Working Through Mental Health Heaviness with a Little Gardening

garden.jpgWhen I am struggling, I tend to shut down or lash out. Or I lash out and then shut down. It’s a game time decision and basically not really a decision at all because I never know how I’m going to react in the moment. To put it ever so delicately, I think that it must insanely suck to be part of my family (or within ten miles of me) whenever I’m spiraling. I don’t hide it at all. It’s not in my nature nor is it in my innate set of skills. I basically exude “Hot Mess Here!” when I’m in that place. And I hate it.

I don’t believe in taking medications (I AM ONLY SPEAKING FOR MYSELF ON THIS – I absolutely do NOT speak for others nor am I advising anyone else to toss their pills ever), and I can’t muster the willpower or energy to exercise. It’s like slogging through tar. Or old Velveeta on a sponge. Eck. That’s the worst, no?

When I have a mental meltdown, I operate in full-out sour puss mode. Eventually I move to doing projects. That could be painting a mural, gardening, refinishing an old something, doing design work, photography, or any other number of things that will require an extensive level of detail and concentration. If I’m lucky, I get started on the project long before the crazy brain hits, but that isn’t always the case. Sadly I did not get in front of the downward spiral before it struck this past weekend, but I did manage to pull myself out of it with the succulent garden pallet (thank heavens).

I wrote the post below on anotherjoproject.com detailing how I put together the above garden as a light DIY piece for other creative gardeners out there. I didn’t delve into the why but I don’t get into the mental explanations on that blog. I keep those posts light because I it gives me a sense of comfort (false though it may be) when I feel like there’s a small place in my life that isn’t marred by the emotional roller coaster that I never fully exit.

DIY – Creating a Succulent Garden with a Pallet

If you need a pick me up or other general DIY project ideas, feel free to check the site.

Just remember that although the dark times may feel deep and real and raw right then, but they are not permanent residents. Do not allow those heavy days (weeks / years) to defeat you or destroy your relationships. As my abundantly wise friend Louise Gallagher at https://dareboldly.com/ reminded me, now is not forever. It really isn’t.

Such wisdom in those words.

If you feel like you are caught up in the heaviness of the now, allow yourself the meltdown and then move another direction. Drink a cup of coffee, drag your butt out of bed, and do something. Write. Draw. Garden. Paint. Sing. Read. Whatever. Just find your way back.

If you are stuck, I’m here and am always happy to remind you that the sun is still there even when you can’t see past the clouds. I need those reminders, too.

Now is not forever.

Dig past the rough spots and uncover the life that you are meant to have. It’s there. It just gets a little hidden sometimes.

Love, light, and hugs – Jo

Hold Me Closer Tony Danza

pizzaSo close but not quite right. This is how I feel I am doing on multiple levels of my life. I’ve almost got it, but then I muck it up the further I go. See those jazzy frozen pizzas cooking above? Forget about breakfast, I missed brunch, lunch came and went, and now I’m thinking that this may be linner. It’s the only “cooking” I’ve done in days. I’m not gonna lie. I love me some bad news bears frozen pizza. I just wish it was going to be coupled with anything worthwhile for my family to eat in the next couple of hours.  The older members of the family learned to forage a while back, but it’s not how I would like them to find nourishment.  I am a good cook.  I’ve just been too crazy tired and over-scheduled to do it lately.  And by lately, I mean every day in way too long.

I’m not the suckiest parent and wife out there. At least not today. Yes I am still making my kids camp downstairs, but I did invest in some very nice foldable mattresses that they tell me they love. (This may just be a joint line they are feeding me in an attempt to get on my good side. Little do they know, but they are already on my good side.)

mattressI saw these mattresses online and thought how great it would be to get something I could fold away for storage. Being a mathematician, you would think that I would have crunched the numbers and figured out that they would fold into a cube with dimensions so large that coffee tables would be envious. As I now own multiple mattress cubes, I may have to ditch our sofa and switch to these on a permanent basis instead. We would literally have a fold-away bed sofa, and it would be the only comfortable one in all of history.

Today has consisted of dropping of my smallest at childcare, being frustrated at the mayhem in that room that wasn’t apparent a couple weeks ago, visiting another potential childcare place, being frustrated that there was a teeny playground there, visiting another another potential childcare place, liking their playground, and being totally uncertain about what is best for my daughter. That was today until 9am.

The rest has consisted of business calls, spreadsheet updates, more spreadsheet updates, more calls, and I’m still so in the weeds with all that. As working moms don’t get smoke breaks (at least not in this house), I scattered a few minutes here and there to tackle laundry, dishes, cleaning, more laundry, more dishes, more cleaning… However I have to pause all that now though because I need to stop by the pediatrician’s office before they close, pick up my smallest from mayhem care, and then take my girls to gymnastics while the boys chill at home. I get/have to participate in one of those classes which consists of picking up my two-year old over and over again for an hour. The scale lies. It says that she weighs 35 pounds, but my arms and back know with full certainty that the truth is that she weighs 85 pounds. I also need to go to the hardware store, the UPS store, the pharmacy, and the grocery store. The last of those probably won’t happen, as I committed to work on the fairy garden with the kids. Despite my insistence on mainlining caffeine it throughout the day, even it calls it quits after a while.

astros lightsI don’t have anything ready to go for Father’s Day, but in all fairness to me, I am a total goof and thought it was last weekend. Now that I write those words, I see that this admission isn’t really a positive note either. I didn’t have cards then, but my husband hates cards. What a weirdo. I hate the sappy stuff, but I love me some good funny. However I was able to spring a Father’s Day surprise and load everyone in the car without knowing that we were actually going to a baseball game. Admittedly the level of surprise probably had a lot to do with the fact that it wasn’t Father’s Day. Who knew??? (Everyone else knew.) Surprise to me, too!

I just can’t seem to execute everything on the list. Ever. Every time I mark something off the list, five more items take its place. I am trying. I’m not succeeding like I would like to, but if caffeine can’t keep up, neither can I. So we will have our linner pizzas. I will break my back yet again. We will fairy garden a bit. I will have to work over the weekend some. Laundry and dishes and dust and life will keep happening. And my husband won’t care about the cards.

Hold me closer tiny dancer…
Count the headlights on the highway…
Lay me down in sheets of linen…
You had a busy day today…
“Tiny Dancer” sung by Elton John

I read these lines, and all I could think was “Ugh – linen sheets? Not soft enough and what a pain to iron!” But with or without Tony Danza, it’s still a lovely song.

***MoJo***

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