Lately – if, by lately, you mean the last 18 months – I have been in the grip of a depression so fierce it blasts anything good around it to smithereens. I sleep a lot, I can’t make decisions, my brain is empty of ideas, thoughts, and feelings, and I feel like I go through life like a sleepwalker.
My counsellor says I should celebrate the small things. Like getting up in the morning. Or having a cup of tea. Or writing one sentence.
So I have been trying to see things in the garden and celebrate those small garden things. I post them on my Twitter feed, as a textual reminder that I saw something neat and can celebrate it publicly. So far I’ve posted about snakes, hummingbirds, pill bugs, the magnolia tree, and the cherry tree. Only a few lines, and not in any format like a haiku or something similar. Just an observation of something singular from the garden.
This has the effect of making me: (1) get out in the garden (requires that I get out of bed); (2) pay attention to what’s happening around me (less sleepwalking, more interaction with the outside world); and, (3) share it with others (depression is a great isolator, making you want to withdraw from social interactions, so sharing with others is a big deal).
This seems to make a tiny difference in my days. It’s not a be-all end-all depression cure. But it does break the pattern a bit and make me shift out of my silent inner monologue to connect with the outside world – both in terms of the thing I observe and the tweet I capture it in.
When the season is over I will have a record of what I noticed each day. But I’m not thinking that far ahead, otherwise it risks becoming a chore. Instead I will take it day by day, celebrating the small moments that make getting out of bed worthwhile.