Ah listen, I’m grand. Really.

Be brave.

I’m not depressed. Definitely not depressed. I think.

I know, deep down in my heart and in my calculating head, that I am fortunate. I am healthy, comfortable, safe and loved. I have everything I need. A healthy proportion of everything I want is mine for the taking.

This here, this writing, has been the most exciting thing to happen to me since motherhood was new. I remember wheeling my blonde, blue-eyed boy around Padova and reveling, for the first time in my life, in the attention. Writing gives me the same fiery mix of pride, joy and satisfaction. I love it.

You could take 95% of the people of the world and put them in my shoes and they would be on their knees thanking their God for such a wonderful life.

depression. A sodden rose symbolising middle age exhaustion.

So; what?

Well. Thoughtful pause.

A shocking wave of sadness has caught me unawares. The calendar, at this time of year, has become a minefield of sad anniversaries and it seems I have tripped a couple.

I haven’t quite tumbled. I’ve been putting up a brave effort to steady myself but I’m off-kilter. A chipped cup the other day was a tragedy. A broken bicycle chain almost buckled me.


Depression, I think, is like a bog. A mire. There is some comfort in sitting yourself right down in the muck and weeping. There’s always a chance that the sun will come out and firm up the ground.

Or, you might find it twice as hard to get up again.

I’m opting for the frantic action option. I’m kicking off my muddy wellies, metaphorically speaking, and running for higher ground.

I have a plan of action; my very own 12 step guide.

Step One. Think About Eating A Truck Load Of Chocolate.

Hardly original. I was facilitated by Small Girl’s homework which was to think of words that rhyme with it and at:


Step Two: Look at the bigger picture.

I don’t mean in the literal sense but, this was on my fridge this morning.


You know what I mean. Life is good. Get the f-ing bicycle chain fixed and forget about it.

Step Three: Get Fresh Air and Exercise.

I can’t be doing with anything that requires special kit or instruction. I should probably try pilates but, being honest, it’s unlikely I will. I walk the dog so hopefully that, with a bit of digging and weeding, will do.

walk the dog to beat depression.

Step Four: Grow Something.

This one works. Nurturing tiny plants is a tonic but it’s hardly what you could call a quick fix and this isn’t the best time of year to start.

No excuses. I have a little cuttings nursery on the go. I swear I don’t make believe that Monty Don pats me on the back and tells me I’m a marvellous gardener. (I know I’m not alone Zeens and Roger!)

play pretend Gardener's World

5. Eat Something Nutritious.

I’ve read that depression and anxiety can be caused, or at least exacerbated, by nutritional deficiencies.  Read this.

My best intentions were thwarted by the lousy weather and thieving birds. I found one raspberry.

eat something nutritious to combat depression

How nutritious do we think a brie and damson jam toastie would be?

6. Cook Something Delicious.

Small Girl and I have been playing Great Cork Bake-Off in the back garden. Does that count?

play pretend bake-off

I made pizza last night. It was good, really good. We ate it while watching the old Gary Cooper/ Ingrid Bergman movie of For Whom The Bell Tolls which reminds me…

7. Avoid Ernest Hemingway At All Costs.

8. Make Something Pretty.

Crochet. Twice as calming as Xanax and it keeps your toes cosy.


9. Indulge in Escapism.

I took a day-trip to Rutminster.


10. Indulge yourself.

I picked some flowers for myself.

Hypericum…a mild anti-depressant:


Poppies…hardcore anti-depressant:


Sweet geranium, perennial wallflower, fennel, and roses. I wish I could bottle the scent of this…


I tinkered around on the piano for a bit. It’s not me, but Middle Girl, who is learning the lyrics to ‘I Will Survive‘ (she has learned most of this ; it is unbelievably heart-warming). Still, no harm in belting out a bar or two.


I lit a candle, put on some appropriate music,


AND…I ate the fecking Kit-Kat.


11. Watch Bees.

I’m telling you, this is the best anti-depressant. I’ve taken a gazillion photos. Bees are brilliant.


12. Tell Someone.


And off they go, into the ether, the words that kept me awake all night, go on now go, I’m grand.


34 thoughts on “Ah listen, I’m grand. Really.

  1. Yes. It happens to the best of us. Maybe not a true depression, but a feeling of being overwhelmed. Writing helps as a sort of clearing house as you say. Get it ‘outside of yourself’. Leave it on the ‘page’. I am going through a similar phase as well. Can happen when I get overloaded and take on too much which is my usual M.O. We leave for Italy in a few days for 5 weeks and even though the renovation of the house has been fun (hmmmmm not sure that is the right word), negotiating your life in another country is not without its challenges. Hard pressed to call it a real vacation. But I tell myself to ‘quit whining’. I am so grateful for my life, family and all the joys that accompany it. Just need to pull myself up by the old bootstraps. Hope the mist lifts for you as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess it’s all light and shade. It is possible to be grateful and sad simultaneously. Sounds to me as though you have been VERY busy. House renovations are terribly unsettling at a deep level. All the same, Italy…how wonderful. It is a great time of year to visit. Buona Vacanza!


  2. I agree with all of your steps with the exception of #7 (this is the Key West in me talking) I would replace EH with Nicholas Sparks:)
    Seriously, hope the blues leave you soon❣

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Drink lots of fresh water. It’s my cure all for everything (especially efficacious if taken after eating lots of chocolate and drinking ice cold g&t).
    Hopefully only a dip rather than a plunge? If so, possibly cathartic and cleansing? X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This blogging helped me out of a hole last year. It has a lot to recommend it. Can I add ‘have an outing with a few supportive friends, especially ones who are funny’ to your excellent list? I had a lunch out (a rare treat) with three friends the other week and it buoyed me up for days. Great to see where you sit at your computer – what a lovely space. Do hope your equilibrium returns asap. S xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is kind of you to share that with me. Thank you. I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you. I really think we should all grasp any solution we can lay our hands on and hold on tight! My very best to you this morning.


  5. love your 12 step program….wish we lived closer….I would come over with a very expensive bottle of bubbly, some really good chocolate, could even be KitKat…LOL we would put on our pj’s….make sure there was dinner for the kids…and then sit outside, rain or not…and just be….I have always believed that a good bottle of bubbly will put you right, no matter!!! and the chocolate is just a bonus… feel better my friend…lots of energy coming your way….xxxxkat

    Liked by 1 person

      1. good….I was thinking of you yesterday and was hoping you were having a nice Sunday…barefoot in your garden ought to work….LOL nothing like getting close to nature….kat


  6. 1. Last year I dropped and broke my best mug (I’d been using it for about 15 years!). The world almost ended but not as much as when my old flat mate broke my favourite pint glass. I still mourning that one and it happened in (approximately) 2005. It was a seriously good pint glass.

    2. I’d have eaten two feckin’ kitkats. Maybe three.

    3. Love the crochet you’ve got on the go.

    4. We must do what Monty tells us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1.Perhaps we need to adopt a more polygamous approach to mug-lovin’ !
      2. I may have scoffed some bourneville watching Poldark last night. (can’t be sure, I was distracted by His Broodiness.)
      3. Really regretting not convincing Small Girl that a white background would have been prettier. She thinks it is gorgeous so that’s a win.
      4. Mild and wet weather seems to be suiting the cuttings. So far, so good. Do you plan on leaving them outside all winter?


      1. 1. You’re right. But I have a new mug and no other will do.
        2. Recording Poldark so I can have a binge at a later date.
        3. Noo! Love the pink.
        4. Not sure. They’re in the plastic grow house with the flap open. It’s really soggy here at the moment and didn’t want them to get sodden. I can’t rememeber what Monty said. Don’t think he specified, which must mean they’ll be ok outside. I’ve just got the rosemary but need to do some thyme and lavender.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Well done, my blogger friend. Sorry you had to go through that, but a great list!

    I read a few weeks ago that depression is the best fuel for creativity. The researchers even worked it out to the volume/quantity of creative product that results from a good (?) bout of depression.

    To which I can only say: At this rate, I should have written many more than just two books since the injuries from the car accident that threw me into profound depression.

    However, I do believe that it’s not on the mountaintop — but down in the valley — that our strongest self is made.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you’re on the right path with staying in motion. One therapist I read about calls it creating evidence. I try to do anything when I’m sad. Clean out a closet or a cupboard. Walk the dog. Again. Weed the garden. Just don’t let it paralyze you. At least in my case, I feel worse when I give up my small remaining power to inactivity.

    And as regards triggers, if you want them to, in time they lose their power. Sad anniversaries sometimes pass unremarked now. So this is a temporary thing, and you can get through it. Joy will still be waiting for you when you work your way through. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it’s like proving to yourself that you are good and worthwhile, even if you don’t have the results that you wanted in your life to validate that. It’s been a useful thing in my life, at least. 🙂


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