I can sense something slowly sneaking up behind me. I hear whispers in the winds, barely detectable at first, but they seem to be growing louder and more insistent each day. I tell myself that it’s nothing. There is no force looming in the distance, threatening to close in on me and bring me down.
I know that I’m kidding myself. There is something coming.
It is September.
Every September, I fall apart. I lose myself in a black depth of self loathing, fear, and despair. My suicide attempt happened in September of 1996 (twenty years ago now!), when I was 14 years old. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was part of a cyclical pattern for me, something that was occurring each year without fail. I was powerless to stop it, just as the trees cannot stop their leaves from changing colors. The trees though, they start to gain their vibrancy as autumn sets in. I start to lose mine.
September is cunning. September is a sneak. September is a liar. September whispers to me with its winds, which creep up on me, and begin to send chills through my body and mind. I don’t even remember that it is coming until it’s nearly here, and I start to realize I’m feeling the same old way.
September whispers that I am a failure, that I am a bad mom, that every other person in this world has it together more than I do. It reminds me of specific times in my life when I’ve done things wrong, playing the memories back to me in my head like video clips. It tells me that I’m not enough – for my children, for my husband, or even for myself. It berates me for my social shortcomings, the fact that I can’t even make a phone call without an anxiety attack, that a simple social interaction can render me useless for days, holed up in my house with my shades tightly drawn, pretending the people with their smiles and the trees with their leaves on the verge of change and the near-September winds don’t exist.
I can’t escape it though. It comes annually, bringing with it the old feelings of worthlessness and apathy. It saps me of all energy, making every necessary action feel like an impossible feat. It renders me unable to compose my thoughts into sentences, and pull those words from the depths and send them out of my mouth. It causes me to want to desperately cry out to everyone to just leave me alone, because I can’t. I can’t do any of it anymore.
September wants to bring me down, to turn me into a darkened, saddened version of myself, like a tree in winter that misses its leaves and colors.
This year, it will not succeed. Because I am stronger than the cold and the wind.
I’m going to seek help. Screw you, September. You won’t beat me this time.