…literally. The heat came on the other day for the first time since early spring. Actually, I was forced to turn it on when the temp inside the house reached 63 degrees. So for the past two days it has gone on and off throughout the day – mostly just in the evening and early morning.

This serves as a reminder that fall and winter are bearing down on us. I walked outside yesterday to get the mail and I was slapped in the face with the smell of either burning leaves or someone running their fireplace. I’m leaning toward the fireplace since there really aren’t many leaves that have fallen – at least not in my neighborhood.

I love fall. OK, I love the concept of fall – leaves changing colors, Halloween, football games, jeans and sweaters, food that is not cooked on a grill, etc. However, with it fall brings many other things I could do without. The number one thing is the shorter days. How I hate that.

The shortened days and darkness coming at such an early hour can sometimes set me into a “mini-depression.” Having been diagnosed as clinically depressed at the age of 14, I know what the serious stuff is all about. This isn’t quite like that – similar feelings on a much smaller scale. Maybe I only feel that way for a couple of days, a week at most. I seem to be able to pull myself out of it rather well these days. Having family around me is always good and I am able to busy myself with activities and hobbies that I enjoy. At 14, the depression and anxiety paralyzed me. I could not see beyond it – no family, no friends, no hobbies could have pulled me away from it. I was consumed by my emotions. I was consumed by my thoughts.

This went on for quite a few months. My parents (thank God for them) were on top of things and a combination of therapy and medication helped me. Things seemed to be OK again. Life returned to “normal,” and I laughed and enjoyed my family and friends once again. I did slip a few times over the next few years, but never once returned to that dark pit I couldn’t see my way out of years before.

On a brighter note, I absolutely LOVE Halloween. I love dressing up, but as an adult I don’t have much of a chance to do it. However, I married someone who also loves it, and my stepson is at the age where he still loves it. In fact, the three of us dress up together. In 2003, we went as Batman, Robin, and Catwoman. In 2004, we went as characters from “Gilligan’s Island.” Last year, we dressed up as two T-Birds and one Pink Lady a la “Grease.” We rotate turns and each get to pick the costumes. This year is my stepson’s turn to choose. We are all dressing up as Elvis – he is “Jailhouse Rock” Elvis, my husband is the brooding, 1950’s Elvis, and I got stuck with white jumpsuit Elvis. Hmm…this will be interesting to say the least.

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