Gloomy winter afternoons breed depression

Winter afternoon / Pixabay

I was in the seventh grade in the gloomy, cold winter of 1962 – the perfect breeding ground for depression.

The previous fall, my dad’s midlife crisis, years in the making, came to a head and he resigned from his postmaster job in our town of 1,000 people where he felt that he was suffocating to death.

He took a job in another little town about two hours away and moved there with my two oldest sisters. My mother’s contract as a school librarian ran through the school year so we–she, my sister, brother, and I–got together on weekends and holidays until we moved there the following June.

That winter, I was supposed to hang out after school with my grandmother next door until my mom got home but I didn’t like her so I never did. She was stern, humorless, very religious, and critical, especially of my dad. We never had a warm relationship so none blossomed that bleak winter or ever.

Understandably, all of us were depressed that year and mine congealed into dysthymia. Wikipedia describes it as “a mood disorder consisting of the same cognitive and physical problems as depression, with less severe but longer-lasting symptoms.” Long lasting indeed. It plagued me until I was 36.

The only thing that could have helped my family that year–a happier environment–was not possible.

Individuals and families sometimes go through rough patches and come through bruised but whole and even strengthened.

The important takeaway is that environment matters. In these stressful times, a home life could buffer you and your family financially and from working too much, from children being home alone for hours on end, from nutritionally bankrupt food, from costly child and elder care, and more. Conceivably, high functioning home sharing could benefit all participants on many levels and could be a life line–perhaps literally.

My passion is putting home sharing, even neighborhood sharing, on the table for discussion. I am facilitating casual gatherings where people meet others and make connections. Some connections may lead to conversations about housing–sharing a home, buying an apartment building to start a co-op, buying houses in the same neighborhood, or a wide variety of ideas. If this interests you, let’s talk.

I’m beating the winter blues by hosting a Friendly Sunday afternoon potluck in an intimate setting (8 people maximum) at my house. The first of many potlucks is Sunday, February 5th from 3 to 6 p.m.  RSVP here. In my neighborhood, public transportation is great and parking can be very frustrating.

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