What's Working this Winter

So you may be under the impression that depression consumes my life.

There was one 12-month period, the one described in my depression story, where it absolutely did. A lot of the time in my mind, I divide my life into two periods, before, and after 2005. Grateful to have emerged from that severe bout with my life, I vowed that I would do whatever I could to help others who find themselves in that pit. That's why I describe what it's like down there in detail, to assure others that there is a way out.

Since that time, I have only dealt with mild bouts. Usually they are a few weeks long, usually just once or twice a year. And usually always this time of year.

However, this winter a collection of circumstances have come together to make a super pleasant January.

Number one. Little girl going to school has added blessed structure to our lives. Our day used to be divided into two certain events... waking up, and going to bed. Now we wake up and get sister to the bus. A few hours later we pick her up from the bus. We do homework. A few hours later, it's time to get dinner together. Bedtime follows not too long after that. I fill in the little windows with one-on-one time with brother and other things I want or need to do.

Number two. I spent over a thousand hours of my childhood either in lessons or practicing piano. So that I could what... dust a piano? This winter I have gotten out my piano books regularly, like a few times a week, and am trying to commit a few new pieces to memory. It is good for my fingers, and it is good for my brain. I can feel it. And filling my house with music makes me happy.

Number three. When I am depressed, I keep to myself. Sometimes choosing staying home over going out is okay, but getting out can be so good for mental health. I have a new church position that involves visiting a different woman from church in her home every week.  I have had the most satisfying conversations with women in all different stages of life. I have loved it.

I often think back to my days as a college student or a career lady and how winter never got me down. It was because life didn't stop for the weather. Sure I had to de-ice my car at the end of the day, maybe participate in three or four white-knuckled drives home, but otherwise, winter did not affect me much.

As a mom of little people, it changes your whole game plan. You go from the splash pad and parks from morning til night, to the house. All. Day. Long.

I think part of my job of being a mom is learning how to install the things that have made this January different, like structure, music, and friendship into all the winters to come.

My motto in past Januarys has been, "Survive 'til Spring."

Now it's more like, "Thrive inside."  

P.S. My bulbs are still there... just in case you had forgotten. ;)

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