I don’t like winter. I know a lot of people say that. I know it’s normal to feel down when it’s dark the majority of the day, and when you live in West Virginia winter seems to last six months out of the year. I don’t like the cold. It’s painful. It turns my skin purple, makes my heart race, makes me sick to my stomach, and, sometimes, it makes me pass out. I feel like I spend my days moving from one source of heat to another. It’s just not fun.
In all seriousness, depression is a real thing. Seasonal depression is a real thing that affects more than 3 million people in the US alone each year. It leaves you feeling tired, sad, and withdrawn. That, coupled with the extreme cold temperatures that winter brings, is a recipe for disaster. Living with depression is difficult. Being a mom and feeling like you just simply don’t have time to be depressed is another. I spend about 80% of my time acting as a single mother because of the schedules that my husband and I have. I do not have time to be depressed. My “job” starts at 7am and doesn’t end until the meltdowns have ended and everyone has had their last sip of water out of the correctly chosen cup. Actually, I deal with meltdowns over drinks and the correct angle that the bedroom door is cracked at 2am too, so my job never ends. I never sleep. Additionally, being the wife of someone who works midnight shift brings up it’s own sense of loneliness. I sleep alone, wake alone, run errands alone. Not fully alone, as my children are usually in tow, but the kind of alone where you just want someone who wants sit and watch The Office with you. The kind of alone where you are solely responsible for our tiny offspring with no sense of relief in sight. I never stop working. If I am not out of the house running my business, I am feeding someone, changing a diaper, using the bathroom with a child on my lap, talking a 4 year old through a meltdown, arguing about the difference between a rest and a nap, reading a book, cleaning up peanut butter, going on a milk run, or washing another load of laundry. Motherhood on it’s own is lonely sometimes.
Each year since having Piper, my seasonal depression has gotten increasingly worse. At first it was because she was afraid of the snow so we were stuck inside her whole first winter, then she started loving the snow but being outside for too long is worrisome for both of us, then I had Parker and he was much too small to be in the snow last winter. This year is going to be different, though.
I listened to a podcast recently where the guest talked about finding the good in the not so good things. Her example was winter! Crazy, right?! Since the night that I listened to that podcast I have been trying to find the best in the things that winter brings us. I’ve been discovering new light, I’ve been taking moments to be thankful for the time we have cuddled up under a blanket, and we’re trying new things.
I am going to work my way towards being satisfied with this season. I am going to work on focusing on redefining how I feel about winter. How do you feel about winter? How do you deal with those feelings?
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