As you know, I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety. Depression isn’t about feeling sad; it makes me feel lethargic and drained. I don’t have the desires, the joys, etc. that generally motivate someone to embrace life. On the other hand, anxiety breeds worries over major and minor, real or preserved issues that drain me even more.
Last year, two very dear nurse friends in entirely separate conversations gave me transformative advice, though I didn’t know it at the time. The first suggested vitamins as a way to combat the energy drain. Taking vitamins seemed easy, so I took her suggestion. My other friend suggested cooking more. That seemed harder, but it planted a seed.
After a few weeks of taking vitamins, I suddenly realized I was feeling alive. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. I just noticed one day, in retrospect, that I had wanted (and did) leave the house more. I was eager to do certain things. I was looking at Facebook events and really looking to do something, not just to “like” one.
This realization led to the desire to keep that feeling. I went back to my other friend’s suggestion of cooking more. I love to cook. Before, I mostly cooked Brazilian food, a mix of Carioca and Minas styles. Meals require many elements that come together beautifully. It also frequently takes 45 min. to an hour to create a meal of rice, beans, meat and vegetables from fresh ingredients. I had gotten out of the habit opting for easy, quick and convenient.
I’ve been recovering and sure there’s still a bad day now and then, but most of my days are brighter. Just one little easy step of self-care has led to another and another. Like my little green onions, a moment to save them from the trash and a few moments of care a month have led to a new lease on life.
Around my birthday last month, I decided to sign up for Meg’s sustainable wardrobe course (Sew Liberated) and am loving the space and time she gives to the topic of sewing as self-care. Slow sewing, slow food, farm to table, etc. all stem from the idea of slowing down and enjoying life. I am really taking time and steps to bring that into my reality.
This journey hasn’t been easy or fast but I encourage anyone struggling with this to start small. Don’t judge your progress with anyone else’s. I started by being honest and vulnerable with friends in conversation. Then it was a little thing, not even a minute a day change. It’s taken months to get to this point. It is never a straight line from down to up. Just remember you’re not alone.