Autobiography · Mental Health · Personal Development


"pink wooly love" © Dorky Mum, 2010. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
pink wooly love” © Dorky Mum, 2010. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In November of 2013 I was happy. I like to hold onto that month in my memory as proof that it’s possible. Evidence I can shake this ache from my bones and stand up strong. I carry that idea around with me like a seed, try to supply it with what it needs to grow. But it’s mostly guesses as to how this all works. How to properly nurture it.

I know I was getting up at the same time every day and exercising at least forty minutes. Mason and I were doing a Whole30, so we were eating well and I was cooking most of our meals. I was also participating in NaNoWriMo. But that’s all I can remember about that month. Those things and the fact that I was happy.

Could happiness be so simple? Something that wraps itself into our daily activities like brushing our teeth or checking the mail. Perhaps it slinks in and out of our lives attached to simple habits we didn’t think made much of a difference at the time. Maybe it’s not all just the whim of brain chemicals and hormones. Maybe it’s the day-to-day things.

It both needs to be simple and couldn’t possibly. Could I get that feeling back just by working out, cooking, and writing a book? If I think it’s that easy, why I can’t I get myself to do those things? The strong hand of depression closes around me so tight I can’t seem to make the movements I need to free myself.

All of it sounds so easy in theory. Get up in the morning, go run, go to work, write, cook dinner. But each one feels so monumental when you’re wrapped up in it. When you’re in the midst of depression, nothing seems like it would make a difference. The things you know help don’t matter, because you can’t make yourself believe any of the things you know. But maybe I could start.

Maybe I could get myself to remember it’s the little things that make a difference. Maybe I could get myself to remember it’s simple steps in the right direction that get you to where you’re going. I don’t need an entire garden, just a little bit of soil.

20 thoughts on “Nurture

  1. Brilliant metaphor with the garden idea!!! How right you are when recognizing it IS the little things that make you happy. Depression is like a heavy overcoat weighing me down, like trying to lift yourself up and walk while your feet are sinking into quicksand. Some days I feel lighter, for lack of a better word. For me this “lightness” makes me “feel happy”. I think you have to do what makes you feel happy, in this moment, in this body. I try to live most days in the present. I can’t change the past or the future; the only thing I can do is change how I feel right now. Depression is a silent cloak of deception, it tricks you when you least expect it! Sending you positive energy.


  2. Ruby! Yes. It is so frustrating when people say depression doesn’t exist but as one who suffers you know that once upon a time you were happy and once again we will be again, but try as we might it’s not today. Every day I wake up hoping maybe today the skies will part…but it won’t be today.


  3. It is something of a victory over depression just to remember having been happy. Yes, nurture that seed, or the seed in that soil, whichever way that works. Every garden does start with one little seed in one little bit of soil that grows and takes root and blooms even if sometimes it is watered with tears.


  4. You’ve known it in the past, and you’ll know it again. The overwhelm is Le Suck, though, and it does make everything feel absolutely impossible. Hate that. Hope you get the happy again soon.


  5. Oh, if only there was a formula for joy and happiness, like the label on the bag of potting soil that reports the percentage of nitrogen and phosphate down to the decimal. If only it were as simple as stumbling upon the right combination again.

    Happiness IS possible, but don’t blame yourself if the same healthy habits don’t result in the precise synergy they once did. You are clearly doing what you can to nurture yourself. You are doing your best. You aren’t the same person you were in the past, and some of your needs may be the same, but some may be different. Don’t let comparisons to the past rob you of the potential good that is around you now or undermine your progress. I suppose what I am trying to say is, don’t be too rigid or too hard on yourself. I am holding out hope for your happiness and am wishing you well. ❤️


  6. I just rejoined a gym I belonged to this time last year. I joined last winter because I wasn’t getting enough exercise and my mood was plummeting. You’d think it wouldn’t be a surprise each year, but somehow it is. I definitely think the little things count. Thanks for this.


  7. “I don’t need an entire garden, just a little bit of soil.”

    I just recently posted a blog that resembles this metaphor. This made me smile. Atlast. Because all of your posts made my eyes swell. Sorry I’m just a cry baby.

    “We don’t have basket cradles or ceramic pots. We don’t have vintage pathways and street lamps on the pathway. We don’t have iron gates and cocktail patios. Man we don’t even have the basic tools of gardening. But we have good soil, enough sunshine, water and air to grow something really promising.”

    I stumbled on your blog today and I didn’t realize I was reading one blog after another. I was tearing up and kept reminding myself that we haven’t broken up YET. That he’s still here with me. That instead of crying over something that scares me, I better make the most out of what we have. Who knows? We might still be able to save our garden.

    Thanks for sharing all your stories Ruby.



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