mental health, Blog, Therapy, Ecotherapy, Depression

Sands of Time

(Originally published 9 Oct 2013)

Here we are again...another bit of writing...one less 'thing' going around my head finds its way here, creating some space to make room for something else.

I'm going to find myself at a loose end on Thursday afternoon.  For the past couple of months I've been attending a Therapeutic Garden managed by my local NHS Mental Health services.  I've wrote a little about it in the past (here) and it's fair to say I've really enjoyed my time there.  I didn't think I would initially.  I've never been much of a gardener or one for DIY, preferring DBW (Done By Wife) or DBSE (Done By Someone Else) but that was the 'old me', so I embraced the change.  It paid off in spades (pardon the pun).  The garden itself is a lovely relaxing space, just what the Tree Surgeon ordered.  A place not so much to get away from life, but just to have some time to slow it down enough to enjoy the ride.  I've learned a lot of about what I enjoy and I've been surprised by it at the same time.  I tried weeding initially but my rapidly ageing joints convinced me that I was, perhaps, better suited for other things.  I quickly found my vocation.  I became the unofficial furniture restorer within our little band of desperadoes.  You can see the progress from my second furniture project below.  All sanded by hand (there's no electricity up there).  In case you were wondering, look at them left to right - it makes for a much less impressive feat the other way!

I remember the first time I went there, just for a look around.  Whilst I was keen to engage in the service, I thought in my heart of hearts that I'd show willing for a couple of weeks then, gradually, make excuses not to go.  That's what I tend to do....or maybe that's what I tendED to do.  However, keen to try new things, week after week, little by little I started to really enjoy my time there.  As I said, the tranquility of the place helped but having a purpose, something to do, was a great driving force to help me even for just a couple of hours.  There's a lot to be said for having 'a something', in fact the more 'somethings', the merrier.  A new hobby or an old pastime.  That thing that takes you out of yourself, your head, just for a little while to soothe it, recalibrate it even.  That's something worth doing.

I know I've mentioned Breaking Bad a lot lately (but it's just SOOOO good) and I'm going to crowbar in another reference, but stick with it...it's relevant.

[Spoiler Alert]

There's a point in Season 3 where Jesse is in a support group and the facilitator says that anyone who's there to change shouldn't be there.  He says that it's all about accepting who you are, even if that person is someone you don't like being.  I'd have to disagree.  I think when you need to change, you can and you should.  Going to the garden wasn't about accepting who I was if I did I'd have lasted a fortnight tops!  It was about making a change, even a little one, to the person I'd become over the last 4-5 years.  I hated 'him' and if I had to accept being 'him' then I would have done something radical, and not in a good way.  Little by little, I'm finding out about who I am, who I want to be, in fact, make that need to be.  It's a long journey.  It can be a bumpy with the occasional wrong turn but I'm slowly getting there.  Plus I've now got a nice chair to sit on!