At the age of forty two, I am slowly learning to relax and take the days in my stride. Taking up gardening has certainly helped, because the whole process is a slow one. Planting a seed, looking after it, transplanting it, potting on, planting out, watering, dead heading, staking, weeding, wandering around the garden centre are all done at a leisurely pace.
I usually have one or more children in tow, and for that I need to be especially patient and not allow my usual anal tendencies to get in the way of just enjoying the moment with them. And now the summer holidays are here, I am relaxed enough to let this:
leave me frazzled. Yes it is sad that something as brilliant as children at play and having fun have stressed me out in the past. I've spent too much time fretting and not enough time simply not worrying about it. And joining in.
An admission. I have had depression on and off for about twenty years. Before children I had constructed ways of coping with it by being very tidy. I became trapped by the need for calm and order, and this cycle just perpetuated the depression that crept up behind me every so often, smacking me on the back of the head every time.
Sometimes the struggle with depression is so great, I can't imagine why I'd ever want to wake up in the morning. After I had Olly, it was as bad as it's ever been. I realised through the murk that I needed to do something fundamental in order to be the parent and wife I wanted to be. It's no joke living with a depressive. We are hard work.
The irony is that I am a trained counsellor, and I think I was pretty good in the end. The old adage 'phyiscan, heal thyself' became a mantra. I was invited to join a book club just at my lowest point. I nearly didn't go. I'm so glad I did. I've met wonderful people, had a great laugh and read some good books too. It was terrifying to walk into a room full of people I didn't know, but by challenging my constructs, I remember feeling a real buzz from the evening on the way back home.
And hence the gardening. Therapy with a trowel. It gets me outside, it makes me stop and look, I get to feel satisfaction at something I've created and I share all this with my family. And I can honestly say I haven't felt better in a long time. I am starting to relax in a way that I never have before, and I thank the garden for this healthy state of mind.
I've changed my blog layout a little bit.I like to de-clutter occasionally. I'm off to my Monica cupboard soon too. I may never return. Well, old habits die hard!