(Originally published: 6th July 2015.)
I’m very used to dealing with depression and keeping myself busy is the first tool I turn to. Distraction and challenging negative thoughts come from the effort of doing something. It often doesn’t matter what I do – anything is better than sitting around with a long face. And, yes, you can remind me of this the next time I’m moping.
The allotment has been fantastic in motivating me to get up and get busy. There’s always plenty of work – some heavy, some light, some fun, some tedious. There’s work there to suit every mood and inclination. And when I’m there I do work, especially since moving up to a plot-and-a-half from my original half plot. Last summer with just the half plot and not very high standards I was content to sit and read in the afternoon sunshine but since February when I was allocated the full plot as well my kindle’s stayed at the bottom of my rucksack.
I’m in a mixed phase at the moment. Depression has the comfort of long familiarity. Moderate highs can be fun. But mixed is the worst of the three and this one seems particularly bad. It also seems to have gone on forever although I know with my rational mind that it’s only been around for a week or so.
According to the CPNs I saw last week the solution is to take it easy, read a book and relax. I tried that and was very ill over the weekend. This morning I decided to ditch their advice and was in the garden and working by 8:30am. And then I smelled the roses. They’re growing in abundance over the entrance to a neighbour’s plot and they’re gorgeous. They smell good enough to eat – and the bees are certainly getting their fill. So, yes, I worked, but I took time to smell the roses. I took time to sit at the foot of my tree and breathe in the peace and tranquility. I listened to the birds and felt the sun on my skin. I closed my eyes for a moment and felt the breeze in my hair. When I was weeding I stopped to notice the bees busy in the comfrey flowers.
And it was very good.