It feels like winter; I lie alone in our bed, comforters bunched up at my front and back. I can’t relax in an open bed. I need the reassurance that I won’t fall, that I’m really here, that I am loved and special. And so I turn the surface of the mattress into a nest where I am surrounded by walls of fabric and stuffing. This is enough to protect me from the dangers of the outside world.

My throat is raw and my head heavy with the weight of mucus that refuses to disperse. I have learned to not sip water too soon after an application of the cherry throat spray. The combination turns to acid coating my tonsils, burning their outer layers.

I doze intermittently, and I dream of crimes committed and friendships shared. I wake with lists of facts and situations to research before I can write of them with any believable authority. I wish this were enough distraction. Maybe it could be if I could sit and write, but I feel so muddled and muddied and muted. I feel that my voice is not my own.

I want to read, but the books I choose turn out to be either painful reminders of what will never be, or even more painful reminders of what was.

We talked about my dreams with our counselor two days ago. Dreams? My nightmares, my night terrors, my sleep paralysis. I shake and scream at night, sometimes waking Ian, sometimes lying in fear, unable to move, unable to breathe, unable to think of anything but being chased and caught and hurt. I’m awake while I sleep, or I sleep while I’m awake. An awareness of my ‘real’ surroundings intermingles with my dream landscape.

It could be that I’ll never cope well with the end of summer. The end of summer feels like the end of everything. The blessed cooler promises of September will never make up for the tearing agonies of loss and betrayal that well up anew every year.

Maybe it feels like winter because I want it to be winter so badly. To skip this time of year entirely because it hurts me so much. I want it to be winter because that’s my beginning. A fresh start when the outside world is dead and brown and unable to hurt me.

I cocoon myself a season early, to break free a season early and so have time for every little adjustment, every tiny tweak to help me wear a brave face for everyone else. Depression is a dark, heavy cloak, and I need time to unravel its weave, to bleach its maudlin colors to a shade more suitable.