I was thinking about this yesterday, going over a lot of things in my mind: several at once, as usual.

Winter Depression.

Hearing other people talking about it, I looked back on the past few years and remembered my experiences with that sort of thing. Depression is not a fun thing; anyone who's experienced it can agree with that. Now, an annual depression, one that you sort of expect to keep having after a year or two, that can get to you most of all.

My first year of high school hit my life and skewed it all to hell. My grades dropped, my social circle expanded, I broke up with my sort-of boyfriend, and I tried to be a little bit more like "those" kind of girls, because I wanted to be liked by all these new people. Apparently this just made me an annoying teenybopper (so says my then best friend).

Grade nine depression was sort of focussed around myself and how I was (mis)handling the transition into high school. Now this wasn't so much a winter depression as a sort of year-round anxiety. I was so overwhelmed by the number of people, by the workload, and just so many new things that I decided I would tell everyone I was nuts and save them learning it when it happened.

Grade ten depression was an actual winter depression. And it was more than the sort of sulking fit I pulled the year before. It was centred around a boyfriend, but also around me, and how I saw myself, how I thought others saw me. I was realizing finally that he was a "kiss&tell exaggerator"... meaning he was the type to go to all his guy friends and tell them tons of things that he wished we had done.. only making it sound as if we had.
It wasn't just that though. There were other things. His constant lying, his calling me up in August saying "guess where I spent the night!"(Jail), and my best friend trying to make me see what I already knew and refused to admit:

Chris is an asshole. Hurt him and run.

I was lost. He was a sweet-talker, and made me believe that he "would never do that. Never!" and blah, and blah. And I wanted to believe him, and let myself be convinced. I thought I was crazy, and I didn't know what to do. I couldn't leave Chris.. he would demand explanations, explanations that he would deny, and then try to make it sound as if I were just insecure, and listening way too much to my friends (friends who knew a lot more than I would give them credit for).

"Never underestimate the power of denial."
- American Beauty

This went on for at least two months... if not more. In December my general mood fell far from content, and I began to be overly pessimistic, constantly angry, and frequently violent. I never got in an actual fight, but I slapped a lot of the people around me, especially my closest female friend, who was often aggravating as hell (and she knew it). I couldn't hold it all in. I spent a lot of time at my best friend's house, trying to keep myself sane. He was a big help to me, and I know how frustrating it must have been for him to see me brush off what he was saying, and then come back later to admit he was right. This happens a lot to him, but that's another story.

Chris, jealous and possessive as he was, thought we were having an affair (actually, for a while, everyone thought we were, including his parents, but that's also another story). Chris threatened him a couple times, but my friend viewed him with contempt and thought it was funny. They fought once, a sort of play-fight that went too far, and in the end Chris was the one who got hurt. Of course, later he claimed different, but we had all been there and we ignored him.

It was a really cool elbow-drop, after all.

But back to December. It was an up-down time. Nights I would spend beating up or crying into my pillow, days with my best friend would be spent having fun, taking walks in the evening and discussing our lives. He told me what I should do, and was almost desperate to have me listen to him. I did. I knew he was right, and I said so, but I couldn't do it. I would go and see Chris, and he would talk it all away. I was reduced once more to the insecure pushover, but I thought I was loved and so I decided it was enough. What did I want of him, anyway? Then it would be night again, and I would realize exactly what I had done. But I would deny it to myself, and write for hours trying to convince myself that everyone was wrong and he was good for me.

Yes we had fun. Yes, he may have loved me. But I couldn't deal with it anymore. The one conversation that stabs me still, that kept me up more than a few nights crying, was in my room, between myself, my best friend, and Chris. I think we were talking about this big plan I had had for the most memorable suicide, but that one piece of the discussion is burned into me forever:

Me: (something about my vision of suicide grandeur)
Chris: Well, don't be doing that until after you're seventeen.
James: (glaring) Why, so you can have sex with her?
(Chris smiles and says nothing)

Right away I think anyone can understand my being upset with that. I had decreed sometime in grade nine or ten that I would remain a virgin until after my seventeenth birthday. It may have been one of Chris' main goals to break that decree, or simply be around long enough to take advantage of it.

It was sometime after this when I decided I really really couldn't take it anymore. I began to picture myself walking to the top of the street and leaping from the water tower. This became such a common image that at some point near the end of December/beginning of January, I made up my mind to do it. I'm a dramatic sometimes, and went online to leave some goodbye notes. Another close friend and fellow cynic was on and upon receiving my rather cold message, immediately spammed me with enough "don't go" messages to keep me at the terminal. We had the typical "don't do it" vs. "why? life sucks. I hate everything" conversation, and in the end I stayed. I happen to have a portly and comforting feline, who jumped into my lap in the middle of the conversation and started purring happily.

Honestly, who can refuse a happy cat?

Upon reflection, I've come to the conclusion that my so-called suicide attempt was a "cry for help," and going online to leave "goodbye notes" was my rational self looking for an excuse not to do what the irrational self seemed to be intent on doing. The cat was a fortunate intrusion, and helped me to see exactly what it was I had been planning on doing.

The relationship with Chris didn't end until mid-January, however. Between this "suicide attempt" and the final end, I had a sort of online affair with someone I knew from school, and he tried to analyze the situation. In my present opinion, he did a good job. The affair ended when I told him I couldn't do it, just couldn't face telling Chris it was over. I was basically told that if I wanted to fuck myself over I could do it alone, and not to speak to him anymore.

I'm still really sorry about that one. Out of all the relationships I've had (short, long, official and not), that one hurt the most, I think.

No. Second-most. But I won't talk about the first. They both served me right, but that one that hurt the most I can't talk about to anyone. Besides, I've taken up enough space already.

After I left Chris (a couple times), I felt a lot better. For a few months I still mourned the good times in private, but I never told anyone about that then.

The next winter wasn't as bad as my grade ten winter. A lot of things happened all through my grade eleven year that I don't want to talk about. It had mostly to do with a relationship (again), that started a few months after leaving Chris, and ended only this August, painfully and slowly. I don't want to talk much about that one, though. I got jerked around a lot, lied to, ignored, forgotten, and generally hurt a lot overall, a little at a time. It's a wonder I hung on so long, but he was so subtle, and sometimes seemed to genuinely believe that he wasn't doing anything wrong. There were issues in there that I don't want to get into.. just mentioning it makes my blood begin to bubble. I hurt him a lot at the end, as vengeance and because I finally gave up and didn't bother to be careful about the way I worded things. He could go to hell.

This winter has been different, though. I don't think I've had a single (meaning I was single) winter since grade nine, and I'm grade twelve now. Sure, that's only a couple years, but time is in the eye of the beholder, in my opinion.

This has been the first winter since grade school that I haven't felt the touch of depression. I've been happy (happy being much more than just content with life) for four or five months now. I have a lot of things good for me this year. I'm in my last year of high school, I've started yoga and am feeling good about myself physically, I've gotten close to my mother as a person rather than just "Mom", and I've found someone to love who doesn't hurt me.

Yeah, okay. Objective third parties reading this will think, "oh no, she's going to do it again, and come back complaining later."

No. This time it's different, and I can prove it. Four months, and I haven't had a reason to cry at night. No one that I know hates him or even dislikes him. My best friend said he was a good guy for me. He's pretty much best friends with my mom (which is weird, but it's a lot of fun). It's something new to me. He's everything I liked in all my past boyfriends, and nothing that I don't like.

Anyways, that's my long explanation of personal past depressions. I have to go.