It is not a gloomy morning.
And it is markedly cooler than yesterday, which is not a bad thing. There was enough rain last night that I only needed to water the three pots of petunias on the back-deck railing. Being the smallest pots, they require the most attention on hot days.
As you know, we live with bears.
This means I bring in the bird feeders every night, including the hummingbird feeder. So far, no bear has climbed our wooden fence and ventured into the back yard to investigate the feeders on the back deck. Now we do have the occasional raccoon on the deck and squirrels think the birdbath on the back-deck railing is their own personal bathtub.
I poured my coffee, and while the mug was cooling enough for me to drink it, I hung the feeders out.
Hanging up the feeders and topping off the seed, I took care of, without fanfare. I am alert enough to think, SAFETY FIRST. But not focused enough to really appreciate the morning. The hummingbirds, however, we’re drinking from the feeder as soon as I walked away from the hanger. And the Cardinals were the first birds at the seed feeder.
There focus is survival and an easy meal always helps.
Not only do I get the enjoyment of seeing all the birds that come to my feeders, but I am also offering “take-out” for new Mom’s and Dad’s, who are feeding their young. This year, we have had a baby Downy Woodpecker following their parent to the suet feeder. Seeing them the first time, it was the parent pulling off pieces of suet and feeding the baby.
Today, both woodpeckers came to the suet feeder, Mom landing on one side and Jr. on the other.
Both ate quite a bit before heading off. Now I am not judging how much they ate or what part of their daily diet this suet provides. The fun is seeing the change in behavior of the baby Downy over the past week.
Standing up on the front porch, to go in and refill my coffee has startled the birds at the feeders.
And a squirrel feeding on the ground darted off to the tree near the feeders and perched on the first set of limbs above the ground, waiting to see my intention. He decided while I was in the house that it was OK to head back to the area under the feeder. Coming back to the porch, I opened and closed the front door quietly, and the squirrel stood his ground and kept looking for seed on the ground.
Back on the front porch, I am distracted and far from focused.
The new coffee I poured is too hot to drink, so it is sitting on the little outdoor storage table on the front porch. Twisting the lid off the table gives access to the hand clippers, extension cords, weed eater cord, and misc. outdoor hand tools. Until we build the garage, this tool hiding spot saves a trip down the hill to the lawnmower shed.
Having the bird feeders out is my self-care.
Just sitting, watching, hearing the birds is relaxing and enjoyable. Having birds fly near the edge of the porch as they head back towards the woods, I can often hear their wings beating. This is a much more personal experience than watching the birds through a window.
But I often do not label these moments as self-care.
I would rather feel guilty for not DOING SOMETHING. How can I just spend ½ an hour just sitting on the porch, enjoying my coffee and the birds? Where is the ROI in that? Why can’t I see that the return on investment is, to steal a service mark, “PRICELESS.”
Of course, when I can sit without the guilt, I get so much more out of the time.
I know that these moments are important to my well being and act to recharge my batteries. Yet depression wants me to feel guilty because that guilt reinforces the role of the depression in my life. Doing things for me, is never a depression’s best interest. So, getting me to feel bad for thinking about my own self-care is a major focus of depression in my life. Depression is jealous of anything or anyone that tries to get my attention.
Yes, recognizing that is a start.
And swinging my thoughts around to see that there are other ways to view sitting on the porch, I can see how unhelpful thinking is trying to take over. Why am I still surprised depression is into even my smallest thoughts? Big crash and burn experiences, in retrospect, show depression in its true light. But that is only part of the picture.
Finding depression’s influence in my smallest decisions makes it clear I need to keep going in my work to achieve a balanced life with depression.
Writing about how I now know this is a lifelong undertaking, I have been sad, glad, and sometimes angry that this is my life. But the alternative, for me, is way too frightening. Plus, and you’ve heard me say this many times, I am too competitive to let depression win. There are so many experiences left that I look forward too.
So, it’s OK being partly cloudy today.
I am alive and I won’t melt if it rains. Besides, the sun just peaked out for a moment from behind the clouds. This is signaling a brief respite from the partly cloudy side of the day. In the end, it is not what the day brings, it is my attitude towards it that can control. So, I will focus on my attitude, have my breakfast, and get ready for work.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder last year, I am sharing what I learn. If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.
I very much appreciate your comments.