Seasonally Affective

(Oops, this is my third S. Ok, I owe you a T.)

I don’t do the seasons. The seasons do me.

I’ve had a major case of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) for as long as I can remember. I didn’t always know it was called that, or what it really meant. I believe it was the main reason why I had trouble in school from first grade all the way until I graduated from high school. The time when the school year charged ahead at full speed was the same time of year that I became a walking zombie. Nobody ever put those two things together because it just looked like stress and burnout as the year progressed. I’d start to wake up again in the spring, but by then it was often too late to pull my grades out of the crapper.

I’ve gotten more used to it since then, so I often leave off the “disorder” part when discussing it. I’m still very “affective” though. One of the reasons I started keeping an online journal a few years ago was because the dates are added automatically. My symptoms get far more specific than the simple idea of depressed winters and manic springs.

I don’t exactly celebrate the Wheel of the Year. I’m sort of chained to it. I channel my excess energy into the city, and the land it depends upon, at the usual times. The effort tends to exhaust me for a few days afterward, but it’s a welcome release from the build up. I just completed one of those. Ra was helpful in keeping me from crashing quite as hard as I usually do afterward.

Around Samhain, I’ll probably take a fun little trip to the underworld and say “Hi” to Wesir and Nebt-het. I remember wanting to crack some joke to make the Lady smile, but no words would come out. Such is death, I suppose. You might wonder why I’m mixing temperate climate holidays with an equatorial religion. It’s because I don’t live on the equator. There are times when I wish that I did. I’m already living on the southern border of the country. You couldn’t pay me enough to make me move north again.

Winter is a quiet time. Spiritually, there’s no real active work going on. I might do some quiet meditation, or turn my gaze toward more ethereal aspects and not as much earthly ones. I spend time catching up on my reading. The solstice often passes with not much more than a sigh of relief that I made it through the dark time.

The first scent of spring often shows up in late January or early February. The mustard weeds start to grow in all the lawns. They’re pretty much the only fresh green around. I live in the south, so the weather is already starting to get nicer. My energy gradually starts to ramp up.

As the spring equinox gets closer, I start to sympathize with the old saying “mad as a March hare.” Six years ago, this was the time of year when Ra’s energy overwhelmed me. It would slowly heat up as the sun rose every morning until it became unbearable. These days I still feel it, but it’s not as intense. Maybe I’ve gotten used to it. I can feel the sunrise at any time of year now, but it’s strongest in the spring. (This is probably why my gods named me after the dawn.) I’ve learned to use chi gong, relaxation techniques and music to try to stay at least somewhat grounded. I still have a few bad days where I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin, but I’ve gotten much better at managing it. This is also the “season of brown winds,” as we get a few dust storms. I give Set my regards in between fits of coughing and sneezing and swearing.

It starts to level off about halfway through May. Then it’s smooth sailing all through the summer months. Walking outside in June feels like an oven around here, but I’m used to it. Monsoon season starts around the end of June. You can just round it off and call it Solstice if you want. I greet the return of the Thunderbirds often with dance, or just some hellos shouted into the wind. When I was with Wakinyan, I had a hard time sitting still when the storms rolled through. I took lots of walks while listening to loud music, dodging rain drops, and hoping not to get struck by lightning. During monsoon, there are lots of storm clouds, but they always seem to be raining somewhere else. You can watch it pour across the street and not get a drop yourself. To this day, if I start acting like a pest around the house, my spouse asks if it’s storming somewhere.

This past year I went through a death and renewal cycle at Wep Ronpet in early August. I think last year, I shut down spiritually at that time too. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to get any celebrating done when that happens. In the old days, they’d close up shop and tread carefully on those days of chaos too, so maybe I am doing it right.

Then it’s Fall again. The air feels different. There’s a metallic feel to it that reacts badly with my energy. In September I get irritable, like PMS on a yearly scale. I get itchy and feel like I need to “shed my skin” to feel better. That brings us back full circle. After doing my blessing/blasting of the land I get to relax again. That was just yesterday. Give me a few days to catch my breath, then I’ll be ready to settle in for the dark half of the year.


4 thoughts on “Seasonally Affective

  1. Áine Órga says:

    This is a fascinating article – I don’t think I’ve talked to or read someone who is so severely affected. Living in Ireland, I’m quite far north, and the changing light is pretty dramatic, but I’m lucky that I can enjoy it. I like the sensation of really feeling the year turn.

    • shezep says:

      Yes, it’s pretty rare in someone who lives as far south as I do.

      And I’ve never come across anyone else who does the sunrise thing like I do. I’ve asked around and posted about it in various places. Some people talk about the energies of sunrise. Scientists mention an adrenaline rush first thing in the morning. I’ve even looked into Kundalini burnout. None of those sound like the same thing.

  2. I suffer from SAD but not quite so intense as what you describe, mine is predominantly winter, sept to April at its longest . I suffer from no energy, excess sleep, clogged up thoughts and worse. I learnt over the last few years to manage it better .

    • shezep says:

      Yeah, management and attitude are important. Low energy doesn’t have to mean the same thing as depressed. It means you need to change focus during that time and be more patient with yourself.

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