I worry about us this winter. We must stay vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but taking precautions against the pandemic--particularly not being able to gather with friends and loved ones--may make winter feel especially long.
It has been years since I suffered a severe depression, but I will never forget the pervasive feeling of hopelessness. Every time I learn of or witness a friend in a depression, my heart breaks for her or him, and I wish with all my might that I could help.
When I was at my worst, nothing and no one could make my day better. I felt no joy in any activity, and I didn't have the concentration to read or knit, my two favourite pastimes.
Eventually, with medication, my ability to focus began to return, and I picked up my knitting needles again. Soon knitting became all I wanted to do. With time, I was able to work on more complex knitting patterns. And when friends and family visited me (an anxiety-inducing prospect at that stage), I would knit for comfort while we chatted.
It took several months to get well, but knitting aided my recovery exponentially. I haven't stopped knitting since. I recognize now that knitting is absolutely necessary for my mental health. My husband knows it, too. For years, after I'd had a stressful day, he'd say, "I think you need to go knit." My joy for knitting is visceral. It has made me a more relaxed person. It is my meditation.
It may not be the same for everyone, but I wanted to share with you a little bit about my mental health journey in case it can offer you a glimmer of hope if you're on that journey, too. There is light on the other side of depression. It can be a long, lonely, dark road before you glimpse it, but it is there.
As much as humanly possible, we have to ward off the darkness this winter. We have to find our source of joy and immerse ourselves in it. If we're going to be stuck with only our own company until spring, we need to love being with ourselves. And a much-loved hobby certainly makes that easier.
Sending all of you love and wishes for an easy winter. <3