I wake up every morning with the same sense of stagnant disappointment.
Today, it is a cool, September morning, with wind sweeping through the branches of the trees and cars passing by on the busy street by which my childhood home resides. I have always loved the fall, the cooling weather, the promise of exciting things like apple picking, falling leaves, Halloween. Last autumn, I was struggling a lot with my work life and my depression, but I travelled. I had a Halloween to remember. A boyfriend whose hand I could hold. Friends I adored. Small joys, but they were joys nonetheless.
This morning, as my world shifts from a groggy humid summer to a crisp, chilly fall, I find it harder and harder to get a grasp on joys like those. It’s not that good things don’t happen in my life, but that the feeling of happiness is fainter, harder to wrap my fingers around. Things matter less to me than they used to. I have always felt shifts in energy, or mood, during the change in seasons. The feelings are as real as the change in temperature. Over the course of my young life, I have come to realize something in regards to fall:
Fall is the loneliest season.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t think I’m alone. The fading summer heat and impending winter cold are our true downfall, in the end. That burning desire to have someone I love to hold close during those cold winter nights, it sears a hole in my heart that is sometimes hard to fill. “The one you love” after all, can’t be just anyone. It has to be “the one.” And I’m not sure that person exists.
They call it cuffing season for a reason, I suppose.
So much has changed over the last year of my life. Looking back to last fall, I was struggling to find happiness then too, and I found some over the winter, but it fell through my hands again. I’ve philosophized far too much to believe in any kind of objective “meaning” to life, but to live so haplessly is difficult. I yearn for a reason to keep going, one worth fighting for. One I care about. I’m in school, but for what? What do I ever expect to do with my life?
I wish I knew. I wish I knew anything about who I’m shaping up to be. I fill empty, sad, moments with fleeting, sometimes fun things, but half the time it never really helps, and when I lie in bed to go to sleep, I question everything again. The things that used to make me happy just… don’t, anymore. I have a desire to do something new and exciting with my life, but I can’t imagine what sort of thing that could be. What kind of thing wouldn’t start to bore me within mere months, if not weeks.
Fall is my favorite time of year, so I have some vague faith that I will find a way to fill this season with activities and moments that make me happy, whatever that means. I’m starting on yet another medication to try and regulate my depression/anxiety. It’s hard to imagine a future that doesn’t repeat the same old unsatisfying, existentially meaningless day-to-day, but I can dream. I can believe. Or well, I can try to.
When I was little, fall was always a season of new school years, new beginnings. My tiny self, all dressed up for my first day of school wishing desperately for each year to end up better than the last, even when they never did. I try to maintain that same wide-eyed optimism today, but it’s hard as I get older and start to see the same mediocre autumns playing over and over in my life. I’m not old by any means, but I feel ancient. My bones hurt, my muscles hurt, my joints hurt. My thoughts are dark and dismal. My overall health is the picture next to “unwell” in the dictionary. I’m not sick, no. I’m certainly not dying. But I’m unwell, and I feel like I’ve been unwell for so damn long.
Going forward, I need to try to figure out how to start feeling joy again. Meds may help. Good company often does. My journey this fall semester will be one I remember, for better or for worse, and I desperately hope that by the time 2019 and my 21st birthday roll around, I’ll be a little bit better off. Maybe happier. Maybe more sure of myself.
Maybe not, but only time will tell.