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Losing Sunshine

In Johannesburg, where I grew up, the seasons turn in such a predictable manner. You know that the sun will almost always shine, and even in the heart of the winter, the days are basically the same length as those warm, blessed summer days.

At the most, summer and winter days differ in length by only two or so hours.

Here in the north, that’s not the case.

You can easily tell when the weather begins to turn. The sun lags a bit behind in the morning, and tires earlier at night. Now, in October, 8 am is much darker than it was last week, in September. In November, 8 am will still be fully dark.

Hi, I’m Yolandie, and I suffer from seasonal depression.

People don’t get it, but there’s something profoundly sad about losing sunshine. Maybe it’s because I hail from one of the sunniest places on earth. Maybe it’s because I so love being outside in the open air.

Either way, the shorter our days become, the more anxious I get.

So, I keep busy. I throw myself at projects as a distraction, get shit done, and am usually exhausted by the end of the season.

At first, I thought I was the only one, but no. Many people succumb to this twilight-induced sadness, this anxiety that stems from too many sunless hours.

I have no illusions about the fact that my current state of mind is fragile enough, if only because I just finished a writing project and always have a moment of disorientation and mild completion anxiety when I’ve typed the final sentence. It happens.

But I also know the way I feel can’t just be attributed to finishing the first draft of A Trial of Sparks & Kindling. I’ve been an immigrant for four years (can you even?!) and I’ve had this seasonal depression for as long.

Unfortunately, this is one of those posts that won’t have a really uplifting end. I don’t have the answers, I just felt the need to share. If there’s someone out there, wondering if they’re alone in this weird seasonal mood swing, I want them to know they’re not. None of us ever are alone in what we feel, and if people open up more about these things, maybe nobody will feel alone anymore.

We’re complex and nuanced creatures, but we’re more similar than we think.

Anyway, I have to go throw myself at something to still these shaking fingers.

Until next time,


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