I’m an earthy, nature grounded person. I always feel better outside, with the fresh air and green things growing. Actually, any outside time, even if it’s snowing, raining or windy is soothing to my very being. When I need calm inside my head if I can get to what I think of as “a green space” then I can quickly find that settling of my soul. Peace always follows time outdoors for me.
I’ve been lacking some fresh air, outdoor type of quiet, and green space. Colorado weather is erratic at best. Never have I lived somewhere that the weather changes so quickly. In less than an hour you could get a major thunderstorm, snowstorm, 60 mile per hour winds, and then back to sunshine. Mountain living was a huge adjustment for me.
When I get in a rut or funk, like I am at the moment, exercise and sunshine and green space time is so important. However, when I feel a little raw and frayed around the edges all I want to do is burrow into myself and my space and my head and live there in the dark hoping it passes. When I give into that it’s harder to get back out.
I used to call my depression and my tendency toward it a “big bag of sadness” that I lug around. I once had a therapist ask me what happens if I just…dropped the bag? I had no idea and almost wondered if she’d even heard me. Clearly I was very dedicated to dragging this giant sack of misery behind me. How on EARTH did she think I was just going to just let it go? She wasn’t the therapist that helped me finally make the breakthrough that would allow me to unyolk myself from this burden I’d carried for most of my life. More on that at a different time…
When depression hits me all I want to do is lay in bed watching movies in the dark. Or build a pillow and blanket fort and read books that take me outside of my own life and reality. As I’ve learned over time, this is not helpful to getting me my smile back. It only intensifies my malaise and isolation in all honesty. My “bag” gets heavier the more I don’t deal with it….or unpack it.
Depression literally changes your brain chemistry and therefore how your mind AND body respond to things like stress, and everyday emotions most people experience. Everything that was once easy now takes a Herculean amount of effort. EVERYTHING. Brushing your teeth every day is exhausting. So, if you’re like me, and what you really need is a brisk walk outside come rain or shine to feel better but you’re too tired to even put on deodorant…well, you see the problem.
I’m really so thankful for my past experiences at this point in my life. I’ve walked this road enough times that I can still see the lasting imprint my footsteps have made. I’ve learned not to take this as a failure that I’m back here. Again. *eye-twitch, and heavy sigh*
To unpack my bag of sadness there are a few important things I have to do. At this point I have more positive self talk in my head and I’m more forgiving and kind to myself than I’ve ever been. It took effort and presence of mind to learn to speak to myself in my head the way I would speak to others. I asked myself how long I would put up with someone putting me down like I put myself down. Not very long. I also practice self care, and talk to my “people” and try to sleep well, eat well, drink water…blah blah blah. BUTTTTT….my green space time is limited by schedule, time, energy…and sadly I do have a list of excuses a mile long. Someone special to me said, not too long ago, that sometimes it feels good to feel bad. He’s right and I’m ashamed to say I’ve been soaking in the bathtub full of gloomy thoughts and feelings. My fingers are pruney at this point.
Yesterday I had a full day off and I’d run out of my excuses. I was sick of myself. I am sick of my own garbage by now. SO! I got my behind outside to walk a trail by my new apartment that I haven’t traveled down yet. Admittedly, I was on the phone with my bestie who is down and out with DIAGNOSED influenza A. Poor thing…
The second my well worn tennis shoes hit the path and I could breathe the fresh, albeit cold, Colorado air I swear my energy and spirit got a huge boost. It was exactly what I should have done about three weeks ago. No looking back! Only forward, and I’ve finally reached the end of my own crap. (Insert cliche or meme here) **tends to happen when you have to admit TO OTHER PEOPLE that you’re in a huge funky funk.***
I love you all. Anyone that has the patience and concern for me to read this, bless you. Know that I appreciate you and it doesn’t go unnoticed.