Tilting at April

I’m boldly dancing against it. My enemy, the impetus of my illness, the great aggravator, the silent agitator– spring sunlight. Not sunlight from above, but from the sharp angle below, piercing my eyes as it makes its way back from winter to the summer seasons. To say the return of the sun during Alaska’s springtime is dramatic is an understatement. Instead, it shines through my windshield at a thirty-degree angle, always in my eyes, despite the dark sunglasses, despite the hat brim pulled down as far as it will go.

My friends, family, and colleagues love the return of the sun. It is celebrated all over Alaska, with people flocking to muddy, still-snow laden hiking trails, rock climbers venturing upwards against the cold cliffs, the city-dwellers taking to the paved city bike trails. They love it while I absolutely hate it.

I love my office with no window. I use thick blankets to cover the windows in my bedroom and I darken the house (despite the quiet complaints of my husband and stepsons) at the early hour of 6 p.m. because that is what my psychiatrist recommends. I do not go to evening barbecues or do outdoor activities in the evening if I can help it. I try to pretend it is still winter.

I’ve tried everything but spring always strikes me sideways. Later on, when April and May pass, I will have little memory of it, because of the rapid cycling.

Fortunately, this spring is going better than usual. I think it may be my new medication, Lamictal. I have gotten off the Depakote and switched to this drug in the hopes that it will be less harmful to my body and more effectively combat my bipolar depressive cycles.

I already have an idea for next spring, though. Something I’ve never tried specifically for the springtime: an antidepressant just for those few months. My psychiatrist worries about triggering a manic episode, but I haven’t had a true manic episode in years.

I have about another month until I get through this. Until then, I hold on.

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