Understanding our biology as humans is incredibly important to me. Our bodies are our best teachers in how we connect to our environments. Recent studies show that our bodies are not as equipped to handle the daily stresses we have been putting them into in our new technological and developed age. It’s starting to manifest in symptoms of mental illness such as anxiety.
These days, a doctor will try to subscribe to you a pill to cure your mental illness and treat the symptoms of it rather than trying to figure out what is causing the illness at the root. Now, this is not to discredit some of the more serious mental illnesses that are caused by chemical and hormonal imbalances which do require some more advanced medical help. That being said, those serious mental illnesses still need a deeper level of therapy and understanding in order to cope with them.
I do not have a diagnosed mental illness but I can recognise that I have the symptoms of anxiety and depression. I have seen varying degrees of these symptoms in others and can place myself on a scale of sorts. There are times when I don’t want to leave my house because my will to do so is just not there. Then there are days when all I want to do is be around people, talk with them, and socialize. I am thankful that I am starting to recognize my patterns.
I have been doing some reflecting on where I grew up and what kind of a life I lived in my formative years. I lived out in the countryside and a fairly remote area of my hometown. I spent a lot of time on my own keeping myself company. This is where I developed a very active imagination and a knack for storytelling. The upside to this lifestyle was that I feel very at home with myself and moreover, when I am out in nature. I cannot tell you how many hours I spent outdoors growing up.
Whenever life got too stressful, I would take a walk and sit down by the river that was only a mile away from my home. I would take my dog for protection and that’s it. Somethings don’t change, I still go out into nature with my dog when I need to ground myself. These days, I tend to go to a dog park so that my dog can run around while I sit and meditate. There’s a great one next to a creek just on the outside of town.
Sometimes, all I need is to just sit outside on my patio in order to ground myself after a long stressful day at work. Just sitting and watching my dog play in the backyard or listening to the breeze through the wind chimes is enough for me to feel more relaxed. I will miss being able to do that once winter settles in. Granted, if I wanted to fire up my propane fire pit, I can do that and enjoy the warmth of the fire while listening to the stillness that snow brings.
It’s spring now and the long dark of winter is over. It was a hard winter for me and my dog. We didn’t get outside very much because it was too cold. I managed to escape the worst of winter and go on a trip to Hawai’i with my family. It was nice to get out of the wet and damp for a while. The last few months have been hard though, trying to get out of the slump of winter and a rainy spring.
Today, it was warm enough for me to pull out one of my dresses to wear. I knew that it was a bit of a gamble because of how quickly the weather can change in the spring. I have been able to go outside without a long sleeve shirt or a jacket the past new days. I look forward to getting out to my favorite hiking locations this week to enjoy being out in nature again. I want to reclaim for the areas that I missed due to my depression last spring and summer. I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to go swimming in the lake!