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.
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.
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!)
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.
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?
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:
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.