December stresses me out. It consists of short days and long lists: things to buy, things to clean, much to organize, parties to attend, and expectations that can't possibly all be met much less identified. It also means doctor appointments as the last of the year's medical benefits must be used up or lost forever.
I had a mammogram, got my eyes checked, and had an appointment with my regular physician. She's a lovely woman and, funny as it might sound, I always like seeing her. This time, when she asked me how I was doing, I said, "Stresssed," breaking into tears.
She suggested that I might be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). She told me to get a bright lamp, regular exercise and sleep, and increase my intake of Vitamin D, and Omega 3 fatty acids. All of these helped but when December 26th finally rolled around, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Christmas was over and it all went just fine regardless of any amount of handwringing on my part.
The last week of December felt like a lazy vacation. No stress at work, no stress at home. The freezer was full of food and I didn't even need to cook or go to the grocery store. The house was already cleaned and all the house guests had gone home. Nothing to do but relax, and read a good book.
January means the beginning of tax season (officially, it begins January 23rd) but that's a different kind of stress, and not necessarily a bad one (until, maybe, April). There's a hopefulness about saying goodbye to one year and looking forward to another. Anything can happen. Some of it might be good. Gatherings with friends are filled with more anticipation than expectation. The sun will come up tomorrow, as they say. I'm here by my window waiting.
Now that I've put a name on it (SAD), I feel like I can let it go. I already feel better and when next holiday season year rolls around I'm better prepared to head off the depression. Next time, I hope to greet my doctor with smiles instead of tears but that's not the worst way a year can end. At least it's better than the year I ended up in the Emergency Room because I was full of shit.
True story. But that one's too depressing.