Quite Contrary

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row.” – Mother Goose

We’ve had a lot of rain.
My weeds are very happy about it. They’re growing wonderfully rampant in my gardens. They’re even being cordial enough to let my lilies and roses have a bit of room to grow too. I almost feel cruel in thinking that I need to get out there and yank them up, rip them from their content beds and destroy their pleasant little existence. Almost. But they have to go. So sorry. Yes, I’m a heartless, cruel, unforgiving, nasty, “B”of an itch when it comes to what I allow to flourish in my prime garden real estate.

The trouble is, I have been letting them flourish. I’ve been avoiding the whole ‘weeding’ chore for most of the summer. Oh, I’ve done some of it, and gotten half of two garden beds done, but it’s been so long since I did that much that those sections need doing all over again and the other halves are riotous jungles in comparison. I know I have to do something about it or else I’ll have no garden left to salvage. The weeds will have succeeded in choking out my flowers and bulbs and there won’t be a reason to pull up the weeds because there’ll be nothing left after the weeds are gone. I’d have to start my gardens all over again (a very costly endeavor which is a far way out of my budget these days).

So, this is my plan of action for the next few days: one hour, that’s all I ask of myself, one hour out of the day will be devoted to pulling weeds. I will focus on one section of one garden area, pull up the wheelbarrow, sit myself down and yank away. I will not allow myself to continue on until I am painfully fatigued, aching, sweating buckets or gasping for breath. I will pace myself and be aware of my physical limits and I will stop when I feel my body telling me it’s time to quit. I will then be content and satisfied with whatever I have accomplished, no matter how much or how little it is. I will clean up my space, roll the wheelbarrow down to the compost pile and dump it, put it away, go back in the house and have a rest with a nice cool glass of water, maybe a shower, some ice cream, and be proud of myself for reaching a goal. Bravo me! Well done! Whoo hoo!

Yeah. That’s the plan. It should be the plan for every day of my life too. Not for pulling weeds every day of course, but for each day to have a small goal, a small achievement, to overcome my anxieties, my insecurities and self-doubts. When it’s a struggle to force myself to get out of bed in the morning I need to start giving myself small goals, little reasons to prod my brain into a ‘get up and go’ mentality that will make it want to do just that – get up and go do something I can pat myself on the back for later. The daily struggle with depression sucks the satisfaction out of the every-day little things that give a person those feelings of reward, of achievement, of completion. Things that a normal person wouldn’t even stop to take time to think about, things they would just dust off their hands and think, “ok, that’s done, now what’s next?’, those things for a depressed person are like crossing the finish line after running a marathon. We’d be feeling like, ‘Hell yeah! I finished doing this! I DID IT! This thing is DONE!’ It’s being able to accomplish anything, no matter how small or simple, that gets me motivated to keep going and makes me feel like I am capable of doing more. This is how I work through my depression.

Some days the small achievement is just getting out of bed and eating breakfast. On a bad day, if all I can manage to do is eat and read or watch tv and sleep, then putting on clothes is a big achievement. On a good day, if I can write a poem or two, clean the bathroom and the birdcage, cook supper and spend social time online, then that’s a huge day of accomplishments for me. Lately I’ve been having more huge accomplishment days than bad days so I’ve been hoping to move towards trying to get back to work on a small level soon. It won’t be too soon, since even thinking about it still makes me start into anxiety-mode but I’m slowly easing towards it better and better. The point is that I’m improving a little more every day and that in itself is encouraging me to keep going. One goal at a time, that’s all I need to do. I know I can make it.

“Here is little habit that can make a big difference. Send sunbeams. Intentionally send a word of encouragement or appreciation every day to one person.”
― Steve Goodier

PS. Three new poems in the Poetry pages to check out. 🙂

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