There’s something about September that wants to kill you.

I’ve been blogging steadily for almost 15 years now. I blogged when people didn’t know what blogging was. I blogged when it was popular. I blogged when blogging was declared dead and was sneered at. I blog now when it’s being rediscovered by a new generation. And in that time I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world and I’ve been able to see patterns that I maybe wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

One of those patterns is the quiet and terrible danger of September.

If you look back you will see year after year of me saying that September is one of my worst months for depression. I’m not alone here. Some of it is the stress and the change of school starting back up, of realizing all the things you were going to accomplish that summer didn’t get done…but what I’ve learned is that one factor is simply a seasonal change of less sunlight that can really fuck with your head. It sounds ridiculous that even a small lack of sunlight can mess with you but about a week into September I start feeling wobbly and remember it’s September. I always feel like an idiot for pulling my light box out of storage to put on my desk (because how can a box of light for 20 minutes a day make a difference?) but then I go back and look at all my previous September posts and realize that every little thing counts, and that I am worthy of the work it takes to stay slightly less crazy.

I look though 15 years of posts and it makes me think about how far we’ve come. What we’ve accomplished. What we continue to fuck up. The amazing things we’ve seen. The horror we survived. The joy and laughter and everything in between. I can see patterns of joy and lessons that I’ve learned and have forgotten and learned again.

Last week I was cleaning out my computer photos and found the original photo that I’ve always used as my icon since I first started this blog.

Here is how old it is…if you look at the bottom you can see the top of the camera flash because this was before I even had a cell phone.

I remember exactly where I was…blow-drying my hair for the billionth time to go to my HR job that I knew was not my calling. The house was dark and quiet because it was 4am. I would leave the house before 5 so that I could avoid the horrific Houston traffic and so I could leave work early enough to pick up Hailey from daycare. Victor worked a late shift so he could avoid traffic and take Hailey to daycare, so we barely saw each other. I was exhausted and the idea of having to blow dry my hair and get ready every morning just to do it again tomorrow seemed like a pointless and Sisyphean task and so I decided to take a picture and make that my icon for two reasons. One, because then it would somehow have meaning…even if I was the only one giving it that. And two, because I wanted to make myself remember where I was…so that I could remember how hard life was in the dark, quiet hours, and how strong I was for making it through them and that one day I would look back on this moment and be glad it was over. And I am. But I also look at it with love and longing. I can practically smell that house and hear Hailey’s baby laughter and I remember staying up until midnight to binge watch Battlestar Gallactica and the time(s) I almost set the house on fire.

The good thing about blogging is being able to see these things again at a distance. To realize that even if I’m now exhausted or sad or struggling, that there are also amazing things in my life that I will one day miss. It makes me look through new eyes to appreciate where I am. It makes me remember the lessons I’ve learned and reminds me to stop making the same bad decisions when I’ve already learned them. (Or at least to make new and exciting bad decisions instead of the normal, boring ones.)

As I’m clearing out old photos I come across this one my talented friend Robin Jerstad took this year.

15 years have passed. I quit the job I was never right for. I became a full-time writer. I opened a bookstore. Victor and I both work from home and listen to Hailey’s laughter as they play Dungeons & Dragons and write their own musical. I almost never blow dry my hair. The blow dryer sits (broken) in a bathroom drawer. I can’t quite make myself throw it away. I still spend a lot of the time in the dark. I still struggle. I know you do too. We move forward and backward and sideways but the important this is that we keep moving.

If you are reading this then you survived the first week of September. And so have I. And for some of us that is a very big achievement. So stop and smile in the knowledge that September has not eaten you.

Get out your light box. Go for a walk. Refill your meds. Allow time for therapy and self-care. Reach out if you are struggling. (To friends, family, doctors or the suicide hotline if things get rough. I’ve relied on all four myself.) Carve out time for joy. Look at how far you’ve come. I’m proud of you.

PS. I think sometimes it’s hard to see what we’ve accomplished unless we really look. So in the comments, feel free to share something you’re proud of. It can be something giant or something small. It can be a book you finished reading, or a hobby you’re perfecting, or a lesson you’ve learned. But whatever it is, stop and acknowledge the fact that in spite of it all, you are still here, my friend. September has not won. And that? Is something to be celebrated.

265 thoughts on “There’s something about September that wants to kill you.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Sometimes, this blog is the Lightbox.

    Keep the steady glow in the darkness, as implausible as it might be.

  2. Beautiful retrospective. My husband just retired from 30 years of teaching and immediately took a job working for a hot air balloon company. On the first day of school, they needed him for ballast so he spent it drifting through the sky. It was a perfect way for him to spend it:-)

  3. September is seeing me finally getting into therapy and hoping it will help/work. I’m a mess and clearly not handling it on my own anymore. But we’ll all get there! Somehow. Some way. Together.

  4. September is seeing me finally getting into therapy and hoping it will help/work. I’m a mess and clearly not handling it on my own anymore. But we’ll all get there! Somehow. Some way. Together.

  5. I quit my teaching job last December where I was working 60-80 hours every week and the stress was slowly killing me. I’m much happier now.

  6. I’m proud that I have learned to love myself, warts and all. That I’ve realized and embrace that I don’t have to be busy all the time to have value in this world. I’m proud that I continue to fight depression and anxiety (of course some days are better than others..but I refuse to completely give up) And I’m proud of all of you that are continuing to fight the same battles.

  7. I’m so glad you’re here and that you’ve survived another September. You have to know, some of the posts you’ve made on this blog have made me laugh hysterically. I will remember Beyonce, the chicken, until the day I shed my mortal coil.

  8. Two years ago, I quit my job and started to make the jump to working in an academic library, preferably archives and special collections. BAM, my father dropped dead unexpectedly, and the pandemic hit. I’ve been locked down with my widowed mother for 18 months. But tomorrow morning I have an interview with the archives of a major research university. I’m terrified, but I’m picking up the pieces of my life at last.

  9. Thank you for 15 years of amazingness that I didn’t know I needed. And for so many other things, too, Jenny. All the love to you and Victor and Hailey from us.

  10. I’ve kicked breast cancer and am working on the 20th revision of my novel. I have three little grandkids. And I have loved your work for those 15 years.

  11. Reflection is powerful. One great thing about being Jewish is that September is when all the holidays happen. We’ve started a new year (5782!) and take time to consider what we want to take with us into the next one. Though this season has it’s own stress, it’s good to have time to stop and realign. Thanks for raising awareness of this tough transition time and take care.

  12. I finally took time off to write my own book. I’m not sure it makes sense to anyone but me, as it’s a twisty thing of poetry and verse and snarky comments on life, but it’s based on all the bits of things I’ve scribbled in journals and in my notes app late at night and I’m really excited to spend some time with myself and my own thoughts. And that just shows how far I’ve come, that I’m excited to spend time with myself instead of horrified.

  13. My mum died in April after we brought her to our home for the winter lockdown (I’m in the UK). As a result, she didn’t die alone, she died with me and my husband there, and my brother with her on FaceTime (it’s so weird that FaceTime with someone who is dying sounds normal now). It’s 4 months on and we’re on a break with old friends, and picking up two kittens next week. Kittens! Yay!
    I have moved – and continue to move – backwards and forwards and sideways. And I’m proud that I can feel happy today. Sadness-tinged but still happy. And I’m facing the winter open hearted and as ready as I can be. Thank you Jenny, you keep me going through many dark days x

  14. I’m in Australia, so your September is my first glimpse that spring and longer days. Despite everything, winter and lockdowns have not totally beaten me this year, it’s been hard and I should be proud of that.

  15. It’s been especially hard this year. The wildfire smoke where I live means that I have probably received less light in August than I will in September.

  16. Fifteen years ago I was wasting away time reading blogs at my own HR job, where I spent more time effing around on the internet than doing anything else, and I hated it. That person fifteen years ago would never believe that I am now an English professor doing what we always wanted to do, sharing books and writing and words with wonderful human beings. I’ve got two kids. I’ve got a great boyfriend, also an English professor. Life is really, really beautiful. Thanks for giving me reason to pause and think about it this morning, and thanks for staying awesome and keeping this blog (and yourself) alive. <3

  17. I’m speaking up when I feel unworthy or unseen so my partner and friends can remind me my brain is lying and that I matter.

  18. This year is especially hard. Because of the wildfire smoke where I live, I will have seen less sun in August than I probably will in September. And going outside was hazardous.

  19. I have started spending about 30 minutes each morning turning the pages of a book, after many years of being solely an audiobook reader.

    Growing up I was someone who would lock in and read for hours at a time, often finishing books in one sitting. It’s been lovely to venture back in and discover how enjoyable it is to check back in with the characters each morning.

  20. Big hugs to you, Jenny. MY lightbox is on call 365 days a year for me. I tell people only half-jokingly that since I started using it, it makes me less likely to kill people.

  21. I’m turning 50 next year and I finally got my crap together and bought a house. Took a pandemic, finally getting a permanent job after years of temp jobs and counting every damn penny I had but I did it. It’s older than me and needs help but it’s mine. Well in 30 years it will officially be mine. When I’m 80. 😳

  22. I am becoming a better mom for my daughter, which doesn’t mean following all of the “this is how you should raise your kid!” instructions. It means I’m finally able to focus on my relationship with her, do what works for us, and ignore the rest of the world’s opinions on childrearing. I left my marriage almost three years ago and I’m finally getting free of the little voice of my ex in my head telling me that I’m an awful parent.

  23. I feel this. Fall is hard here, too. The lessening daylight, along with Sept (tomorrow) being 7 years since my aunt passed away and Oct being 25 years since my grandpa passed away. I miss them both terribly and always feel a downhill slide as Sept starts. Hang in there everyone.

  24. I can totally understand why people have trouble with Sept. especially the dwindling light outside. I get a little sad b/c of all the things I wanted to do in the Summer, but didn’t do/complete (ugh). That said, I really appreciate the cooler temps especially here in NYC, and the changes outside–trees, leaves, squirrels running about. I recognize the exact point when I can feel the sunlight change and I welcome it now. Fall makes me feel cozy I guess and I try my best to keep moving.

    That photo! I remember when I first found your blog (yay!) and then I bought “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened” I laughed so much and so hard. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t known about you sooner. I was thankful that I found you! 🙂

  25. Something I’m proud of: This Sunday, I finally get to experience a live graduation ceremony for completing my master’s degree. (I finished my program at the end of last year.) This was my second attempt at grad school.

    My first attempt was 2001-2003. And it was going great until it was time to take my comprehensive exam. I failed and didn’t get my degree, even though I successfully completed all the coursework. It was devastating. I was emotionally scarred for years.

    Now I feel like I finally slayed the dragon. This live graduation ceremony is something I’ve dreamed of for 20 years.

  26. Years ago I had a blog and followed your blog, when you were still in the HR job. I commented on one of your posts and you responded, and even commented on one of my posts. That simple connection helped me get through a day I did not expect to survive. It was one of my many days like that and it was the random connections that always got me through. Thank you for being who you are and sharing yourself with people you’ll never know you affect.

  27. I don’t remember when I started following you, it’s been that long. I don’t always check in but when I do, your message hits exactly at the right time. So thank you.

  28. I recognized a few years ago that I start my annual descent into depression in mid-August. As soon as the light changes. September is when things really hit – school is really the only reason I was able to function as a kid, because at least it forced me to stay awake and activities distracted me a bit. But when you work year-round? Not so much. And not when you have several crises land in September over the course of a decade… lots of leftover trauma. I’m able to go into the fall with a better attitude just because I’ve become conscious of how hard it really is. I’m learning to be gentler with myself. I talk with my therapist and my partner, and I reach out to friends to share the changes. The last weapon in my arsenal needs to be a light box… maybe today is the day I’ll finally acknowledge that it’s not just a matter of will/awareness/sharing – it’s physical.

  29. I’m proud of the fact that despite all the slings and arrows and changes and reversals (and Septembers) since we first met in blogland, we are both still here and still moving. All the love, friend.

  30. I’m happy-ish that in 2007 when I told my primary care giver “I’m so depressed” there was finally something that helped. MEDS! I have struggled with it since 1974, been through therapy in various places with no effect. I no longer go to bed praying I won’t wake up in the morning. Still have dark days but they are outnumbered by the sunny ones.

  31. I tried to kill myself 19 years ago, when the weight of pretending i was okay and going to finish college became too much. Some of these years, i have just existed and made it through the days. But this summer, i decided i was ready to get that degree. It is super scarey to think about going back, but i want to finish this. I feel stronger right now.

  32. That third paragraph hits home. I’ve got the blues. Dropped our oldest daughter off at college this past weekend. Her younger sister is now an only child and is struggling. The weather…school…Such a time for transition! Hugs to you!

  33. I did not blow up at my teenager today, while looking back 2 years in my past and remembering how miserable I was to her when I was so down.

  34. I never knew other people struggled so much in September too. It’s usually the start to a rocky depressive episode for me on top of the constant depression I feel. Thanks for making me feel less alone.

  35. With you on September; for me it’s the combination of the days getting shorter and way too many hard anniversaries. The light bar (mine’s a bar instead of a box) helps, as does watching comedies, as does time outside while it’s still not winter (making serotonin while the sun shines?) and the knowledge that this, too, shall pass.
    Thank you for bringing this community together and setting a great example of doing the work. Some of us just have to work harder than average.
    My late brother was paraplegic, and he had to do a lot of hard and uncomfortable things to keep his paralyzed (but not at all numbed) body functioning. I asked him once how he felt about that, and he shrugged and said, “This is just how it is. I can do this stuff and live, or not do it and die. I’d rather live.”

  36. I have finally learned to rest! I was sick with the flu and then had my second vaccine shot one after the other and my brain screamed at me to work out and clean the house but I stayed in bed doing cross stitch and rewatching True Blood. I’m so proud of myself even though it’s very loud in my head right now.

  37. I only started reading a few years after you started writing. I’ve been with you since 2009. Thank you for writing all these years…you have no idea how much you mean to me. There are so many things I couldn’t have made it through without you.

  38. Fifteen years?! Has it been that long already? It both feels brief and a lifetime.
    I decided to go back to school, 20 years after college. I’m going to get my masters, I’m so proud of myself! Thanks for always reminding us that it’s never too late!

  39. I started therapy today, after 10 years of just “winging it” and pretending everything is ok.

  40. Seven years ago I was in a shitty marriage and one month into therapy. My therapist saved me (although she gives me the credit for walking into her office in the first place). A divorce, a house back in my hometown surrounded by family and friends who love me, a beautiful new relationship with a man who knows what love is…next year on the 8th anniversary of the day I walked into my therapist’s office I’ll be walking down the aisle to marry my best friend. It gets better folks, it really does. Hang in there!!

  41. I’ve had major surgery twice – both in September. So maybe September really is trying to kill me. 🤔 I had ovarian cancer surgery at 16 on September 9, 1998, then almost 20 years to the day later, on September 6th, 2018 I had surgery to remove a large thyroid growth and half my thyroid. The latter wasn’t cancer. I still have RA, depression, anxiety, hypothyroidism… But I’m still here.

    As for my current accomplishment, I’m taking care of a cat that’s been living in my backyard for a week, and going to get her spayed Friday. I don’t have room to keep her, and my 3 cats would hate it, so I’ll find her a good home after.

  42. I get a little defensive of September because my birthday is on the 13th (I also get a little defensive of 13), but I also dread fall and the loss of light, and getting older. Fortunately in Texas summer lasts longer than most places, but I know winter will be here soon and I’m already depressed just thinking about that. But even though I’ve been depressed a LOT over the last few years there have been lots and lots of good things and I have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for reminding me of that.

    One thing I’m proud of is a family history book that I’m working on with my mom. She’s writing stories about her life growing up (she’s 86) and I’m compiling and editing them, and am also including extensive family genealogy and lots of photos. I’m a graphic designer and I’m enjoying working on this way more than my regular work. It has been in progress for years and will probably take a few more, but when it’s done I want to have the pages printed and then hand-bind copies for my mom, my kids, and my six siblings.

  43. I recently promoted (and moved states!) to a higher profile, what should be higher “stress” job. But I did it to get away from a toxic work environment. I’ve been in my new job about a month. I’m still living in a hotel waiting on my house to close. My life is in total disarray. And yet my stress level and anxiety have dropped so much just getting away from that toxic work environment. I’m crazy busy in this new job, but my stress level is so much lower not having to spend each day surrounded by that toxicity.

  44. This September, I had my first piece published in an anthology. The cooler weather has stimulated my soul, and I am so grateful. Along about November, I will be ready to crawl under a bed, but for now, I am doing great.

    I love the pictures. I never knew the story behind your iconic photo. Did you KNOW at the time that you were going to use it for everything?

  45. September 2nd was the one year anniversary of me coming home after I had a massive heart attack on Aug.31, 2020. I coded and had to be brought back and then had 2 stents put in, but I quit smoking cold turkey after being addicted for over 37 years and am still working on getting healthy today. It’s hard (I put on a bit of weight this past year, finding the right meds for me has been tough) and some days its a fight to get up in the morning and take my medication so I can keep going, but I am still slogging away.

  46. September is seeing such a change for us here. My hubs parents are healing from covid and heart attacks while in a nursing home. My dad is at home on hospice care and my sister and I are the caregivers. Life is changing and change is not always welcome. I find the darkness is a little bit closer than I like lately. It’s scary hard to handle sometimes. I think I need to call in sick to work one day soon and just take some time to go sit in the sun and breathe. Then I’ll send my sister to do the same.

  47. I survived the end of August which was the 5th anniversary of my oldest son Brian’s death at the far too young age of 27 and then I tried to celebrate the fact that his organ donation gave the gift of continued life to five other human beings. I have been following your blog for nearly the entire 15 years — buy your books — and even came out for a signing in Minneapolis (wore a red dress for the occasion even….). You’ve long inspired me — and this post didn’t disappoint either. Thanks for the reminders to care for ourselves. You’re a treasure.

  48. Before my psychiatrist was my psychiatrist she was the intake coordinator on our local mental health floor, and she told me (more than once) that fall and spring were their busiest times of year. Not the Holidays, like people assumed, but the seasons where things change. In my case that has proved true time and time again, and its nice to hear its not just me that September is out to get. It’s gotten a bit easier with age, and meds, and practice, but Fall is always tough for me too. Hang in there, you’ve got this.

    I love your picture with the curlers. It’s on my Pinterest Super Fan Board.

  49. September is a sneaky, tricky month, particularly for me in AZ when it’s still 100 degrees but I can *feel* that the light has shifted and gone darker, and with it goes my mood. But your blog and your books help, and I’ve taught myself to embroider and I’ve written two novel-length books since I quit my soul-sucking job in 2017. At most, I’ll self-publish them, but the knowledge that I did it—that I wrote some of the stories that have been living in my head for so long—brings me joy.

  50. I remember your blog with the Houston paper as well as the start of this blog. When I was a blogger, you were one of MY readers and commenters. It’s been exciting to see you grow into a new version of life. The last three years have been so intense for me and my family. I’m feeling a bit lost and looking to “remodel” my life yet again. It’s hard but I keep trying.

  51. You’re wonderful, and I love your work.

    On the way to my daughter’s school, there is a yard with a giant metal chicken in it, and every day I pass it I think of you and smile.

  52. My sister introduced you to me 3 years ago after she’d listened to ”Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ” during the drive from Pittsburgh to Portland. I’ve been following you since she read me your “dead arms” story!
    Not good w/fall because of the gloom! Struggle w/depression. You bring light into the dark days! Thank you!

  53. My time in the psych hospital depression/sui ward was during a September. It’s always hard this time of year and I need a light box. Tomorrow is the anniversary of my mom’s death by cancer and that makes it harder.

  54. September is a giant jumble of emotions for me. My kids go back to school/college and are growing into their own people and I love that. My son’s birthday was yesterday (he’s the baby of the three) and although he was unexpected, he is just light and love. But my mom was killed on 9/11 so this month is always hard because I can’t escape the reminders. They’re everywhere, whether I want them to be or not. It’s highs and lows and they really can be hard. But I have looked back over the last year and a half of long covid and am so much better than I was. I survived yet another obstacle thrown in my path so that’s a good thing.

  55. Going into week 5 of being sober from alcohol! My anxiety and depression are gone, my sleep is great, and I have energy again. And I’m proud of myself, which is something I haven’t felt in a long time.

  56. One year post cancer therapy. Feeling so much better and learning to appreciate that I’ll never be the same again and this is my new normal. It’s ok.

  57. I’m proud of finally starting therapy, even though it is hard and scary and I don’t feel worthy of it. I’m proud of you too, for whatever that’s worth coming from a total stranger.

  58. Thank you for this post! Thank you for reminding me to look back and reflect. I’m not Jewish, but I’ve always used the Jewish holidays in September to reflect on the year. I’m not sure why I find that useful. I’m in a better place this year (compared to the last 5 years) and I just hope it sticks. It is hard to fully trust it. It’s just that nothing has ever been easy. It’s been 5 years plus since my daughter passed and hopefully now it is finally getting a little easier to live. I hope the same for you! For everyone, really.

  59. I often marvel at how i am able to continue to push through my tough days. I wonder about those whose tough days are actually preventing them from leaving their beds. I am grateful I haven’t reached that point. As i enter this September, I have suddenly become aware of the concept of Zentangle art and how it might help me to focus and calm myself. I wonder if that is the art technique Jenny uses. I have a lot of tough moments ahead in the very near future. My son is deep into drug addiction and the lifestyle that encompasses. We live in a rural area. He is an adult. I feel there’s little I can do, I know there’s little I understand about the his situation. I am ignorant to the trauma that brought him to drugs and continues to hold him there. I have to stand my ground and force some changes on him in order to eliminate some stress in my life. He has yet to reach his deepest bottom and desire change. Today, I am at work. I am thinking about loss. I know there’s an NPR Life Kit episode about disenfranchised grief that may make sense to me if I just sit and listen to it without distraction.

    Jenny thank you for the reminders to take care of myself. I appreciate you. <3

  60. September is going well simply because i found out you have a new book. Broken is helping me find joy.

  61. I hung all my livingroom pictures in my new house 🙂 it’s what I’ve been telling everyone this week when they ask how I’m doing. I say, “I got my pictures up!” It’s the last thing I do after a move. It makes my new place feel complete. Although technically, it’s not the “last thing”, but it’s the last thing I can do until I get a couple of new (preferrably used) pieces of furniture. This is my “forever home”. I lived here once as a child, I lived here when I first moved out of my parents home, and it’s been my backup place when things would fall apart and I didn’t have anywhere to go. It’s small, technically a mother-in-law house. The only reason I left it the last time was because I had 3 kids, 2 very small bedrooms and I was sleeping in the livingroom. That was 18 years ago. I even wrote an English paper on this house and what it means to me. I’m home. My pictures are up.

  62. I survived raising a baby as someone who hates babies! My daughter started kindergarten a few weeks ago and I feel like a new stage of my life opened up in the past six months because my offspring is now able to handle some things on her own and is becoming a real person I can talk and play games with (you know, the fun part, before they turn into a teenager and hate you and then move out) rather than just some weird parasite that I’m required to worry about 24/7.

    September here in California means the worst of our summer heat, which used to be August but global warming has added 2-3 weeks of extra summer so our previous guaranteed first rain and associated temperature drop by Halloween has been pushed back to as late as Thanksgiving. It’s just started getting hot here in the past couple of weeks and I know the worst of the smoke is still ahead of us. I’m actually starting to hope that 150-year flood happens soon because it would be a nice change from unrelenting drought.

  63. 15 years ago I was incredibly depressed and didn’t tell anyone and had no idea how to handle it except try not to die.
    Now I am on medication, see a therapist, have a light box!, and become very open about my long – term depression and anxiety – and I am planning to start a graduate degree in counseling because mental health has become my passion.
    I may always struggle with depression in some form, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

  64. I’ve been reading your site for a little over 10 years now and I don’t think I’ve ever commented before. But I wanted let you know that you bring me strength because I know that I’m not alone when I have odd thoughts or feel depressed or moody or whatever. So, I wanted to say “Thank you.” To you, but also everyone else in this community – we are all in this together.

    Every year around this time, I write a journal entry that goes over my past year, what I did, what I screwed up, and what I want to see for myself in the coming year. While the idea to do this in September is based on the Jewish new year – I don’t celebrate that as I once did. But this yearly journal entry has stuck around because it always helps me. Like blogging, I think it is really good to see where we came from and where we’re going. Take care everyone.

  65. You, my friend, are a ray of sunshine, no matter what day, month, weather conditions, to me and I know I speak for so very many others! Shine on Jenny Jenn! Shine on! xo

  66. I’m in my sixth year of blogging about my chronic, progressive illness (that also comes with a hefty side helping of anxiety & depression) and I think of it the same way. So many lessons captured that it amazes me that I keep needing to re -learn them (if I’m 100% honest it also annoys the fuck out of me). But somewhere in that time I also found you and that was a very good, miraculous day. I’m glad you keep at it!

  67. I’ve been following you for so long but I remember the very first entry I read of yours. It had to do with a free box of Lego minifigs but they all had a mustachioed face. It was so hilarious and bizarre! But I continued to follow because of posts like this one. It helps to see I’m not alone.
    This past year, I got myself an honest to goodness boyfriend at age 40. Right before the pandemic picked up. We met on an online videogame. But he’s in Canada and haven’t met face to face yet. We’ve talked every day though and it’s helped me more than he knows. I don’t regret anything that came before him because I know if just one thing was different, I might never have met him. It’s what keeps me going. But your insight and affirmations help on those days where I start to doubt how this will end. So thank you, Jenny, and I wish the best for you always.

  68. I’m setting boundaries. Both for myself and for others. I’m not a 711 and I’m not open for your {insert life emergency, drama, wants, etc here} drama 24/7. I realized that I needed my own down time, to breathe, sometimes to sleep, sometimes to veg out, sometimes to clean, or just whatever, but I needed my own time and space. So since something had to change, it was me. I set boundaries.
    I also started taking an anti-depressant again.
    And I feed the dog.

  69. I’m proud that I’ve finally found the courage to rid my life of the most toxic person I’ve ever known. One who has crushed my dreams and stolen years of my life from me. Who has taken experiences that should have been mine and has made them all about her. I finally, for the first time in my life, feel free to be myself and live my life for myself.

  70. I actually finished one of the Fantastic Strangeling books last weekend so I could start Mrs. Marsh. I have such a huge pile of TBR books and very little time between working 45+ hours (veterinary hospital so at least mostly fulfilling work) and raising an almost 4 year old so working through them is a huge accomplishment. Most of my reading these days only gets done if it’s on Kindle.

  71. Jenny- YOU are my light box. My small goal is a broken foot for 6 weeks now of total
    Immobility (with 2 to go) and somehow I still have my laughter.

  72. i’m a retired teacher with six comorbidities and haven’t been able to be with people for nearly two years now. So I started reviewing my favorite books on my Facebook page. Since Sept. 1 of last year I’ve finished 392 of them–all of Jenny’s books included, of course. I get feedback from those who read my suggestions, and that’s a good feeling.

  73. You make me feel like I have a found a place where it’s OK to be where I am. 11 years of that now. For that, not enough Thank yous. THANK YOU

  74. My dad’s roommate at his nursing home told me yesterday that he had a “bowel explosion but at least I didn’t poop in my pants”. That sums it all up for me.

  75. I did therapy, I take my meds, I use a light box… the most effective thing was starting a gratitude post once a week on Facebook. I’m willingly obliged to write about something I’m thankful for, and it’s altered my worldview. I still have dark moments (thanks, pandemic stress and science deniers), but I more often feel even-keeled and enthusiastic.

  76. This post makes me think one thing I ought to be more proud of is blogging since 2009. I started when my agent told me I needed to be on social media. The agent couldn’t sell my book, and most of the time it feels like I’m talking into the ether, but I’m still blogging. So thank you for helping me to see that. <3

  77. Hey all….. just posting something that might help….. the Ketamine clinic we work with in San Antonio and Austin (also Denver) is using Oxytocin to aid in the benefit of Ketamine. You can also get it for daily use in pill form from Compounding pharmacies. I have noted a huge positive difference in my daughter who is taking it daily. You can also get daily Ketamine trochies to keep a low dose of Ketamine in your system to fight depression. Just some info from a “mom / care-taker”…. love to you all …. wishing you all the best.

  78. I love you, always have. (Not a creepy stalky love, but an ‘I’m so grateful for you’ love). I still have an email from you that I read over and over when I’m feeling blue.

    Both of my kids moved this month, a day apart. One off to college and the other to Georgia. I put on make-up today. That’s my accomplishment. Baby steps I guess.

  79. This morning, my alarm went off in the middle of a dream where I was having a complete anxiety meltdown. A couple years ago (pre-meds), I would have been a total mess and had to call off work for the day. This morning, however, I made myself get up, took my dog out, got ready for work, and showed up ready to go (still super anxious, but ready to go). Over the last couple of years, I’ve had good and bad days, but my boundaries have shifted a bit to more functional and I am proud of myself for how I’ve handled it.

  80. Being naturally introverted with depression, the pandemic has raised my social anxiety through the roof. This past weekend, I not only showered and got dressed (both huge accomplishments in and of themselves), but I also left the house!

  81. I have always hated September. On the 17th of September in 1997 my dad was killed in a helicopter crash in Bosnia. I was 20 years old. Nineteen years later, my mom died on the 17th of September of a cancer she refused to admit she had and a head injury she never told anyone about (we found out looking though her notes). This September, my husband and I, despite being vaccinated, both have Covid. I hate September. But perhaps, just maybe, there’s a lesson somewhere in all of it.Maybe someday I’ll figure out what it is and be able to express it correctly.

  82. Wow. The timing on this is insane. I was thinking just an hour ago that I barely have enough energy to put the clothes from the washer into the dryer. The thought of doing everything that needs to be done is overwhelming. It’s been a hard week. I appreciate your candor and honesty and real talk.
    One thing I’m proud of is still being here.

  83. This is me, except February is my hell month. Holidays are past, cabin fever sets in, and I just want to go to sleep and wake up in March. Best wishes for a short, happy-filled September for you!!

  84. I loved September as a kid. My birthday! School!

    But now it means it’s time to renew my car registration and some years get new tags and some years a new license . . . . Then I went and bought a house in September, so that’s when the home insurance bill is due, along with half the car insurance, and you know what?

    September not only wants to kill me, it wants me to die broke.

    I’m proud of not letting it do either. Take THAT, September!

  85. Hailey is writing a musical! I love that.

    Today I literally have a new beginning! My girls are both in school all day for the first time ever and I wrote 800 words of a new first chapter for my novel, which I recently realized started in the wrong place. I’m hoping to finish a first draft by the end of the first semester.

  86. How can you love fall and feel sad that it’s fall at the same time? That’s what I do. I love the colors, the crispness in the air and pumpkins! I also feel sad and like a curtain is closing. It is a weird juxtaposition.

  87. Yep. Definitely feeling the loss of sunlight already. Thanks for putting it into words I needed.

  88. I am proud that I got out of bed this morning and while I have spent most of it crying, I am still here.

  89. Mine isn’t just about September, it’s about surviving the last 10 years. Every year my new year’s resolution has been to survive the year and stay alive. I haven’t cut myself in 4 years. Through it all, and a survivor. I fight every single day but I’ve survived.

  90. Thank you for adding your light to my day. I agree; September can be a tough month. Fall is my favorite season, but it always makes me sad, too. It’s the end of summer and the start of the holiday season. I’m reminded of people who are no longer in my life for one reason or another. It causes major flare ups with my fibromyalgia. But I’m still here, still chugging along. Ironically, your first book is the last one I finished (just a few days ago, actually). I learned how to paper piece recently, so I’ve set my sights on making a quilt for the first time. I’m crocheting a baby blanket for my husband’s coworker. And I’m looking forward to taking small child to the store for a Tinkerbell costume for Halloween. So thank you for reminding me to feel proud of myself for making goals and finding things in each day to enjoy. And, as always, thank you for being you 💜

  91. Yesterday I walked amongst Beyonces big and small at an antique show. I smiled as I thought of you.

  92. 1. My husband had a friend he grew up with who just killed herself. He showed me a picture of her and her kids and asked, “What would she have to be depressed about?” Because of following your story and your blog, I was able to try to explain to him how depression lies and messes up your brain. You gave me the words to try to explain, and I think maybe he got it. Thank you for that.
    2. I retired from 40 years of teaching in May. While I miss the kids and actual teaching dreadfully, I know I’m in a much better place for my body and brain. The last few years were such a struggle, but I’m proud of myself for seeing what I needed to do, even though I beat myself up with guilt over leaving my special ed kids.

  93. I just finished my first ever full Alaska tourist season working for a business I helped build. I’ve been so busy these last few years that I keep forgetting to stop and recognize how far I/we have come with everything. Thanks for the reminder to stop and celebrate. It’s just so important! And while I am glad to finally to take a rest, I’m really, really, REALLY not ready for ‘pumpkin spice season.’ Where did the summer go?!?

  94. One good thing about September is the ripe tree fruit – pears, plums, apples. Just waiting for me to make crisp, pie, jam and chutney. All stuff that can help me feel better on the bad days. Love your books so much.

  95. I haven’t “accomplished” anything yet, but 4 months shy of 40 and I’m starting IVF to become a single mom by choice.

  96. I’m proud of myself for staring intensive outpatient therapy and resigning from a job that was making me sick on Friday. Thank you for sharing your struggles. My friend and I were just talking about how we just want to run away in September. What a serendipitous post.

  97. Maybe it’s because September is supposed to be the start of Fall, and cooler weather, and here it is hotter than August?

  98. Ah, Jenny. Yes to this. This September, I have alternated between hugely productive days of extended work and days I can barely move from the bed. Thank you for the reminder. xo

  99. Sadly, I have several moments in the year that just attack me. This July, I was laid off after 17 yrs of work. I knew the work was not my passion. But as I have not found anything that I’m good at, that I’m passionate about…it was all I had. So…I’m an ‘older woman’ job hunting.
    My Mother’s birthday and the day she died. The day my dog died. The Whole month of February. As a perpetual single person, unable to find the man I could trust, love, or even hold hands with..that month with all its pink/red hearts, and ads for jewelry, flowers, etc…I hate it. Just reminds me of what I can’t have.

    When it starts to get darker sooner, I try to remind myself that as least perhaps the temperatures might start to cool off soon. (I hope) I hate really hot temperatures. (I know, Texas is a great place to live for that! )

    I also try to remember little today… today is the 55th anniversary of Star Trek! On this day in 1966, this unknown SciFi show premiered. It struggled and fought. (something we all can understand) It was cancelled, but it was loved so was brought back. It was cancelled again. It sat in the dark…But not forgotten. Still loved. For years…it was loved.. and that love grew. Until it was brought back into the sun..with a movie. And more movies happed…more people loved it. New shows were created, children were introduced to it, and loved it too.

    This is something I’m trying to learn. Things are a struggle. But we’re loved. By friends, family. Even when we are in the dark..and it seems like years … we can find the sun. And we are still loved.

    Sending out some love to you all! 💛💛


  100. I love fall, because I’m a New Englander on the CT coast. The leaves start to turn beautiful colors, there are country fairs, apple picking, the air smells different, the sunshine becomes a warm rare present when you find it in the cool, crisp air, the squirrels bustle about, I love the thought of Thanksgiving around the corner. That being said, my mother’s seasonal depression kicks in and she has to hug the light box once a day, and my mother in law starts being depressed and angry until after New Year’s Day. I have an aunt and an uncle who moved to Canada and Sweden, despite both suffering from depression. (Who chooses to move to countries that are dark all winter, when you suffer from SAD?) I was born in February, which means I have my birthday to look forward to for winter after Christmas season is over. My least favorite month is March, cold, wet, muddy, until I see crocus or snowdrops peeking through the snow, I’m crabby at the end of winter before spring arrives.
    I’ve never been a fan of blow drying my hair, even when it was long, I’d rather sleep a little later. I love your curlers photo because the resigned exasperation on your face and posture is exactly how so many of us feel when we have to get ready to face the world. You have given us a safe space to be okay with not being okay. This past year and three quarters has been bearable because we have had each other’s backs in our shared struggle in your posts and your commenters comments on your posts. So thank you to every one of you, because you have helped me when I felt I needed a community to understand what I struggle with, without me having to explain myself. I’m grateful for you all, and proud of you hanging in there during this incredibly difficult time in history.

  101. September sees me recovering from brain surgery and my husband alive and recovering from a massive heart attack. And I am finally dipping my toe back into dissertation waters and hoping my shark advisor doesn’t bite it off again.

  102. I am so glad you started blogging. I have my lightbox ready to go… but this September, just yesterday, I published my second book of short stories. I win the first week!

  103. September is my least favorite month of the year. It’s the end of my favorite season, summer, the excitement for the start of a new school year has begun to wear off and the stress sets in, and I’ve lost three close family members during this month. I often think of that Green Day song “Wake Me Up When September Ends” when I think of my relationship with this month.

    In August I switched school districts, moving to one much closer to home. September has brought some hard days as I learn and adjust to new personalities and systems, but I also feel like I’ve accomplished a move that was necessary and beneficial for myself and my family.

  104. I love you Jenny and I’m so glad you don’t have to go to that awful job anymore and that you are still here with us in spite of everything life has thrown at you. You are so courageous and so kind. So here’s what I’m proud of: I’m proud that I’m still trying to finish reading this book that I’m supposed to evaluate and then edit, even though I am almost paralyzed with depression and chronic pain. I’m proud I took my friend’s advice and am letting my computer read the book to me even though I don’t like to be read to because, ADD. I’m proud that I’m still alive, even though there have been some very dark days recently and I feel helpless and hopeless and weary most of the time. And I’m so thankful that I have kids who are supportive and understanding about all my issues, and an equally supportive, kind husband. Thanks for all you do for us nameless anonymous souls out here, Jenny. We need you. And we love you. Please don’t ever forget that. ❤️

  105. Wow, I never heard that about September but totally feel it! I hate the oppressive heat of summer but I’m feeling so down right now. (Though that’s really not so different from any other season!)

    I first thought “well I have absolutely zero to be proud of” but I’ve actually started meds recently and they are hardly magical but they did help. And I quit a very toxic job — I’m still stressed beyond words but that was a really scary but really good move.

    Thanks for making me acknowledge more than just my shortcomings!!!

  106. This is a beautiful post. Looking back and realizing so much time has passed and reflecting on where you were and where you are now can be such an eye-opening thing.
    For me (and my family in general, it seems) March is the ‘September’ you speak of, the month when every single year things go wrong and depression gets worse and something totally ridiculous happens and I glance at the calendar and ‘oh yeah, it’s March, of course’ with an eyeroll and a sigh. (Though that doesn’t necessarily mean the other months are always easier…)

    Something I’ve accomplished lately, at this point all I can really think of is that fact that yesterday did not end with me in a hospital. Yesterday was absolutely horrid, for multiple unexpected reasons, and included an hour-long hysterical-crying panic attack and made the entire day just feel kind of foggy and numb after. Like, it’s that kind of thing where even now I sort of feel disconnected from reality, even though I’m here and reading/typing I don’t really feel connected with anything? And yet I *am* here, at home, safe, I did not self-harm, and I’m surviving. So…. Yay?

  107. Last year at this time, my anxiety was through the roof because my son was starting virtual school and I was recovering from COVID and had no energy or stamina. This September, I’m still really proud that I got through last September. And last whole damned school year, in fact. Yes, I’m 43 and have a degree and I’m most proud of the fact that I survived Grade 5 in 2020-2021.

  108. Thanks so much for the reminder! I need to dust off my happy light. (I swear, that really is the brand name). I’ve accomplished creating a space in my home that’s just for me. This had been a goal for years, but I never had the energy to tackle it. Well, this spring and summer, I did. And I have a whole room that is my art space, functional and inviting to be in. I love it!

  109. I reconnected with an old friend over our love of your blog. We were in each other’s lives a lot even though we were across the country from one another.

    We stuggled with “the madness” too. One year she rendered a photo of your buddy, James Garfield, and gave it to me for Christmas. I framed it.

    We kind of drifted.

    But I reconnected with her, magically, last month.

    Thank you, Jenny. May you always speed through dread & linger over joy. 💜

  110. Last week I realized I was paralyzed by the amount of work needed to get the apartment clean. Honestly, it’s never bad but I just can’t do the heavy work. I have someone come in every 3 months or so but I needed the help now. So I reminded myself to ask for help and called. Now that the cleaner has come and gone, I feel much better. It is the little things that help us cope.

  111. Was a time I quit everything I ever started because of my crazy. The one thing I haven’t quit is doing my best a day at a time to wrestle with and look for solutions to living with bipolar II. I’m sober today and celebrating 23 years with my wife end of Sept. I’m grateful for that.

  112. Today is my birthday, so yes, I am always glad to have made it for another year. I am the middle child so my older sister (lives in Ca.) thinks my birthday was yesterday and my younger brother (lives in TX) thinks it’s tomorrow. EVERY. YEAR. This has been going on for decades and I can’t get upset because we’re all in our 60’s now and so I just celebrate a 3 day birthday.

  113. I’m glad you’re here. Your struggle snd joys have inspired so many of us — myself included.

    Eight years ago I attempted to end my life. I was so despondent over my husband’s affairs and his subsequent unwillingness to take responsibility for his actions that I felt I had no choice. I was DONE. So I said goodbye to my three beautiful grown children and took a combination of medications that should have killed me. But my son called me after getting my message, and saved me from myself.

    I still live with the guilt that I caused my kids so much pain — but I’m also grateful every day to be alive. Each day I fight — with medication, meditation and forgiveness for myself and my husband — to stay here, to keep trying, and to use the time I’ve been given to help others.

    Since that day I’ve become a nurse practitioner, helping women learn to love and trust their bodies. I have made friends who I love dearly. I’ve traveled. I’ve become a grandmother twice over. And it still hurts. I’m still angry. But I’m trying.

    I wish I didn’t have to remain anonymous, but as a health care provider in a small town I have no choice, at least for now. Maybe someday that will change, as the stigma of mental illness melts away.

    In the meantime, I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad we’re all here.

  114. September is trying to cram in as much time on the motorcycle as I can. I know what’s coming up here in Minnesota. I’ve refilled my meds. I love your writing and your humor and you even if I don’t know you. You are amazing. Thank you for quitting that shitty HR job and doing what you love.

  115. I’m 8 months past quitting a job that was destroying my mental health. I’m in therapy for the first time getting the help I’ve needed for years. Medium just paid me 4 cents for August writing so now I am a professional writer 🙂

  116. It’s been thirteen years since my stroke. The morning after the stroke, I couldn’t even sit up in my hospital bed, and it was a major effort to drag my left arm across my chest.
    I used to comment under the screen name Doug in Oakland, and I still love Oakland, but after becoming disabled, there was no way I could afford to live there, and believe me, I tried everything I could think of.
    Now I live in Sugar Pine, just south of the gate to Yosemite.
    Most days I walk up the winding road to the old mill pond and talk with the geese, ducks, and frogs. It’s difficult to navigate the little hill leading down from the road to the dam, but I do it, day after day.
    I remember sitting in my wheelchair at stroke rehab and seeing folks just walking around doing their business, and wondering if I would ever be able to just walk around again.
    Now I know the answer. Yes I can. It’s hard and clumsy, and I still use a quad-cane, but two hours from now, I’ll get up, go outside, take the stairs down to the road, and start up the hill toward the pond again. The geese have gone for the year, but there are still hella ducks and frogs.

  117. This is the first time seeing your blog, that I know of. I enjoyed reading your contemplation of how much can change in 15 years. So true!

    I don’t associate Sept. with bad things, partly because the weather here in SF is usually blue and sparkling. I usually feel an uplift after the foggy summer…

    One thing that I pulled off and feel so proud of is to have gotten a book review published *today* in the Internet Review of Books! I reviewed The Letters of Shirley Jackson. It has been years since a review of mine got published, so … yay 🙂

  118. I just survived a 15 day migraine flare. Once again my doc failed to provide relief, I try every time this happens although I know they will offer no real help. So by the 12th day of unremitting pain, nausea and sleeplessness at 65 years old, I was reduced to cradling my cat, sobbing and wanting my mommy. Yeah. Bipolar, anxiety disorder, chronic migraines and cluster headaches. I am surviving all that day by day. I am one badass bitch.

  119. Don’t need a light box in the UK this week, we’ve had excessive amounts of sun for the time of year and I hate it because I don’t cope well with being hot and it shouldn’t be hot in September, it should be ‘seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness’.

    Weirdly, to help me through these too hot to move, think or sleep days (I can’t get no relief) I’ve binge watched Battlestar Galactica (again). One more ep before bed!

  120. I actually went outside and spent a few hours walking in the park near me on Monday. (I’m an “indoor cat”/hermit)

  121. My art collective put together a newspaper, and I have a piece in it, and we’re celebrating its inaugural issue in the backyard at a local pub this evening!

  122. I love this, and I love your attitude. You never cease to amaze me. I, however, hate the hard, harsh light of summer and can’t wait for the slanting, golden, cooler light of fall. My favorite time of year. Isn’t it funny how we can all see the same things through different filters? I’m glad you continue to find the beauty and the joy in this vale of tears. That’s so important. ❤️

  123. You inspire. I’m preparing for retirement and I may write a blog. Sure that no one will read it but it will be out there. I am not creative (you are) but I can share my accumulated programming tips and tricks with a new generation. And write. Finally, write. Thank you for hanging in there for us. We love you so much

  124. I can’t be the only one who wants to hear about the time you almost set the house on fire.

  125. I’ve been blogging for about the same amount of time. I miss the heyday when there were lots of talented mothers writing about their lives in this form. Yours is one of the few blogs that didn’t disappear on me, and I am tremendously glad it’s here.

    What am I proud of this week? I think that my oldest started college and we’re doing okay so far. I’m finding ways to appreciate what our home is with one person missing. Plus she communicates with me a little every day so I don’t feel out of touch.

  126. Ahhhhh I have been with you all along. Got the guts to leave a shitty marriage and its good. Tweet tweet mother focker

  127. I can not even express how much I needed this today. I have been off my meds for a few months and this past week or two just spiraled into anxiety and depression. Today is a little better. I made myself go outside and do yard work this afternoon. I’ll be contacting my doctor about going back on meds so I can struggle less through the long, cold, dark New England winter.

    Thanks for being more honest than I ever can be. It helps to not feel alone.

  128. I feel you!! Turned 66 today. For the first time in my life I feel my age. I have 4-6 doctor appointments every week. My therapist dropped me after eight weeks because she doesn’t take my VA payments
    Like a hot rock 😱😡. Six weeks before I can see the new one. Just have to keep trying. Sigh…
    And I love the hair curler photo. Keep at it. Love you!

  129. I was nominated and won Philadelphia’s Remarkable Woman of 2020 and the trip I won to NYC with all the other women around the state was cancelled. Just this past week, I was able to go to the city and meet 21 other winners and finally feel like I stepped out of the dark if just for a few days, being acknowledged for the work I do in my community. It was a big win for me 🙂 and a big crushing blow on my depression (for now).

  130. This is an interesting perspective, I’ve always felt like September is when I come back to life after the sluggish misery of summer 😆 For so many years September was always the start of new things – new school years, moving into new apartments, moving to a new city. I’m not on a school calendar anymore, but I still feel energized as soon as the temps start to cool down and I can actually go for a walk without turning into a puddle of sweat. There’s no more pressure to have a “beach body” or go out in the sun and pretend I’m enjoying myself, instead I can wear hoodies and watch horror movies. I think I’m most fully myself in fall.

  131. Wow! This is exactly what I needed today. This first week of September has been rough and today I finally gave myself permission to honor the fatigue and rest. That was tough to do and I was feeling quite depressed about it so I looked you up because your posts always help uplift me. This one most of all—so far. I read all the comments (I never do that) and I posted a comment (I never do that either) but it’s so nice to know I’m not alone. Thank you

  132. I love my lightbox. I actually pulled it out last week (of course I am in New England. There is never quite enough light here).

    My husband and I got the last of our children off to college this month. We are true empty nesters for the first time! (Sad and glad).

  133. I live in sunny Southern California where it’s always blue skies and sun. Every September I fall into a pit and forget each year it happens till you post something like this and I remember it’s not just me. You have no idea how much that helps. I love all of you on this blog and I’m proud of every single one of you for still being here in the world. Even if you don’t feel loved I love you

  134. My therapist and I talked about this today strangely enough. She pointed out that while the things that sink me into anxiety/depression and suicide ideation no longer do that. At this time. That I am able to use the mental tools I have learned and realize that though I am the family “crazy one” – their opinions do not matter and we know they are the ones who could really benefit from therapy and meds. 😂😂

  135. Beyonce the BMC is and always will be dear to my heart. As for my September, this year it marks one month since my breast reduction surgery. I’m still healing, but very soon I will be able to buy swimsuits and bras off the rack in ordinary stores, and that is my light box this fall!

  136. My husband and I had a difficult but good conversation about how we communicate and learn differently, and we are figuring out the disconnect and adapting

  137. I was finally able to hang some shelves I’ve been meaning to for the last year and a half but was too sick to. Now I have better places for my plants and fall decor. It makes me happy.

  138. This weekend hit me like a ton of bricks and last night I went to bed just promising myself that I had two beautiful babies who needed me to stay alive. It’s September again, and while I love fall I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Billie Joe asks to be woken up once September ends.

  139. As always very well done Jenny. U make me laugh til I cry, remind me not to b so hard on myself, and I’m not alone. The tribe gets bigger all the time.

  140. OMG I never put this together. I always knew that because August 30th/30st was the anniversary of the murder attempt on my life I would have difficulties.

    This year has been horrid. I’m having “stress Dreams” , throwing up, headaches, just don’t know how to break this cycle. I know it isn’t my meds. I have another situation.

    But September is hard.

    Thank you so much for writing this. My friend Jen L alerted me to toy probably 12 years ago. I don’t read as often as I should but you make wonderful posts.

  141. I just keep going. I suppose that is something to be proud of. Past the loss of loved ones, past the gunfire that ripped through my kitchen, to the second job after the first job a couple days a week. I keep going, but what really stands out to me? I crack myself up. Every day. I’m pretty funny, and I really don’t care if I’m the only one who’s laughing (hardly ever happens) but I firmly believe in the benefits of laughter, and I’m proud that I can still laugh, no matter how hard things get, how warped my thinking needs to be to find humor, I can find it.

  142. September is a piece of cake for me. Now December… that shitty month owned my non-existent soul. I beat it last year by quitting my job and getting a much better one in March. But I had to quit that job to take an even better one in April. Hoping this coming December is nothing like the last few…

  143. September is exhausting. For me it’s going back to school and rebuilding the stamina plus now I just can’t be exhausted and achy because of that. Now it’s “That’s a COVID symptom!” initiate panic sequence.

  144. September is a fascinating month for the Northern Hemisphere as historically, like centuries and many decades historically, many things have started or turned during the month and had never thought of how the light changing be it on the American or European continent could be partly the trigger.

    Here in Australia, September is me bracing for the incoming bite of heat and horrendous humidity that will not let up – at it’s worse it will be present 24hours a day and is a trigger for migraines and overheating issues (aircon doesn’t help unless I live in a bubble of it).

    The past 15 years, spiralling downwards physical health that culminated in a cancer diagnosis and recovery during a pandemic (cause why do covid when you can do cancer 🤦‍♀️) sees me learning to finally accept my body for being the vehicle that keeps on keeping on. And learning to embrace the activities that light me up (which has never been blow drying my hair….actually think I no longer have a hairdryer).

    Thank you for your posts arriving to me in an non stalkery inbox way.

  145. Our summers are so brutal that I look forward to September for a little relief from the heat. Sometimes we get it, sometimes no. Last year my HVAC was running through Thanksgiving, which isn’t normal. A normal September has days in the upper 80s, low 90s, which after months of excessive and extreme heat warnings is blissful. And I don’t really notice a loss of light until October. That’s when I start driving to and from work in the dark. 🙁

  146. Ah. Acknowledging the need to be somewhere else in life takes courage. I’m doing the same with HOLD Hearing Out Life Drama. When the new thing comes but isn’t all the way yet, remembering where we started from can definitely help. Your photo has power.

  147. I signed up for Ginger so I can maybe get past my previous experience with therapy and be a grown up person.

  148. Thank you. I always seem to forget that September gets so difficult for me and my depression. But here it is again, but I’m not alone. 💙💜💙

  149. Thank you for being my light today. You and your blog reach me and you verbalize so well some of what I am feeling and that is a wonderful gift . Thank you🥰

  150. Today I finally felt capable of writing the Appeal to the denial of my Short Term Disability claim. It’s been sitting since I got the letter in early June. 2021 has been nothing but a major depressive episode, talk therapy, additional medication, and more TMS. But today I wrote the letter. I’ve still got steps to take to submit it (like actually mailing it? Stamps? Envelopes? Ugh). But today I wrote the letter.

  151. I bought a ‘happy lamp’ It runs all day when i am working. This blog is also a ‘happy lamp’.

  152. I remember finding your blog in 2008, at a time where I was alone in an unfamiliar city, reading (and cry-laughing to) your blog laaaate into the night. Thank you for making the Septembers more bearable for us.

  153. I hiked for an hour and fifteen minutes to clear my head. For me, the blazing, eye-melting light of summer (and the godawful heat) are what trigger a depressive cycle. There actually is a thing called “reverse SADD” (The NYT did a story about it years ago)! Anyway, I’m proud to have kicked my eating disorder of three decades, and have been taking the recovery one day at a time for the last three years–the power of threes? I live for the winter months, and being forcibly barred from my second home in the mountains–because it’s in Canada, and I’m a Brit-American, and there has been a pandemic–broke my heart, because I needed cold, snow, winter, and gray skies, and my main home is in Florida (don’t ask). My husband and I have lost two friends in the past year–one to the pandemic, and one to suicide. Numerous others have fallen ill, and some have lost their businesses. I fear for my youngest son, still in college–he has been doing online courses, but that can’t go on forever. All that said, though, I feel very lucky. And right now, I’m in Québec, alone and lonely, but grooving on the chilly atmosphere and the challenging mountain hikes. Writing is difficult (when isn’t it?) but life rolls on. Love to you. XXX DNT

  154. I love how self reflective you are. My depression strategy has been to throw a match over my shoulder and march forward.

  155. I was finally able to check off “write a book” from my bucket list. It was just recently released – woot!

  156. We’ve been dealing with having to have our 18 year old cat put down three weeks ago. She’s been declining for awhile now but started having seizures. It was time. But I miss her so. Luckily we still have our two dogs. Rosie, my heart dog and Gracie, our “sense of humor” dog. She’s a gigantic goofball. So, bitter and sweet. Hang in there, October’s coming…

  157. I finally decided to live for me and not others. I sold my house (nightmare) and moved to Hawaii!!! (Also a nightmare but seems to be a dream to come true as the time passes.) I also got a new puppy!!! Learning to live in the moment and meditating every day. I’m proud of me!!

  158. September darkness is real. My brother took his life the 28th of this month and I spend all of August, dreading September. I will celebrate him. I will not wallow. I will certainly cry, but I will move from bitter to bitter-sweet. Thank you for the constant reminder and push towards the light.

  159. I’m proud that I wasn’t too proud or stubborn to ask for help when I needed it recently. I started taking medication for depression and anxiety and am going to start seeing a therapist next week. Not all days are good but there is good in every day. Some days we just have to look extra hard to find it.
    You continue to inspire me, and so many others, in ways I can’t express.

  160. I just barely started a new job and although I stress out the whole time I’m working, I have made it through every single day and have not given up even though that’s all I want to do. While there are sometimes tears shed after work, I leave knowing that I did my best that day.

  161. I picked up my drawing pens for the first time in I don’t know how long. Maybe even this whole year. I feel like I’m being smothered and am taking life one very dark day at a time. I can’t figure out next week because I can’t see tomorrow. Thank you for the reminder that September is awful.

  162. Thanks for the reminder to get out my lightbox.
    This September seems harder than most for me, but maybe I just don’t remember because I spectacularly fail to blog on a regular basis. FB posts remind me of a lot of things, but I tend not to post about feeling bad all that often.
    This September *is* harder than others though, at least for me.
    Last year it was a pandemic, but we were all pulling together and even though we had one fewer staff member to do the job I do, we were a T.E.A.M.! And by gum, we could do this thing! We were all struggling together! We’d given up that member to do the hard job of teaching online, and everyone was making sacrifices.
    Now we’re all back in school full time (mostly) but we didn’t get our staff member back and there is more work to do and the reason we have fewer people to do more is….because we really don’t matter much, I guess.
    So it’s harder.
    I think, maybe I will go do some of my own blogging now and see if it improves anything.
    Thanks for writing.
    Someone else said it and I will agree: you are the light box for many of us.

  163. Just quit a job I used to love to try my hand at writing. I love this time of year, but this Autumn is scary and wonderful all at the same time. If I fall on my face, at least I will know that I tried. Thank you for being one of my lights in the darkness! Much love. <3

  164. New colorful socks help – of course, I live way up north so that’s part of it. I’ve been feeling the axis shift, too, but start riding lessons on Friday so I’m really excited. I’m 60 and it’s my dream of my whole life. Love to you and your family and gratitude for the years of laughter and tears.

  165. This was my first week back to work after maternity leave and I started my period again for the first time since I got pregnant.

    September came out swinging this year but I’m medicated vaccinated and still fucking standing. Go team me!

  166. Thank you for putting it into words. I wrote a daily journal from age 12 to age 54 and stopped when we moved from Chicago to Door County. I wish I’d kept it up but the move was traumatic on so many levels. Most of my worst times happened in the summer so no idea why I’ve always dreaded September…you’d think I’d have welcomed it. Another one of my brain’s great mysteries…

  167. I started a button collection this month thanks to you. I’m actually able to sit down in front of the tv without feeling anxious and be with my family all while sorting my buttons. The feel of them on my hands is calming and the satisfaction of sorting them feels great. I’m 40 and this is huge for me.

  168. I quit my nursing job after 40 years my last day was last Friday. A huge weight has lifted. I am now writing and reading and reflecting. My third act is beginning.

  169. I’ve survived the first month of the kids being back in school. One of my sons is autistic, and struggles immensely with physical aggression. School has been especially hard on him these past few years. This past month has been no less difficult, but we aren’t stopping. We keep pushing on, and I’m proud of him, and myself. One day at a time.

  170. I survived Labour Day weekend. I thought that I was always overly anxious because the kids go back to school after it and my husband is inevitably called away for work and gone all weekend and I hate when summer is over and I hate transitions from freedom to overly scheduled time…so I thought for sure this weekend would be better because the kids had been back to school ahead of the weekend…but then my mom ended up in the hospital; my husband got called away; and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball of anxiety and do the nothing…I did some of that and then did all the rest of things too…but September used to be my favourite month and now it’s my least 🙁

  171. This is beautiful, strong and inspiring! My sis suffers from SAD. Why she moved from California to Washington I’ll never know, but I followed her here. Fall is my favorite time of year. May is my September if you know what I mean. It rolls around and I want to curl up and cry. Wish they made a light box for my problem, whatever that is. My May accomplishment was getting off my butt, stop being afraid, buy a house and move. So I did. During Covid. Now it is Sept and I’m still in boxes but I’m working on it. Thank You for sharing the ups and downs with us, no matter the month, through the years.

  172. I needed this more than you know. Actually you probably do know. We’ve been to a lot of the same dark places. Thank you. Thank you for being a light. And reminding me to get my light box out. 💙

  173. Last September I was an enumerator with the census. I had to convince strangers to give me their names, and their children’s names, and birthdates, etc. I’m socially awkward, terribly shy, terrified of conflict, have low self-esteem…you get the idea. At the start of every shift my heart raced through my chest. My anxiety tried to convince me to quit, that the stress wasn’t worth it. Every shift was either 100 degrees or raining so I was always wet and my hair was a frizzy mess. I was a frizzy mess on the inside, too. I started each shift with a long, deep breath to calm myself. I repeatedly told myself ‘I got this’. And I rocked it! I somehow convinced the unconvincible to share their information with me. I did an amazing job and am so proud of myself for working through my anxiety and fears.

  174. Remembering I’m part of weird and messed up community that your blog represents and finding strength in it.

  175. September showed up last week and kind of literally tried to kill my state with flooding and tornados. I am actually incredibly lucky that I only got about an inch of water in my (unfinished) basement, and didn’t lose anything I particularly cared about. And it forced us to accomplish the basement cleaning that my husband has intended to do for the past 3 summers! It actually looks better than it did before.

  176. I learned what my boundaries are and enforce them without fail. I’ve accepted that my body is a battleground and sometimes (like yesterday) it’s enough that I was very hydrated which made my biologic infusion easier. I lost my grandmother on the first of the month suddenly and unexpectedly, and those boundaries I mentioned – they are what are keeping me safe and sane. I’ve reached out for help because grief is hard enough when relationships are largely positive, but relationships with family that are strained due to trauma, and gaslighting make knowing when to call in the cavalry (friends, found family, and therapist) feel a little easier.

  177. I’m still here. And I tried on 6 pair of jeans, all too small and going to the thrift store.

  178. I got a call from my childhood friend’s sister about an hour ago. I had told her a year ago that if something happened to her sister to please call me no matter what time of day or night, to let me know. Her sister had stopped talking to any of us a year ago. Her sister would randomly check on her and get her to talk. Then a couple of weeks ago, my friend told her sister that when she wanted to talk to her, she would let her know. I kept thinking during that time frame that I should call, send another email or snail mail, or text. Her sister had been trying to call her and no answer. The sheriff got a call to do a well check on my friend. Her sister called me tonight to let me know that my friend had passed away. Her sister and I shared tears of grief and sorry and even some laughter of better times. I let her sister know that her sister did truly love her from words we had exchanged in better times over the years. I don’t have to worry about how she’s doing any more. However, it doesn’t ease my heart that she didn’t know that she didn’t have to be alone this past year. Maybe she did know that but chose otherwise. I’m going to miss her even more now because there’s no chance of seeing her again.

    Peace, Prayers, and Blessings to others who’s hearts lie broken on the ground due to grief this night.


  179. Things are still stressful, but this weekend I felt a small “shift.” Things felt just a bit more hopeful. I am going to hang on to that tight to get me through.

  180. I’m a little jealous that you have the old photo to track your changes. My online presence is anonymous, so I always look like Darth Vader here.

    I have made progress though. Currently I am beginning the query process for my first novel (just making a list right now) and THAT is a major achievement for me! I am proud of that.
    Now if only I had the guts to let my online self join my IRL self, and let the chips fall where they may.

  181. My now ex nearly shot me in 2012 after I said we would divorce. Due to other things he’d done earlier it was hard to get a protective order. But I did it and divorce him in winter of that year. That’s when I found this blog. There was no where to go for help with how depressed I was, you save me. Thanks.

  182. I love your hopeful tone here. Thank you Jenny, thank you for all you bring. And I’m going to go pull out my light box.

  183. Yeah, Septembers are rough. I have a bunch of thing going on my life that are pretty bad and I thought I was just starting to tackle them AGAIN and my sciatica rebelled. I’ve been stuck in bed for almost a week unable to get much done and I’m aggravated as hell because I don’t have the time or anyone to help much. I’m tired of being frustrated with everything. There’s some good stuff I’m working on but they’re on the back burner for now. Ah well, I’ll keep trucking.

  184. I am proud of the fact that despite my best efforts, my two kids are amazing, talented, confident and capable people on the verge of being grown up. I’m not crying – you’re crying!

  185. I’m proud of each one of us…putting a foot forward, all the times we don’t feel it. I’m proud of a stance I took over a family matter, stood my ground for the good and protection of children, where others failed to see the harm they were doing and have done. Those “family” members are no longer in my life and I breathe easier..for it. 💖

  186. Ive been following you for a very long time. You have helped me understand what depression truly is, the lows AND the highs. And yeah, love the hammock.
    My biggest accomplishment this year (as in other years but moreso this year for some reason) was using my husband’s BobCat and the log splitter. He showed me how to turn the thing on, and then he left me to it. We burn wood (three stoves, no waiting) all winter, and most of it’s delivered in early summer. This year we ordered 8 cords and yes, that is a honking lot of wood to split, handle., and stack. Some we cut ourselves, to add to the mix. I managed to split nearly all of it, throw it into the shed, and then stack it. 11 rows, 6 feet high, 12 feet across.
    As a return favor, he’s been mowing the lawns and because of Covid doing the grocery shopping. It’s a kind of role reversal.

    I’m not sure how many more years I can do this, but i also know that as long as I DO it, that makes it easier. You stop, you rust.

    I am also very proud of those of you who fought back, who took charge of something that needed doing, and didn’t waver. Good on all of you.

  187. So many of us think the rat race is “oh, so important” when we’re younger. One of the perks of growing older is learning to truly relax and enjoy the small pleasures in life, whatever that might be for you. Thanks for the insightful article.

  188. This morning I was reminded how far my niece had come in September after being badly burned in an ATV accident in June and having spent most of the summer in the ICU. We decorated cupcakes for her birthday using a hand she had no strength in the month before and handed them out to the nurses where she was staying for occupational therapy. That was 4 years ago. Tomorrow she turns 13 and she I’m not even mad she is an angsty teen who feels any chores are totally unfair. She’s also kind. She doesn’t care who sees her scars. And she is always up for an adventure. I got her a gift certificate for her burnaversary (it’s a thing in the burn world – we celebrate that she lived) to Nowhere bookshop because she is an obsessed reader of dystopia YA and told her to send me a picture of her favorite piece of the bookstore. It was the ship light. She loved your bookstore. I can’t wait to come visit her and bring her to the bookstore again.

  189. It’s hard to think of the positives right now, with covid once again running rampant and people acting like it’s no big deal. When I was 28 (17 long years ago), I fought a virus that led to a life long heart condition complete with pacemaker, a five year disability stint, and a complete change in career. Its been a long road, and I wouldn’t change it for the world, because I love my life now.

    But knowing what covid can do – it could happen to me all over again and I still have nightmares about the first time.

    But, in the spirit of finding even a small success – in Stardew Valley I finally managed to get the mermaid charm, and my girlfriend said yes, so I guess I’m a romantic success in at least a video game! 😀

  190. September is chosing not to jump back into the grind but instead enjoy the house to myself for the first time in eight years. Getting projects done that have piled up…today painting the front porch a fresh white, a new clean beginning. Also listening to Broken while painting! ❤️

  191. Oddly, I have reverse SAD, and September is when the unrelenting light backs off and I can begin feeling alive. But, I’ll think these things next June when the sunlight and heat once again beats against my brain.

  192. I used my lightbox this morning for the first time in a long while. And my big accomplishment this week was cleaning out the sun room, walls, carpets, windows and all, so that I can have a clean, bright place for yoga and stretching, another coping tool for the coming darkness. September is bad for me too. Both my mom and I received our cancer diagnoses right after Labor Day, in 1999 and 2006. Only one of us has lived to tell the tale, and I would give anything to hear her laugh again, and to bottle it up for the hard times.
    Hang in there – only 285 days til summer.

  193. I applied for a full-time job that I would be right for. The last time I did that i ended up in the most traumatizing of situations. This was a big step.

  194. Everything you just wrote, my life right now. The shorter days, the no matter how much I got done in the garden it wasn’t enough, the knowing what is coming weather and day light length wise. The already counting down the days till the days start to get longer again. The knowing with covid I can’t even get into see someone in person and the phone doesn’t do it for me, I always feel like I am talking to a cheerleading squad.

  195. Proud that through all the bullshit this year has thrown at me that I’m still standing…and moving forward. Even if it’s really, really slowly. Going back to the therapist today for the first time in three months even though I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to talk to her about? Opening up. Accepting sadness and anger. Not breaking.

  196. I am proud of the accomplishment of speaking like purely myself more and more days over the last year or so. Now I almost never say something different from what I truly feel or think or believe. I do sometimes make the effort to say it in a way others can understand, but nowadays there are fewer times that I do that because I say it like myself and pray they understand because understanding how my words are chosen is part of understanding who I am.

    But I love September. I find that the cold actually really helps my mood and September starts bringing in the cold. It’s a bit invigorating for me. 🙂 And September means Halloween and the winter holidays aren’t too far off and I love holidays.

    But also my birthday is in September and my family always does some really amazing stuff for that.

  197. Every September I have an RA flare. No reason that I can determine. Just every September

  198. I started writing my goals down. I’ve always said that a goal without a plan is a WISH. I’m proud of myself for putting the first foot forward to change/improve my current life situation.

  199. I make lists. Lists of what I need to do around the house, at work, books I want to read, quotes…endless lists taped to walls, desks, the refridgerator, etc.. You name it and I’ve made a list on the subject. Why? It soothes me with the rhythm of the writing, the the particular list of something in order of importance, the ability to focus on something remotely constructive instead of allowing my mind to wander into the darkness of the unknown that I can’t control. The closer we get to December the more I make lists. In December I know I’ll be frantically making lists and desperately trying to divert my thoughts to anything besides the fact that I lost a child in December many years ago. The holiday season, with all of the gatherings of family and friends, is to be avoided. I avoid stores, get everything delivered. Download enough NOT holiday programming to get me through. But on the 18th of December I fall apart. Medication doesn’t help. Talk therapy doesn’t help. Nothing helps. From September on I feel like I’m trying to run up the tallest sand dune and getting nowhere. Just running in place and very slowly backing into an indescribable pain. September is the starting point. And, even though I know what’s to come and do my best to take preventative measures, nothing diverts what’s to come. He would’ve been 39 this year. I might even been a grandmother by now…a YOUNG-ish grandmother. So I use my light, make my lists, volunteer at the local shelters, and power through until the 1st of January. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I think I’m going to make a list of the color and style of my sweaters today in front of my S.A.D light today. It’ll help.

  200. I LOVE September because we finally get a break from the summer heat that was trying to kill us, but maybe that would be different if we had somewhere to swim or better things to do in the summer than just hide from the sun. This September feels worse than most, but so did every other month this year, because the past year has been objectively sucky.

  201. For months, I’ve been applying for different remote jobs and hoping, crossing my fingers, and thinking all the positive thoughts that I’ll get one and leave my job that’s been giving me multiple-panic-attacks-a-day. For a while, there hadn’t been much to even apply to, but I was able to apply for three jobs this weekend!

    I want to live wildly (for me) and go against my anxiety and OCD and believe that something is out there for me—that it’s going to work out and I’ll get something awesome, not that I’m doomed to constantly be disappointed and live a life of expecting the worst like I always do. I love fall (except for the time change), and I want this to be a great fall with something new that I’m excited about and without the thing that’s been strangling me for almost four years.

  202. Thank you for sharing your journey through blogging with us. Over the previous months, I’ve taken quiet pride in my resilience and ability to adapt to a world that’s constantly changing and impossible to predict. Being able to compartmentalize and parcel out my thoughts through writing has been incredibly useful for processing my environment.

  203. I don’t read your blog as often as I should, but when I do, I am always amazed at your resiliency and of course, your talent for writing. I am working on overcoming my procrastination and starting to write a bit…which was a goal of mine in retirement. OK so I haven’t really put pen to paper too much but I think of good lines and just need to figure out what to do with them. And in time I will…

    Thought you should know that whenever I recommend your books on the 52 books a year reading challenge, there are several people that agree with me. You are liked there as you are in many places.

    Here’s to a brighter September💜

  204. You are right about September. I have felt it claw at my heart, and we are not even at the equinox yet.

    My accomplishment is 480 consecutive days of Duolingo Greek!

  205. I live in the Yukon, where the winter dark is long and starts early. My sunlamp saves my life every fall, I swear. Those extra few minutes of light make all the difference in the world.

  206. Thank you! It’s true: September sneaks up on me every year! I wonder why I feel sad and down and lose energy and oh yeah, it’s September and the light went away. I forgot.

    I’m proud that I haven’t been late to work at all this week!

  207. Even though I don’t know you personally, I feel as though you are a “bestie” because you put my feelings into such awesome words. My glamping sisters introduced me to you with Beyoncé many years ago (we were laughing so hard at the campsite I was afraid we were going to get the police called on us), and the more I read from you the more I felt you were a kindred spirit. The Black Hole of Depression is hard to explain to those fortunate to never battle with it. You are able to do it so well for those of us unable to.

    I am so proud that I’ve made it to 65 this year. It’s been four years since I’ve felt the need to make a suicide attempt. I was just able to tell someone “no” when they asked me to do something I really didn’t want to do. And I up and quit a toxic workplace to begin Retirement 2.0. Which I’m going to spend traveling as much as I can afford.

    And my light box is coming with me. I start to feel the Demon awake in August. Thank you for being yourself, and for speaking for so many of us who cannot, Jenny. We love you.

  208. I struggle with summer and feeling the need to be look pretty and host everything perfectly. None of which hold true dispute my efforts. September is my goal to say I made it. It is a time to gather, in all our efforts and enjoy the cooler days and embrace the coming months when it is ok to spend the whole day reading or binge watching a favorite show. September feels like I won! Get out there and soak in all the sun there is to have! Much love from MN!

  209. August—October are hard months for me. My birthday is mid-September, which can be a blessing or a curse. This year, I’m making salves, tinctures, and low simmering red sauce for half the day. All ingredients are from my garden and have recently been inundated with tomatoes. Hence, the sauce. I’m trying to master gardening and cooking so I can be proud of myself. Although sometimes just putting on day clothes can be a triumph.

  210. Thank you for always sharing struggle and hope! Glad that I am not alone in having a consistent time of year- August. Not exactly sure why. Maybe that it’s supposed to be almost Fall, but I’m completely over the Texas heat by the end of Summer. May your September 2021 be kind and go easy on you. 💛

  211. September has been deadly in my life, my father was dying and lived just 9 days past September, and both my beloved cats died in Septembers. That was the last three Septembers in a row. This September everyone else is alive, I’m still taking care of my mother with Alzheimer’s, I suppose that is one long slow death. Sorry to be a bummer, let me think of some good September things… I love all of the ripe delicious tomatoes from my garden, eaten straight from the vine, the tomato sauce I made for the first time this year, the little hints of color in the leaves of some trees, the break from the heat so I can crochet blankets again, sitting in my backyard looking at all of the green, the bushes and trees I planted calm me, the garden of paper flowers I made adding color to my indoor space, the masked playdates in the back yard with my granddaughter, enjoying her pure joy, petting my soft kitty… There is good in my life this September.

  212. Yesterday was my last orthopedic appointment. Father’s Day weekend began with breaking my knee and surgery to fix it; July followed up with blood clots and a PE that nearly killed me (on vacation even!); August brought me home and to physical therapy. September has me walking, mostly on my own, sometimes with a cane. Because sometimes, we all need a little extra support. Love you!

  213. I returned to work after a 2 year medical leave for anxiety, depression and PTSD. Some days are unbelievably hard – but I am still doing it. Despite the anxiety, the flashbacks, and the days when I am less productive, I am doing it. (And sometimes I need to remind myself of that fact).

  214. 15 years ago, I was about to get married. That first year we faced cancer, surgery, heart problems, an MS diagnosis. It was rough. But here we are about to celebrate, with a snarky effervescent 10 year old and 2 cats in the mix. Thank you for sharing your light and life with us, Jenny. You’ve been an incomparable help along this way.

  215. Coming out of a really horrible anxiety spell and being able to use my new coping skills through therapy to help out. Finding my voice with my wife, my family and everyone in between. I’m a recovering people pleaser and relearning new patterns is hard as hell after 30+ years but I’m doing the best I can with what I have.

  216. This year I finally told the doctor about how sad I am all the time. I’m 43. I wish I had had the courage to tell my doctor when I was 13. The fact is, I’ve made it this far, and with my meds, I’ll make it that much longer.

    Your blog had a lot to do with my decision to finally open up. Thank you for that.

  217. I have never heard anyone talk about September as a difficult month but it’s probably the hardest time of year for me. Everyone I know LOVES this month, and I always feel like I’m missing something. I am a farmer and am increasingly struck by how much plants respond to changing day lengths: days lengthening in the late winter, and days shortening in the late summer. I feel like my plants a lot of the time, and these shortening days really get to me. My mom gave me a light box for Christmas last year, and you’re inspiring me to pull it out.

  218. My accomplishment? Maintaining impulse control when my bipolar self would like to go do something stupid. The ups and downs are real. I’m doing well, mental health-wise. Taking my meds and “staying between the 40 yard lines.” But I do miss those highs … until I recall the downside of up.

  219. After a dozen or so years of trying and failing to make a living as a professional photographer, and being forced time and time again to take some shitty, soul-sucking office job, I am once again giving photography a go by transitioning this time to food styling/food photography. I. WILL. MAKE. SEPTEMBER. MY. BITCH.

    Also, I love you. September can be your bitch, too. ❤

  220. I’m almost 65 years old and for the first time in my adult life I am raising a puppy. I’m proud that I haven’t killed him yet. Baby shark teeth are the real deal.

  221. I have a deep understanding of what September means. Aside from taking up 1 out of 12 pages in a calendar, its when my S.A.D. starts lightly tapping me on the shoulder. Living on the east coast, I should be happy that not EVERY single day will feel like the core of the sun at its hottest, but I start noticing the smaller things. Like a few leaves looking like they are thinking about changing color, kids going back to a regimented day, the air smelling different. I know the long dark season is ahead, but knowing that there are others out there feeling the emptiness and longing to feel like they are not alone, helps me some. Here is to all of us cheering each other up, and beating back the dark corners in our lives, wherever they are.

  222. In case you are wondering if your time on this planet makes a difference. It does. My husband died suddenly three months ago. My heart is broken. My crappy body is actively working against me. Diagnosed with severe depression and severe anxiety. Yah. think? A friend (who is a therapist) asked me “hows it going?” I said “besides wanting to burn down my house, give away my dogs and quit my job, fine. “She said” oh, only mildly suicidal.”
    I had a pretty bad therapist for 3 weeks, who was concerned that I was homicidal because I said I was feeling “stabby” yikes.

    Back to you. I make it to Fridays because of Ted Lasso and your curated instagram postings.

    My job right now is to make it through the next fifteen minutes and not blow up the life I have.

    Thank you.

  223. My dread of September ended once I graduated from high school, and now it’s a favorite time of year. My partner’s (and her identical twin’s) birthday is this month, which brightens things, and fall in our region is lovely. Many years ago my beloved parents and sister all died in various Septembers, and my beloved first wife died on Oct 3. So it’s a season with some sad memories, but I still love it (and all of them). I join all those who proclaim you, Jenny, as the best light box we ever met.

  224. AH I fondly remember our Livejournal days. Can’t believe it is so long ago. I quit blogging as it scared me so much when it started intruding on my real life, but ended up publishing my own comic book (Starring YOU of course) I fought and still fight crippling anxiety, moved up in my career and now happy where I work and slowly working on my first novel.

    I am mostly proud of surviving. I still struggle, but people like us who have so much to fight before we even get out of bed are made stronger every day and get to learn far more about ourselves every hour.

    One thing you said many years ago resonated with me and I still use it as my mantra and share it wherever I can “Depression and anxiety lie to you” and over the years I really took to heart that those intrusive thoughts etc are chemical signals gone bad and not our true thoughts and feelings.

    My light Box is those people (many on here) that Stop. Think. Empathize. Take time to try and understand the world and make gestures to make it better.

  225. I had a really hard weekend. The phrase “this too shall pass” has been my mantra for tough times. But it seems particularly unhelpful in a week in which I lost a good friend. I wish there were a light box for the soul. Perhaps reading other people’s joys will help? I’ve always enjoyed your writing. And I’m spending a lot of time now remembering a lifetime of friendship. Maybe that will help.

  226. Last night, I took my kids to see a small group of actors perform Macbeth in a park that sits along a river. So we were outside. In the dark. Cool breeze. On a blanket in the grass. With popcorn and soda. Watching Macbeth – my kids’ first experience with both theater and Shakespeare. Afterwards, we had long talks about Macbeth’s madness, irony, and fate covering the most popular lines that are often referenced. It’s like first, it was nice to get out of the house in September as all three of my kids are homeschooled. And second, it was nice to know that I’m not totally failing as a mother.

  227. August is my dreaded month. I’m not sure if it’s because I suffer when it’s hot or what the deal is, but I always celebrate getting to the end of it. Some years I remember to tell my loved ones at the beginning of August that a bumpy road is likely ahead – I highly recommend this.

  228. I’ve had this post open for a few days in a tab in a browser because I knew I wanted to read it but was so tired AND so busy. I went to see family (for the first time since pre-pandemic) and got back just before Labor Day and then slept for a week- and your post makes this all make more sense. I love this photo, and more so now, hearing the story behind it. We (all of us) have worked so hard, for so long, and by any September, we could all use a rest. This post was what I needed. Thank you.

  229. I totally lost my cool at work but managed to turn it around and bond with my coworkers. Here’s to hoping I can learn to manage unbearable stress better, or to get a better job.

  230. As someone with Summer (or Reverse) SAD, I’m the compete opposite. September brings sweet relief from the intensity of summer and its oppressive, endless sun. Fall? Time to finally exhale.

  231. I will always remember that you and you followers made Santa real for my kids bless you all. They still talk about the books and fruit

  232. My therapist recommended “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened”. I am so incredibly grateful. I just finished “Furiously Happy”, and plan to loan my copy to her. I have struggled with clinical depression and panic, coupled with an on and off tag along anorexia. I have had a terrible exacerbation since September, in the meantime my mom died in a nursing home in October. Only child, no parents, no siblings, “as supportive as you can expect your husband and teenage daughter to be when this crippling trio of mental illness and desire to die take over and meds and therapy are not moving the ball forward.” They are getting impatient, I called the suicide hotline 2 days before my kid’s sweet 16, and hid in my room the entire event. Great memory for her. I am so ashamed and sorry, but just when I pull it together, it takes another swing at me. Obviously my 16 year old sees me as trying to ruin her life…it’s practically a teen girl’s job even with a sane mom.
    Keep writing for us, for the people ambushed in the middle of being “ok”. You mean a lot.

  233. Glad you are doing so well. Im not a very good sport about life. Never really figured it out and will be happy to let it go. No hard feelings or anything, just ready for something better. ill never find here.

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