Sweet Dreams

December is a tough month. It’s rife with depression and anxiety, when unanswered text messages feel like a state of emergency and minor slights gain momentum over and throughout my entire psyche as the sky starts to darken at 4pm. I try to implement my usual suspects of supplements with St. John’s Wort and 5-htp, but I doubt that these homeopathic treatments can help if you only do them one time. I feel hopeless so I cancel workouts and comedy shows.  My nose won’t stop running and I can’t stop running from my problems but this all might be alleviated if I fucking took up running, however this is the last thing I would want to do, as the streets are slick with rain and the real cold that los angeles is capable of at times starts to seep into my bones.

The fact is, I am not depressed. I am not a depressed person. Not in the least. My life is joyous and fun, and really pretty easy. I just cut myself shaving sometimes, but i also get lots of tattoos, dance and sing, eat everything. Yes sometimes I have allergies but it’s amazing what has come out of my nose, and it’s a testament to the strength of my immune system and how my body wants to protect me from the world’s pollutants.

It’s just a lack of light that is a problem, and as photosensitive an individual I am, with all these incredible tattoos from the best artists in the world and the lifelong rosacea that has kept me from beaches, decks and the pools the world over, I realize I still need sunlight like a plant or a bush or a tree. There is chlorophyll in my veins and I am no evergreen so I need the sun like I need a hole in my head and I need it more when the days are shorter and the nights are longer and its cold out.

I have always thought I was a night person, due to the constraints of my chosen occupation as a standup comedian and this is a frightfully inept misdiagnosis. I am unbelievably diurnal, actually kicking off covers when the sun makes its first appearance in the sky, no matter where in the world I happen to be, and feeling desperate for my bed at the lengthening of shadows that indicate night is about to fall.

Whenever I am forced to stay up past 11pm I actually start panicking, as if the day has gone beyond my capacity, as if I am running on empty. Sleep is the fuel that I need, the big gas station in the bed, in the deep blue space beneath my shut eyes, where I go without fail every night, my favorite destination. I count sheep and I count the hours and I count myself cheated if these hours are not in the double digits. I love sleep to the point where I am sure I could spend two or three days in the bed or more. I haven’t tried this, but when days are as short as they are of late it might not even be worth getting up. Now this sounds like real depression but it’s not I don’t think. I am just bear-like and wanting to hibernate and I am pretty sure I have had enough meals in me so far this year to endure an entire chilly season in my cave.

I should probably get a light box and then my mood might improve. I wonder if you can hook one up to the screen of your laptop, or if the Macbook provides light enough to stave off the winter blues. It is the day that breaks when I flip the screen open, and the glow from it is so lively and bright I am sure it can sustain me.

13 Comments. Add To The Mix…

  1. dear cho, it is depression. i can relate to all what youre saying and it is a D word and state of mind. the lack of inner peace. my city is much different from yours, its gray and vicious, theres a spirit of tragedy above it and its below 0 celsius. so i know depression and what youre saying is how i feel.

    Youre great, edgy and cocky, deep and profound…so sensitive so fragile. come visit me here, we can stay in bed and watch tv and sleep and be together and get to know and become important in each other lives.

    im sending you good vibes from belgrade- serbia

  2. Light is key to emotional well being. The most primitive, reptilian part of our brains tell us to hibernate when the days get short. I successfully combat SADD by having fantastic lighting in my bike shop. Among the lights is a metal halide “yard light.” It throws off an astonishing amount of simulated sunlight that fools my brain into forgetting that it is winter.

    That, and riding my motorcycle year round. Even when the temps are in the teens, you can see me out there riding the bike to my shop every morning. I really wakes me the Hell up!

    Now that you are riding, there is a whole new World of joy out there waiting for you. Once you experience a multi-day, multi-thousand mile trip on the bike, your life will NEVER be the same.

  3. I’m dealing with sleep and seasonal problems, and there are a lot of things to try. More vitamin D, to start with. Light boxes have been recommended by friends. And a new book I’ve just started reading, Willpower, says that in fact as the day goes on, the brain does get fatigued, and one becomes more bad tempered and less able to make decisions. Sleep is what allows the brain to restore it’s energy supply, much the same as resting allows muscles to their energy. And I’m talking about real biochemical energy, ATP, not some newage metaphor.

  4. Seasonal Affective Disorder and other variations of mood changes are terrible to deal with. I have major sleep problems and have been told to get a light box. Of course I’m too busy sleeping during the day and being awake all night to do that, but I’m going to recommend it to you. 🙂 I have used St. John’s Wort in the past and it actually worked very well. It takes time, and is a gradual change, but does work. I had to stop taking it because it was giving me a facial rash. I would still be taking it if I could. Take care of yourself– that’s the best any of us can do.

  5. I am with you my dear, darling Cho. I used to work in an office where, even though I had my own office and not a cubicle, I didn’t have a window. That meant no natural lighting and no plants. I was in fluorescent light most of the day and left wondering why I felt awful when I got home. So yes, I cam empathize…

  6. I often feel a wave of sadness when darkness arrives each day. I especially hate the holidays, because when I was a kid Christmas was such a big deal, and now, with my parents long since dead, and living alone except for my cat. (ok, time to bring out the violins)
    Sometimes just a good cup of coffee and a bagel in a warm coffee shop with good jazz playing brightens my spirits a bit. I had a nice time with a Vietnamese-American friend of mine, today. She is so funny, a very dry wit. She doesn’t get your humor, although she did enjoy “Hey Big Dog” and noticed how she resembles you. “Everybody thinks I’m Korean” she says. In any case, shopping with her was fun, with her running commentary. Her accent reminds me of your mother, although not quite as pronounced.
    So friends definitely make a difference too, in this wistfully sad month. Those of us that are not celebrities (yet!), have this stupid notion that celebrities’ lives are free from stress or sadness. I know you are not depressed, but it is nice to see that you are a lot like the rest of us. Being a celebrity is no big deal, (he says having no fucking idea what he is talking about)

  7. A light box helps both mood and sleep cycle, in my experience, so do try one no matter what sleep schedule you end up on for your work. It is kind of amazing what a good one can do. Be sure to get one created especially for people with SAD. I also take vitamin D because testing shows my levels dip at times.

  8. Your words are always a joy,Having such a calm quiet life myself(transitioning truck driver)It’s so nice to see others are taking the time to deal with the seasons for me.Hang in there Margaret and enjoy that Bike!

  9. You should look up a program for Macs called \Flux.\ It slowly alters the light quality of the computer screen throughout the day so when you’re using it at night, the light is less harsh in contrast! I love it!

  10. Margaret, I just came upon your blog (finally) and saw this post. Hope you’re feeling better. But on the off chance you’re not, I find that I feel better whenever I can get a good hike in to start the day. Like, an hour and a half in the woods, before noon. When it’s the brightest. The Winter Solstice was last week, and it’s the darkest day of the year, so from here on, things will get better. Keep being funny and awesome. You’re amazing! A true inspiration.

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