imagine a haystack. the hay in the haystack represents all the noise of getting through depression. hiding in that stack are the potential keys for getting to the other side of depression. these could be anything from medications, friends, support groups, therapy or even your aunt mabel’s advice on how she made it through her depression by sitting in a mud bath daily until her depression went away, “Oh, in ’bout six months i reckon,” as those words still echo in your ears.
in talking to a couple different friends recently, I’ve come to this revelation. the revelation is:
the best path out of depression is self-care.
Mary and i dropped in our kayaks at marymoor park. here are a couple pictures.
some times plants grow so rapidly, they become a detriment to their very selves. this growth potentially can lead to situations where the plant could die. the gardener prunes for that very reason. they cut out the deadwood, the crossing branches which don’t aid the tree’s health, or prune back branches that may be rubbing. this process helps to insure a healthy plant that will continue to grow for many years to come.
i played gardener this week, cutting out a branch that had started to rub, contributing almost more to my unwell being as compared to my well being. it leaves me still with three lively support groups that feed me and strangely enough, support me.
the branch had to go because the group failed on its primary directive, support. there has been a few times the group worked against my support, where i felt worse leaving the group than when i arrived. that’s not good.
at times recently, i would read one of my posts, or derivatives of it, and i would get the obligatory, “that’s nice.” no one would approach me after the meeting and want to discuss it further or even offer up a further compliment. that positive feedback happens regularly at the other meetings.
i can recall three times i felt lower leaving the meeting as compared to arriving. one time i went to the meeting feeling so low, i wondered if i could go lower. i found my answer, yep! the interactions i had drove me even deeper into the abyss.
this feeling worse at an end of a meeting happened again this week and became the proverbial straw that broke the camels back.
someone stated as fact that growth always comes from within. i knew of at least four times in my recent life where i saw or experienced where something from outside of me had become a catalyst to my further growth. i offered up the analogy of a seed becoming the giant tree. i got denied with the statement that the seed seeks out the nutrients to grow. “what about water. without water the tree can’t grow.” i said. “true, but the tree seeks out the water it needs”, i heard. “well without water, a drought, the tree withers.”, i replied. “well if you want to go there!”, they replied with a huff.
then came the topper. i told my story of my friend mark who had been saying, “stephen, i am so glad to see you.”, for months now. only now could i recognize how helpful those reoccurring words were for me where i am now. those words surely did not come from inside; they came as a gift from another person. the silence sounded deafening.
the whole interaction bugged me, like really bugged me. i pondered the question why did this bother me so much?
i bounced it around a few minutes and an answer became clear. i realized i repeatedly tried to tell a personal truth, that sometimes growth requires a catalyst. additionally, sometimes that spark will come from a source outside of myself. each time i said my truth, i heard, “that can’t be true. you’re wrong.” just so you know, one of the quickest ways to piss me off is to tell me that one of my personal truths is wrong. that makes my mathematical mind (did i tell you i have a degree in mathematics?) explode since something cannot be right and wrong at the same time. that’s what is called a fallacy.
so, i decided the branch rubs a little too much. with that rubbing comes chaffing. and if that chaffing were to continue, the overall health of the plant, me, would suffer.
when i told Mary, i believe she initially felt concern; she had seen mostly the good the group had done for me. i reassured her that i still had three other groups. i also reminded her of one of the other benefits.
before my recent decision, half of afternoons or evenings, went to support group. that meant half the time i definitely could not spend time with Mary. the other half of the time, with life being life, became a hit and miss affair. that means that we had one night where we where both free to be with each other.
i told her monday night would be our game night. no tv, just her and i playing games. i think it will be good for us. it has been years since we set aside a night for each other. i actually look,forward to the opportunity with a certain amount of excitement.
so, as the good pruner knows, as the old branch falls, an opportunity of new growth arises. i plan to make the most of this opportunity and sprout some new growth that will make me even stronger.