984 ( I was 14 years old). I cannot deal with the months leading into fall and winter. No matter what I do, I cannot stop the cycle. I’ve done everything. I even moved to Florida because I thought the sunshine would help. Not really. It must be an internal clock deep inside my head that triggers this unshakeable grief.

  • Plano Mom

    Way to go, @waitimaprincess. For me, off and on, for many, many years. Don’t be afraid to say something if the med isn’t working for you. There are several options, and as Heather and others have pointed out, different meds for different brains.

    Heather, you and Jon have helped me more than you’ll ever know.

  • solaana

    Holy crap. You seriously just kind of blew my mind here. March for me has always been the worst month of the year – I lived in Chicago for a decade and by that point in the year I’m a wreck, even after I started taking medication. I’m hoping the birth of my brother’s kid will make it suck less, because really, as it stands now, March and February can go straight to hell. This year though, or this month, has been rough. It doesn’t help that I moved to a place where the only people I know are related to me (which is fine, but that’s exactly 4 people and they have their own lives), also that I just fell off a freaking treadmill and hurt my ankle so I can’t run and generate…serotonin, is it? also Pottermore won’t load for me so I can’t even make a simple potion (this is the most upsetting one in this list of white whines), and oh I have no job – I’ve been a crazy ass wreck, and my parents (oh, with whom I’ve been living) were getting worried. So that’s nice to know, that it’s kind of a seasonal thing and not really my fault at all.