It was supposed to be a family dinner for my son and daughter-in-law.
It turned out Covid reared its ugly head, and they could not drive down from up north. Now, this did not mean that the family dinner was canceled. It only meant that the Christmas presents for those two would not get opened last night.
Dinner was a success.
Everyone arrived on time and brought the side dishes they had talked about. We had all kinds of goodies, including homemade pumpkin bread, nuts, vegetable tray, and shrimp. For the main course, I had made meatballs (with my wife’s seasoning help) and spaghetti sauce. Tomatoes for the sauce were canned from those I grew in the garden. The pasta was al dente and everyone who wanted it had seconds.
My sister brought the salad and my wife made delicious dinner rolls from scratch.
And my brother brought an ice-cream cake for dessert and my 2 ½-year-old grandnephew was the entertainment. My daughter and he spent much time finding different forms of entertainment. He certainly enjoyed the attention.
Suddenly I realize I should be starting the day with 30 minutes in front of my Christmas gift, the Light Therapy Lamp.
Instead of sitting by the woodstove writing this, I should be soaking up 30 minutes of artificial daylight. Excuse me for a moment while I move to the office.
OK, the LED Light Therapy Lamp is on, and my 30 minutes has begun.
Now I remember why I do not use my laptop in the office. Unlike my PC, using my laptop in the office with it sitting on my desk is uncomfortable and awkward. Well, it’s that way when I am concentrating on being within 18 inches of my Light Therapy Lamp. I have it balanced on my desk. Instead of moving yesterday’s mail and getting the laptop on a level surface, I have elected to place the laptop right on top of the mail and my calendars.
This creates an uncomfortable height for me to type.
My PC has a pull-out keyboard area, which is ergonomically correct. I can type without having to place my arms in what might be a ballet or yoga position. What I am doing right now to type will wear me out if I continue much longer.
There were points in the day before everyone arrived when I wondered if it was worth it.
I mean my depression could kick in any minute. But it hasn’t and it certainly will not. And in the end, it did not. While there was a lot to do, being the host and a participant in the dinner, I enjoyed myself. I made time to visit and to hear what was going on with others in my family.
Of course, there were fireworks before everyone left.
I thought I might feel guilty for being happy and anticipating the evening. But the guilt never came. And even as I was going to bed, the guilt was not there. Instead, the vivid memories of what had just happened, comforted me as I got into bed.
I wish I didn’t find myself making excuses for my depression.
Not having it or its guilt was a plus for the evening. Depression’s unhelpful thinking styles can sneak up on me and jump out when I least expect them. But these thoughts did not appear last night. I went from activity to activity without needing to battle some unhelpful thinking.
This included feeling guilty for feeling enjoyment from the dinner party.
It is Christmas and will soon be the New Year. Parties are what people do during this time. Feeling guilty for feeling good and reveling in the evening is not productive. And doing so plays right into my depression’s hands. It wanted me to listen to its warnings that having family over was a bad idea. Depression hoped I would see the work needed for such an event. It wanted me to think, boy that’s too much to do.
If depression had gotten through to me, there would have been no family dinner last night.
I am thankful that I did not succumb to depression unhelpful thinking. The effort put into last night was worth it. The chance to spend some holiday time with family has helped recharge my batteries. Everyone enjoyed the food, the company, and the fireworks.
Getting depression to stay away took effort on my part.
But it wasn’t as hard as it was even 6 months ago. I no longer feel the need to apologize for feeling better. I am, however, exceedingly thankful that I am where I am. Yes, the rock is still there, and the mountain is still there. And pushing the rock up the hill is still a daily occurrence. But often, the rock is a pebble, and the mountain is just a gentle hill.
We are already planning another family get-together when my son and daughter-in-law can get down.
Instead of figuring out ways to avoid having them and family together, I am plotting all the opportunities. Sharing the lives of my family is one more way I am leading a balanced life with depression.