Another year has gone by. It’s now autumn, and I’m happy to say I can’t see the dark shadow of seasonal depression yet. I’m welcoming the cold with open arms. Summer was hot, and I’ve spent most of it gardening and taking care of our yard; now all that remains is to put things away for winter and snuggle up inside with a cup of warm decaf something.
This past year has been tiring in three different ways: I was burnt out last winter, physically more active than usual over spring and summer, and now I’m back to being anxious about money (money is my nemesis). But in the end, I’ve made it through.
I find it important to make a list of thing’s I’m thankful for every year. It wards off seasonal depression and helps me focus on what went well and not on my current problems to solve. This year, I’m thankful for:
- The improvement in my mental health. I’ve stopped taking my anxiety meds over Christmas. I’m still vulnerable, so I’ve been forced to stop drinking caffeine (which makes me anxious and unable to sleep), start yoga again (to deal with the pain in my neck caused by stress) and various other mildly annoying health improvements, but I’m proud of the work I’ve done to get to this point. It’s a small victory.
- My husband. I know I’ve been stressed and not always so pleasant to be around, but he understands that my mood will never be as equal as his. We also got to spend a lot of time together this summer, both as a couple and as a family, and it was refreshing.
- My friends. Since I work from home, the only people commonly I see in a week are my husband and my kid. If it wasn’t for my NaNoWriMo community, whom I chat with on a daily basis, and my other friends whom I see once in a while, I’d be a very lonely person.
- The strength to push through in my writing endeavours. I didn’t use to be so driven; I used to be scattered and not to believe that I could ever escape the soul-crushing routine of day-jobs… Now at least I have hope, and it’s enough to keep me going.
- Work. I won’t lie, this past year has been straining on that front. For the last 5 years, I’ve been alternating between burnouts and money issues due to lack of work; I’m starting to think that money will never cease to be a problem for us, but then again we’re lucky to have zero debts (no, a mortgage isn’t a debt).
- My house. It might sound silly and materialistic, but having lived in a tiny, dark and smelly basement apartment, I know how much one’s environment can impact their mood. My house is nothing glamour, but I find it charming.
- People’s generosity. My mother gave me over 30 varieties of plants from her garden just this year. My father built a rustic handrail from scratch for our basement staircase. My husband’s company refurnished their offices and gave away old desks, file cabinets, bookcases, chairs, monitor stands… I’ve fully furnished my home office with those. As a bonus, my new desk is adjustable in height and my new chair has adequate lumbar support, so I hope it’ll mean my back problems are in the past! My aunt offered us her old dining room set, which she’d used only a few years before she declared it too big for her kitchen… I jumped on the occasion, because our own was starting to fall apart, but also because it’s precisely the style I was looking for. It looks splendid in our dining room! From our neighbours, we got an entry hall bench and chest of drawers that we upcycled into a TV console (the TV used to be on a table the size of a nightstand). We were given most of the pieces of furniture in our house, so at present, it looks more like Molly Weasley’s house than Martha Stuart’s… but at least now the house is almost fully furnished, if not stylish.
All in all, 2018 has been more gentle on me than 2017. We’ve been very lucky. Of course, I wish we could have more stability, and the fact that the slow summer ate up the entirety of my “rainy days funds” is stressful, but considering the fragility of my mental health, I think we’re doing well enough.
Happy Thanksgiving Day!