When I was young and somewhat disillusioned, I often felt isolated and outside of “life”. The image that illustrates this time best was looking through a dirty window, at the “real” world and “real” people. I was separate and no matter how hard I tried, I was unable to connect. Years later, through a lot of work, I was able to look around and understand that everyone suffers, through something, at some point. I often connected with others whose experience of life held real challenges and resulted in some incredible experiences.

Throughout the winter, I struggle with seasonal blues. I actually enjoy this time of year, but simply struggle with the amount of darkness. When a bout of insomnia hits during this time, life can be challenging. I speak less, complain more, and will often take my frustrations out on my family. As the summer months brought longer days, warmth and sunshine, I was relieved by how much better I felt. Now that we are heading towards fall, I am quietly preparing myself.

I find myself feeling disconnected and often censoring this negative voice. This week my son had several moments of “nothing is good enough”, “everything is wrong”, and “life is not fair”. Needless to say, this triggered my negativity and I did not respond well. Total the number of hours I spent cooking, cleaning, and ‘fetching’. Then, divide that by the number of hours of sleep I didn’t get and multiply that by two (the number of children in my home). Basically, it wasn’t good. My inner nag quickly became my outer nag and boy, oh boy did my son get an ear full!

After these moments, I revert back to that young girl looking through the window, feeling disconnected. All the negative self-talk begins: How do I get this parenting stuff so wrong? How badly have I damaged my child? Or simply, I’m just so tired. Perhaps these moments last for an afternoon or even quietly through the week when I try to make amends.

As the days shorten, this feeling is somehow always subtly in the background ready to question everything I know about myself. I want to believe I won’t be sucked into more of these dark days, but I know that the stress of life can and will overwhelm me. In anticipation of these difficult moments, I am coming clean and preparing myself to accept this challenge. I stumbled upon this quote by Albert Camus as a start,

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

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