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Life Stuff

I’m getting there: Adventures in Seasonal Depression

almost dead house plant representing seasonal depression

Ever since I can remember, the months between December and March always seem to slow me down. My brain gets foggy. My productivity drops drastically. I enjoy things less. I stop posting videos on YouTube and Instagram. You know… seasonal depression stuff. This year seems to be no different. Add in the fact that we’re going on a full year of a global pandemic and the fact I’ve been stuck inside for most of it. Let’s just say that my lounge pants and my legs are becoming one.

I’ve been working on a music project I can’t really talk about due to an NDA. It sounded like a quick and fun project when they pitched it to me toward the end of November. By time the details got hatched out it was approaching Christmas. We had a pretty mild fall and, even though it was December, it still felt like it was October.

It shows up whenever

After the holidays had passed and I got a rough draft sent in, I ran into a brick wall. They sent some notes and it all made sense and seemed pretty easy to tackle. But the seasonal depression had kicked in by then and at that point “easy” didn’t necessarily mean “doable”.

I woke up every day knowing what I needed to do and when I sat down to do it, but my brain just wouldn’t do. I’d find distractions and excuses that would take up my whole day. I didn’t notice it at first, but after spending pretty much two weeks straight rearranging my studio and re-wiring how things get routed into the computer, and not making any music at all, I started to catch on to what my brain was doing.

The stress of not getting anything done piled on as more stress and anxiety and prevented me from doing anything at all. Every time I saw a new email come into my inbox I was instantly filled with dread, thinking it was the company emailing “Where’s the music?? Where have you been??”. That led me to trying to distract myself even more.

Honesty is the best policy

Eventually they did email me asking how things were going. I broke out in a slightly cold sweat and wondered if I should just email them to say I quit. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for the job. But after a few minutes of wondering what to do, I remembered that being honest has always worked for me.

I replied to them and explained that I had been going through some rough times mentally. I offered my project files if they needed to move faster and find someone else to pick up where I left off too. Or, if they want to stick with me, I told them I couldn’t give them a solid timeline of how quickly I’d be able to move. I hit send, turned my phone’s screen off, and went to bed, feeling better just explaining what had actually been going on with me. And I felt oddly at peace knowing they might decide to move on without me.

The next morning they replied saying they really like what I do and would like to continue moving forward with me. They offered to reach out if I needed anything. My honesty had paid off. And a huge amount of stress rolled off my shoulders.

It’s always there

It’s been a week or two since that email exchange and, while I can see a small springy light at the end of this wintery tunnel, I still haven’t managed to get too much more accomplished. The stress is slowly starting to add back up. But I know what’s going on and so do my people, so I’m not too worried about it. I know I’ve got plenty of fuel left in the tank and sunnier days are just around the corner. Until then, I’m just going to take each day as it comes and keep showing up. Even if seasonal depression is a little bitch.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Meena
    February 19, 2021 at 1:13 am

    This is encouraging, SAD is a real thing, and it’s tough, but being honest and putting it out there is inspiring. Keep doing what you’re doing, reflect, meditate, produce. Continue the cycle and before you know it spring and summer will hit. Look forward to your next OP-1 video!

  • Reply
    Ash J
    March 22, 2021 at 1:04 am

    Hey man, I feel you. I think this is getting to me in a similar way, I have no specific advice, but the sun will start coming out soon, the days will get longer and I guarantee after you get a few things down (Even though it might be painful and crippling to do so) and get that feedback from the client, the fog will start to lift.

    Take care, times are shitty but things always improve.

    • Reply
      Brad Tennant
      April 2, 2021 at 4:28 pm

      I appreciate it man! Things are slowly starting to look up for me. The weather getting sunnier is definitely helping me out!

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