It should be so easy to keep a squirrel from getting into the bird feeder.
You put up a squirrel guard, make sure the feeder is far enough away from trees squirrels can jump from, and the birds have free reign. Of course, that is the textbook version of what to do. The reality is, I am being surprised most days now by the squirrel’s ingenuity.
Depression must be sharing its secrets with the squirrels on my property.
Lately, depression has been showing up in little ways, even as I build gigantic walls against it. I have installed my depression guard and made sure I am not in close contact with depressive situations. I have read and studied how to keep depression at arm’s length. I have taken classes to learn more, attended Peer Support Meetings, I have a therapist and a Psychiatrist.
And yet depression shows up at my feeder, just like my pesky squirrels.
The only thing I can control 100% is my attitude towards both creatures. The squirrels eating the birdseed is just a nuisance. Heck, I enjoy the challenge of “them versus me” with the birdseed. Recently, I thought the squirrels must be slipping in between my baffle and the post. Last fall, bears had damaged the metal sleeve I had placed over the pole.
I imagined the squirrels slipping between the now broken top of the sleeve and then climbing onto the bird feeders. So, in a classic act of mind-reading, I assumed this was the problem. Getting out my metal tape, I covered the top of the sleeve in layers of squirrel stopping protection. I was certain I had found the source of their success in getting onto the bird feeders.
The next day, when I opened the front door, I saw a squirrel looking at me from the birdfeeder.
It is utterly impossible, I’m thinking, but there he is, eating birdseed from the feeder, a smirk on its squirrel lips. And all I can do is swing the front door open and run towards the feeder, yelling at the squirrel to leave my birdfeeders alone.
How many times have I opened the front door of my mind and set off running and yelling at depression to get the heck off my feeder?
Everything I have done to keep depression from eating the birdseed has not worked. Just like the squirrels, I am stopping many of their attempts, but each time I plug one hole, another eventually appears.
This is my life with depression.
I am so frustrated this morning. Stopping depression, at least this morning seems impossible. I have blown off going to my weekly Peer Support meeting. I have stayed in bed again, way too long. Once the coffee kicks in and I take a shower, I know I will be able to get through my day job.
But where is the self-care?
I’m spending time trying to keep the squirrels off the bird feeders, but is that what I need to do? Can I ask better questions about why the squirrels, and depression, keep showing up at my feeder? I sure hope so, because today, I do not feel that any of this is working. I’m not “up against the wall,” but I can see it in the distance.
READ MORE: Up against the wall
Imagining the terror when I felt I was out of options should make me get going.
I never, ever, want to experience that feeling of nothingness, of no sense of hope, of not seeing any way forward. No, I am getting ready to “should” all over myself. “I should call my Psychiatrist.” “I should be making time for my self-care.” I started a Great Courses class on the origins of the universe. The first few classes were so exciting; I was learning all kinds of new things about how stars and planets are formed.
Now the DVD’s sit by the TV, collecting dust.
There are still two hours at home before I must leave for my day job. Let me get some breakfast while I consider the next way to block the squirrels (aka depression).
READ MORE: Today I am feeling like “what’s the point?“
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.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.