Some days can be a struggle.
I am long overdue for a trip to hike the mountain, but today is supposed to be one of the hottest days of the summer. I could probably handle it, as long as I have water and stop often. I don’t want to risk my sweet Bella. If I had gone earlier it would have been okay, but its already 86 degrees Fahrenheit here and its only going to get worse. I will have to seek other options. I need some nature therapy. I may even risk going alone, though I’m sure Bella would know and pout. I will probably end up just hiking the woods behind the house, go sit by the pond, that sort of thing.
I knew today was coming. I knew because of the nights I’ve spent putting off going to bed, then sitting there listening to the fan humming. Minutes ticking away, shifting one to the next on that digital clock beside the bed. The phone in my hand drawing no interest. A bout of depression? Malaise? A time of loneliness that will work itself out but in the meantime must be faced?
This morning, as I sit here having made my way through the many published writings of those I follow, learning, appreciating, understanding that life is not easy for many of us at the moment. Even outside my window in the world of nature, the hummingbirds must fight off the bees to be able to reach the feeder. My own dogs grumbling because I won’t allow them to bark at the neighbors or at the kittens playing in my carport.
Even as I sit here, struggling, I am looking out my windows at a place someone once after seeing photos, called a private paradise. Their comment echoes in my head. I do know my blessings, how I in my simple possessions, have more than many. Though not elaborate, fancy or expensive, still plentiful. I have a car. I have a home. I have food. I have family. What, could possibly cause me to feel sad? Even for a short time.
I’m not a doctor or a trained individual. My thoughts are my own. We all must in our own way, work out what brings on the moments when our joy is missing.
It has been over a year since I’ve held down a full time job. I managed to survive on the unemployment for a while, but just as I was realizing I wasn’t going to be called back to work and move forward, it was too late. My parents had become too dependent on me. So I retired. I wasn’t planning on retiring. I planned on working right up until full age. But God knew my parents would need me so I was let go from the job I had held for just short of thirty years. My retirement would pay my bills, but this month they didn’t due to unexpected events like the tooth extraction adventure. So, I feel the failure in my finances. I won’t even bring up the four years plus alone thing. Even as I know, God will provide, that little voice on my shoulder whispers that about not strong enough for the storm.
We all, have our own struggles. Those were just two of what is currently bothering me. And yes, it bothers me, that it bothers me. When….
There are those who are homeless and struggling to survive.
There are those, who struggle to pay bills and put food on the table.
There are those who even though there are help wanted signs everywhere, struggle to find work.
There are those who battle loneliness every moment of every day.
My struggles are not as dire as many others, but that doesn’t make them less real. We can’t look at another and tell them, you have all of this, how can you be sad? You have a multitude of friends or family, how can you be lonely? Depression is a beast that takes many forms and levels, striking when one is at their most vulnerable. What to do, when those moments show themselves?
As I said, I am no doctor nor am I trained in any way to assist. All I know, is what helps me. In no particular order.
To grab my camera and head out into nature. My real camera, the one on my phone is annoying and disappointing in how horrible the photos are. Real camera in hand, I head out into nature somewhere and seek photo opportunities. It doesn’t matter, landscapes, animals, insects, flowers, anything and everything. As I seek out the potential photos, I am distracted from the sadness and moving toward a return to myself. Being out in nature itself is a big help, the peace and comfort of the outdoors more than healing. It is an invigoration of the spirit.
My music tastes are very eclectic. My mood dictates the type I wish to hear at any moment in time. I love the fast paced songs but there are times when I prefer a ballad. Music, whether you are a musician and play or whether you turn the volume up on the radio, sing and dance the depression away, its your choice.
Speaking of dancing, exercise works. When you take the time to really work the muscles of your body. In the process you are not only working out your depression but helping yourself gain and retain good health.
Cooking a familiar or new meal. Taking the time to prepare from scratch something tasty and healthy. Seeking new recipes or new ways to prepare old favorites. Enjoying that meal, one savory taste at a time. Also when possible, growing your own garden delights. From tilling the soil or filling the raised beds or even the buckets. Which ever you have room for. To the planting the tending the harvesting. And then the best part, the enjoying the harvest. A process that strengthens the mind and spirit.
Reading or writing, especially but not limited to, creative writing can distract you and take you to faraway places. Leaving the sadness behind. Any creative outlet, painting, sewing, building.
Finding things to laugh at such as kittens or puppies playing, the antics of toddlers and young children. Comedies whether through sitcoms or movies.
Biting the bullet and letting a close friend or family member know that you are struggling. Allow them to help whether by sitting quietly, discussing the issues that have brought on the depression if it has been brought on by an event or if it is something that came in like the tide and threatens to overwhelm. The important thing, is to not hide out alone, hoping to ride it out. That often does not work.
Prayer. When I have felt really low, when something is seriously working on my spirit, I pray. If the weather permits, I take to my small, private walking track. My own little olive garden. I walk and I talk, out loud. Discussing any and everything that is on my heart. Always walking away lighter and at peace. Having taken my burdens to the One who loves me without reservation. The One who will provide all my needs, even and especially when it is peace of mind and heart.
Those are only a few methods. I will say here, there is no absolutely NO shame in seeking medical help and medication. As I said, each individual has their own answers and methods. The important thing is not allowing the darkness and sadness to overwhelm us. It is a storm that will pass. For we are, stronger than the storm.