Autumn and spring are my two favorite seasons.
Fall has piles of leaves, fall colors in the trees, the first hints of cold weather to come, and a frost that finishes off the annuals that are still trying, however gangly and unkempt they have become, to show off their summer colors.
Spring has longer days, the promise of new beginnings and chance to plant the seeds of the coming years harvest.
To me, both seasons represent change. Summer heat drags on day after day, often with little discernible change in anything. Hot, followed by hot, followed by hot. Predictable, at times uncomfortable, keeping many people inside with the air conditioner running. And no matter how hot it gets, there is a limit to how many clothes you can take off.
Winter is punctuated by short bursts of bright daylight and then long, long, nights.
Winter can often be dreary, with dull skies and the threat of snow, sleet and ice. In my eyes, winter is easier to adapt to. I installed a very efficient wood stove built in Norway when we moved to the country. Last year we burned three cords of wood to heat the house. There is a lot of satisfaction for me doing the work to heat the house with wood.
Walking in and seeing the glow from the woodstove is calming and for me a part of my self-care.
As winter winds to an end and the first warm days appear, I know that there will be one last blast of winter to remind us that it is all powerful and can get our attention whenever it wants too. Like the depression I live with, it asserts itself just because it can.
Summer weather follows the same pattern. Towards the end, it may throw in a cooler day or two, but always blasts back with that “Indian summer.” Can I still say that? Are we using that term anymore?
Change and the promise of change, for me, is one way depression can draw me in.
Like the changing seasons, depression has become predictable. And with that comes comfort and familiarity. People often crave sameness and at times, I am no different. When changes occur, it is easy to slip back into a comfortable routine, a familiar place.
Depression counts on me to be drawn to its predictable ideas.
For most of my life, all it had to do was toss out a hint of an idea, and I would latch onto it like a dog with a bone. Never remembering the devastating, inevitable conclusion to each collaboration with depression, I would surrender to the feelings and unhelpful thinking, determined to follow the path that depression was laying out for me.
With the change from summer to fall, I am renewing my efforts to keep depression from changing my recovery, from changing my progress, from changing my efforts to live a balanced life.
What is your favorite season?