Uninvited Guest

05 Deep, dark holeEvery year during the winter months no matter where I live the uninvited guest creeps in.   I’m going along and then WOMP –I wake up feeling like I’ve been thrown in a pit and a vacuum hose has sucked out my energy.  The immune system falters and viruses invade the weakening defense system.  One cold and two weeks of my life slip into oblivion.

It seemed like torture, a curse, when I was younger and I had no idea what was going on or why this would occur.  In my early twenties the diagnosis of seasonal depression and seasonal affective disorder floated relief that I wasn’t imagining this visitor, nor was I the only one it visited each year.  As a mother with young children I struggled to get through each day this visitor laid its burden on my shoulders, feeling my children cheated of their true mother.  They did not deserve to see the worst of me or have the worst of me.  The mental and emotional symptoms were difficult to control.  I became very angry that no matter what I tried to cure myself each year it would come back any way.

Today, this winter, I am different.  The depths, as I call it because I feel the other d words do not accurately describe it, is still a univited guest I hope will forget to visit.  This year it came in the night the second week of February so quickly; I awoke with it heavy.  Yet my shoulders were strengthened and I bore it easily the first week.  Then children needed nurturing during illness and then I felt the virus take a stand, pile on other chronic experiences and BOOM–down for the count.  I laid one day realizing I would not get over it but that I could get through this visit.  I decided I would get through the depths differently this year.  Instead of trying to get rid of it, ignore it, or cope with it I would be grateful for this experience and ask myself what I could learn.

So here I am in the midst of the depths and here is what I’ve learned so far:

1.  I don’t care if I’m late.  What does it really matter this promptness? I don’t need the anxiety– I’d rather stay home.  I’m at peace being separated from the world for a while.

2. Loneliness is an interesting creature both enjoyed and uncomfortable.

3.  Which tasks are really important to family well-being:  Hugs over dishes, dishes over deadlines.

4.  I am at peace when I block out the to-do’s and how behind I am’s.  I like to sit still and be quiet.  My guest is quiet too.

May you each thrive as you enjoy your semi-hibernation time.  If the depths visits you too, may you thrive as you express gratitude for its visit.

Big Hole in Cloud NGC 1999

Image via Wikipedia

Now if you will excuse me I have a guest.

(For more on better parenting see http://thecarolblog.com/how-can-i-be-a-better-parent/?)

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About jjbailey

Professional Parent, Author, creative homemaker, and endangered species.
This entry was posted in My Life as an Endangered Species, Nurturing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Uninvited Guest

  1. Betty Paulson says:

    I also enjoyed “the visitor” for a few years. I would stick my nose into a book and ignore my family for several weeks other than the bare necessities. After several years of the visitor, usually in February, I discovered that a diet of huge amounts of raw vegetables took care of it. Eventually I discovered that a full-spectrum bulb in my kitchen did the trick even without vegetables. The same bulb in my teen daughter’s bedroom greatly improved her grumpiness. My teen son often turns on his “Ott” light during the long Michigan winters. The first year “the visitor” did not come I was slightly annoyed. “That was my vacation !” I told my husband, “That was my slow-down, my reading time. I miss it.”

    Yes, I missed it, but not enough to go out of my way to get it back. Nowadays, the presence of the three full-spectrum bulbs over my kitchen table keeps my winter blahs at bay and I have to set aside the time to do my reading. That, and a frequent counting of my blessings usually do the trick.

    SAD is a very different animal than the “situational depression” I experienced after the miscarriage of our last child. I felt I had fallen into a deep pit and my life was at the top. I looked up to the top of the pit and saw that my life was up there and felt, “I see my life up there. I just don’t know how I can ever get back to it again.” Time is the great healer and one day months later I realized that I had day by day made the climb back into my life. I knew the lessons learned from my miscarriage would help me to empathize with others experiencing the same. Years later when my daughter and daughter-in-law suffered miscarriages I was prepared to help them much more adequately.

    I am quite unable to understand true chemical depression but I experienced its devastating effects in the lives of several of my friends and have a modicum of understanding regarding it. Any who experience it have my sincere sympathy and best wishes. I think all kinds of depression are experienced differently by each individual.

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