The end of January is limboland: the year is no longer shiny and new, but spring feels far away.
My depression tends to get worse in winter and by the time February comes around, my mood has been low for weeks. I have to search hard for small signs of hope, like the gradually lightening evenings and these catkins I saw when I went for a walk today.
As trees, flowers and other plants emerge from winter, it shows the strength of nature’s faith.
Nature doesn’t doubt that spring will come. It knows there will be better times ahead, when flowers can blossom and leaves can flourish. I struggle to find that faith in the midst of depression, even a comparatively low level depression such as I’m experiencing now, but seeing glimmers of hope in nature helps. It reminds me there is a cycle to everything, including mental illness — even when the seasons seem unbearably long.
Nature is preparing for the spring and summer ahead: I need to figure out how to do the same.
I need to search for the glimmers of hope in my own life and use them to motivate me to prepare for better times. It’s too easy to focus on the negative aspects of my life and ignore the positives.
In fact, seeing those catkins today counts as a positive in my life, because I can walk my dog on my own — this time last year, my anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t go out alone. When I walked up the lane alone in March last year, it was the first time in over a decade. That’s another glimmer of hope.