A therapist once told me that I didn’t suffer bouts of depression, so much as my life was more like one low-level depression with a few highs and lows along the way.
I suppose that’s true and some of the stellar highs have had the exact reverse drop to the deepest fathoms of darkness.
I’ve always been able to crawl back up the dark tunnel when I’ve found myself too deep. But in reality, it wasn’t me crawling up on my own, it was often due to someone or something lending me a hand, offering their help, a simple act of kindness, and sometimes it was kismet.
This video reminds me that caring for others, even plants or pets, is one of the easiest ways to get on your knees and start crawling, digging, and clawing sometimes, up that dark tunnel.
Once, when I found myself slipping too far down, I got a teddy bear hamster named Ruth. I gave her so much attention and care. I had to get up each day and get out of the house because she needed food or fresh lettuce. I also needed fresh air and food and vegetables, but “for Ruth” I could find the strength. For myself, not so much.
Each one of the dogs I’ve cared for over the decades came to me or I found them when I needed to care for something, someone, because I wasn’t caring for myself. I just needed to care again. Full stop. A dog needs to be outside walking and exploring and playing, and they also need cuddling and affection and they give this unconditional love.
Maybe that’s why I’ve always been drawn to dogs. That unconditional love. I know those bright eyes and that wagging tail will greet me even in my darkest hours. Humans…not so much. Sadly there’s a fear of darkness. That when you tell most people that you’re feeling low, you hear “Awww, cheer up!” and “It’ll be okay.” That’s not usually what I want or need to hear, but to be fair, I don’t even know what I would want to hear. Maybe just holding space and listening?
I saw this video in my timeline this morning and my first thought was, “Same girl, same.” Then I looked around my home, one that has no inside plants. One that has always had inside plants, and I wondered why I’m not caring for them…am I caring for myself at all either?
The answer to both of those questions is just met with a sigh and a, “No, not really.”
I hope you can connect with this video in some way. Either it brings you a gentle, loving reminder to care again, or to reach out and share some of your own joy and loving kindness to others. Just a simple act of kindness can really make all the difference to someone. Someone who may not even realize how little they feel and care anymore.
May it be of benefit:
I was so touched to read this along with the video as well:
“During a recent dark season of the spirit, a dear friend buoyed me with the most wonderful, hope-giving, rehumanizing story: Some years earlier, when a colleague of hers—another physicist—was going through such a season of his own, she gave him an amaryllis bulb in a small pot; the effect it had on him was unexpected and profound, as the effect of uncalculated kindnesses always is—profound and far-reaching, the way a pebble of kindness ripples out widening circles of radiance. As the light slowly returned to his life, he decided to teach a class on the physics of animation. And so it is that one of his students, Emily Johnstone, came to make Bloom—a touching animated short film, drawing from the small personal gesture a universal metaphor for how we survive our densest private darknesses, consonant with Neil Gaiman’s insistence that “sometimes it only takes a stranger, in a dark place…to make us warm in the coldest season.” ~ via Maria Popova
A few more quotes for your heart:
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
“You can talk with someone for years, everyday, and still, it won’t mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever…connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.” ~ C. JoyBell C.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia
“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human—in not having to be just happy or just sad—in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.” ~ C. JoyBell C.
“When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert