Every 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.
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/?)
- Cure Winter Laziness with S.A.D. Lights (motherboard.vice.com)