I put on a scarf at 5:30 in the morning because I woke up cold. It seems that I’m always cold these days. Months remain before the crocuses poke through the soil and the robins start to chirp. Months of ice and salt, of bitter wind and cracked skin. Of waking up cold. I step lightly on the wood floor in the dark and flick on the kitchen lights. It’s time for coffee, so I follow the familiar steps: a new filter, two and a half scoops, and enough water for a full pot. I don’t mind waking up so early; it gives me time to start the day slowly. If I try, I can get another half hour before I’m rudely awakened by a paw to the face– Stella has limited patience. So in the end, 5:30 is peaceful and silent, and I can sit alone at the table with my coffee while Stella smells the early morning air through the crack between the sliding door and the frame.
This morning is grey; the trees are grey, the sky is grey, the grass looks nearly grey. I can already tell that today will be a sluggish one. There will probably be a long nap, and I will likely struggle through work, only to wander aimlessly from one uninteresting hobby to another. I wonder if the ketamine is wearing off, but it’s only been two weeks since my last infusion. I want to will myself into a longer interval between infusions because two weeks seems rather short. I argue with myself when it comes time to rate my mood for the day on a scale of one to ten. (I get an automated reminder text on my phone and send the number as a reply. The results create a graph that my doctor can see.) I have this urge to fib- to make it seem like I feel better than I do. It takes some effort to not lie, and I always get a small twist of disappointment and shame when I send anything below a five.
What will today be? A four? Maybe if I get moving, I can make it a five or even a six. But frankly, today is grey and cold, and I don’t feel like doing anything. My depression is not seasonal; it stays all year. I’ve noticed, however, that the quiet arrival of spring sometimes tows along my missing optimism. The return of new growth and green things makes me feel a little more ready to come out of my shell. Anticipation tinged with anxiety will begin to stir in me as winter comes to an end. Anxiety because there will be more to do, and I worry that I won’t be able to drag myself out of bed to do it. Anticipation because I desperately want to.
For now, I am lost in January. Sometimes, the best I can do is curl up in the cashmere blanket my mother made for me, still wearing my scarf, and sleep. And hope that I won’t wake up cold.