You don't realize it at first.
It's just not the way your brain works any more.
But there you are, walking through the streets of your neighborhood. Walking to pick up your kid at school, and you notice the trees - dappled in golden sunlight, shining through the autumn leaves. Something triggers a thought, and another, and next thing you know, you're crossing 79th Street, wiping away tears and hoping you can hold it together long enough to get both kids.
It's everything - the afternoon sun arcing across the sky, the cold wind against your cheeks. Catching the sunset as it bounces off the windows of the apartment across the street. It's smelling dinner smells as you walk home from the park, tired children asking about dinner.
The dark is coming.
It's sneaking in. Noticing that there's not time to go to the park after homework time, because it will be too dark. It's realizing the cold you feel in the morning isn't just physical - but lives someplace in your head. December can be so cheery, bright lights, candles and togetherness. January too, when winter is still fresh and new like the morning after a blizzard. But February is a dark master. Cold and dim and eternal, despite being the shortest month of the year.
Even now, in the middle of November, I feel the teeth of winter, nipping at my heels. I prepare - medications, therapies, and that bright, bright light. Hoping to force the demons to heel again.