This time of year used to be bit of a problem for me. After the clocks changed and the evenings got darker, lasting until the New Year, I had a perceptible dip in mood. It was a mild form of SAD, I guess.
It was possibly reinforced because the start of November contains a disproportionately high number of anniversaries that I prefer not to remember.
The 2nd November 2007 was the day I brought my sister home to live with us until her premature death from ovarian cancer. When she died at 50 she was almost the same age as our father when he had died, over forty years earlier.
The 3rd November is the anniversary of our mother's death from bowel cancer.
November 4th is the anniversary of our father's death from lung cancer - by a spooky coincidence our parents had been married just 13 years and 13 days when he died.
Early November also happens to be when I was made redundant after two and a half years of the worst experiences of my life. These top any of my other life experiences, including the deaths of my parents, by a long way. At the point I was made redundant I was suffering from Clinical Depression, taking antidepressant, and making monthly visits to a Consultant Psychiatrist who supervised my therapy and medication, and talked me through issues. I kept seeing him and taking the antidepressant for several years, finally relinquishing both just a few years ago.
Unfortunately, even today, my memories, when they do come back, are as strong and clear as the day they were created. Remembering one inevitably triggers the rest.
My redundancy "interview" was surreal. But it was in keeping with what had been an extended period of awful Kafkaesque experiences. It had echoes of The Trial. I was sat opposite my "manager" and the "HR director", on the 4th November 2008, I think it was, without checking my Journal. I was told that I had scored a 3 (out of 5) in September 2008. Neither good, nor bad. However, just a few weeks later I was being told I scored a 1, which meant they were going to make me redundant. I did not get a coherent explanation. It felt that a decision had been taken to get rid of me just because they wanted to, apparently without clear justification. Someone said something about taking "everything" into account, whatever that was supposed to mean. I never did find out because they would not elaborate. I remember that I said "you are scoring my illness", but I did not get the courtesy of a response. They just looked at each other and then looked at me. It seemed to confirm that they still did not believe I was ill, even though I had been receiving medical treatment for more than a year. I was kicked out about a week later.
Redundancy caused a relapse in my condition and sent me back to a very dark place. It was several months before I could face going back to work and it took me years to recover. I have never fully recovered, my experiences left permanent damage.
Of course, having so many anniversaries so close together is not helpful. But when you add Halloween, All Hallows Day, All Soul's Day, Guy Fawkes Night and Armistice Day, almost all within the same week, it all gets a bit much. Still, if you are going to remember the dead, and the worst days of your life, I guess you might as well get them all out of the way at once.
A few years ago my negative reaction to this time of year suddenly stopped. No idea why. But as I learned from my medical chats, we are complicated organisms and what we don't understand far exceeds what we know. This has been very well demonstrated down the years by a host of people who think they know better.