Ever since I can remember the month of October has put me a specific mood. The mood is not quite depressed, but also not quite content. The month of October is a time of transitions, of buckling down. When I was in school it was the month of midterms, the month of make or break. As a grown-up, it is a month of setting budgets and goals. It is a month of commitments made and broken. Generally speaking, October is a time to be capital "S" - Serious.
Sometime early in college I started calling it my "October funk". It is a month of minor keys and Friday nights at home. This year feels a little different simply because I have been living in an October funk since July. It's hard to differentiate the seasons when everything feels like winter.
This has been, without a doubt, the hardest and worst year of my life for understandable reasons. There has not been a lot to feel like getting out of bed for, other than habit and a desire to not give up. I am ready to put 2016 on ice, as are most of us. There is still a balance in the world, as I have been able to see a few of my oldest friends start their lives with the ones they love. There are successes and wonderful moments to be sure, and someday they will come back my way. Just not right now.
There is a transition that occurs between grieving and mourning. Grief is passive, it washes over you. You do the work to get through it. Mourning is more elusive. It is an active endeavor, you take actions and make conscious decisions to remember. They do not happen independently, at least for me. Both are occurring simultaneously, but in different measures. This past weekend has for the first time felt more like one of mourning than of grieving. I have felt a little more in control of things, but am not so confident that the tables won't turn tomorrow or the next day.
An October funk shares a lot of commonality with the grief versus mourning question. Depression is not a choice, but what you chose to do about it is. In past years I would push through it, often not admitting that anything was wrong. As I have grown older I have come to accept it like a warm sweater that comes with the change in seasons. This year is different, both in terms of the root cause and because I am realizing that neither hiding it away or embracing it is helpful. I am miserable either way. So instead trying to be more active with it, I am seeking help to reconcile the feelings.
Being able to talk openly about it is not an easy thing. Whether I like it or not, I have a mental stigma against admitting that I am less than 100% and should ask for help. I am doing what I can, when I can. There are days, Mondays especially, where it is all uphill. I, at times, feel like Sisyphus, pushing my boulder up the hill only to have it come back down on me. Shit absolutely sucks right now. I have moments where it is ok, where I can breath easy, and I have moments where I am lost. Eventually the better moments will take over and that boulder will crest and roll downhill. Until then, there is no shame in asking for hand, a lever, and a wedge.