October 4th, a Thursday, was a truly beautiful fall day. Crisp, clear, with a big blue sky. My husband and I went for a long afternoon drive in the rolling hills that characterize the driftless country that we live in and around.
I was taken by surprise when the tears started falling. Around every bend the tears fell. My old nemesis, depression was gaining a hold. It didn’t make any sense to be crying on this glorious day. But I knew depression well enough by now to realize that depression doesn’t necessarily make sense. It can literally appear out of the blue.
I got through the day by practicing mindful, close attention to my surroundings and my companion. These kept me anchored.
But the depression has returned and is trying to take a permanent position in my daily life. If I don’t work very hard to fight it, the depression will take a serious hold for many months. Shorter fall days of sunlight are a trigger to the seasonal disorder.
Clearly I can’t change the seasons nor would I want to change fall into summer, etc. Autumn is my favorite time of year. So what do I do? The depression is misleading. It tells me all things are bad, negative, and deeply darkly foreboding.
So what do I do?
I have two strategies to help me out of depression’s trap. One is to revisit my list of things and people for which I am grateful. And the other is to create list of all the things and events I am looking forward to in the next 3 to 4 months. Some of those things and events bring a smile, even now.
I’ll name a few: homemade applesauce, baked squash and chili; college football and basketball games; celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends. Two pastimes, coloring and writing. And , of course, discourse with my family. As I make this list I brighten up. The world is more inviting and rewarding with each minute.
I truly wish and hope for a fall that is fun and fulfilling and a winter with many sunny days for all of us. And that any depression that occurs can be cut down to size.
Thank you kindly.