What I Want You to Know is a series of
reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their
personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the
unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to
this series,
click here. Today’s guest posts is by Faith.

What I want you to know is that
having SAD is not the same as being sad. I want you to know that having
SAD is not just having a “down” day because of poor weather. I want you
to know that the fact that seasonal affective disorder is seasonal,
does not make it any easier, less consuming, isolating, or frightening
as regular depression.

Each year I dread winter. It’s not just
the cold. I actually really like being able to see the mountains’ bony,
leafless spines, I like snow, and before I had young children I didn’t
mind the cold so much. Each year SAD catches me off guard. I know it is
coming, but each year I convince myself that this is the year I will
conquer it. Each year the process begins before I can identify it. Each
year I think there is something wrong with me. Each year I get to a
place of hopelessness and despair. All despite the fact that it has
proven itself to be temporary.

I want you to know that seeing
yourself become someone else is frightening– even when you’ve been
there before. Each year you are convinced that this change is there to
stay, that these feelings of inadequacy, anger, anxiety, and suffocating
loneliness are now who you are. You start to become convinced that who
you were never really existed, and that who you are now is who you will
always be. You despise yourself.

I want you to know that
“thinking positively” doesn’t work. Because “thinking positively” is not
an option. I want you to know that praying and reading the bible are
not cures for SAD. That God, no matter how much you may believe in and
love him, feels so distant that praying and reading the bible feel
irrelevant.

I want you to know that the Wikipedia description of
SAD does not tell you that you wake up each morning only because you
have to. That life loses meaning and all direction. That your husband
and children feel like strangers, because you are not yourself. That you
are angry. So angry. And you don’t know why.

I want you to know
that I’ve known two people personally who suffered from SAD who took
their lives because of it. I want you to know that you can’t just “snap
out of it” and that though seasonal, it is serious. I want you to know
that I don’t seem depressed because I still know how to smile, talk, and
walk around, like a normal person. When I can’t do those things, I
don’t go out. And even when I can, it doesn’t feel the same. I feel
distant, many times I feel like I am acting a part. Being “normal” feels
unnatural and it can be exhausting even just to make myself go to the
grocery store. My family eats a lot of pizza in the winter.

I
want you to know that when I say I wish humans could hibernate, I am not
being funny. All I want to do is sleep. And disappear. I want you to
know that giving me advice, when you have never been where I am, is not
helpful. If you want to help, listen. Let me be angry. Let me cry. Don’t
try to suppress what I am feeling just because they are not happy
feelings, I do that enough in my efforts to be normal for my children.
Pursue me, and don’t be hurt when I use lame excuses not to hang out.
Keep pursuing me. I want to be me again, I just don’t know how. If I can
be real with you, no matter how depressing “real” is, it helps me feel
human. It helps.

I want you to know that I will be me again. I just don’t always know it.