Finding joy. Such a simple thing. We all have a fairly good idea at what brings us joy. For me, a well-played baseball game, putting comfort music on the speaker (usually the Grateful Dead), becoming totally lost in a good story, making my home-made hot sauce, a long walk on a nice day – these are among many things that bring me joy. However, like many of my friends, I can suffer from bouts of depression. When life feels like absolute chaos, nothing can go “right”, everything has that urgent pressure of doom and gloom – many of us know these feelings all too well. Even participating in the activities that brings us joy do not seem to quell what some of my friends term as “the black dog.”
My usual manner to resolve my depressive moods is to get outside for a walk with the headphones on. Or, if the mood strikes me, to sit and write. However, these are not immediate fixes. I have not found anything that really wipes away that malaise immediately. I have found that it is far easier to let the mood run its course, and if I can do so – converse with someone about where my mood has taken me. The first part is easy. The second – well, not so much. Much of that comes from a fear of opening up to others when I fall into that depth. Surely, no one wants to hear what I have to say. No one really likes to hear the dark mood of someone else. That right there is part of the problem. Deciding how others feel about something before even attempting to bring the conversation to light.
I am super guilty of doing this. After all, I hate the idea of burdening someone else’s bright day with my Eeyore-self. You know Eeyore. He’s the grey donkey in Winnie the Pooh. Always has a grey cloud over him. Always depressed and gloomy. There are days that I feel like I am that character, especially when I try to communicate my issues and problems with my friends. Woe is me. Doom and gloom. Eeyore and I have a lot in common.
My depressive moments also have a strong impact on my Spiritual day-to-day, as well. When I am in a depressive mood, I am never in the right frame of mind to perform ritual of any kind, or even to go into a meditative state to my Inner Grove. However, over time, I have come to realize that these things need to be continued at their normal times, even when my mood is not conducive to doing so. Much like eating, bathing, and other daily things – I NEED to do these things. Keeping that point of “normalcy” is important to battling my own depressive state. I may not want to do things like ritual or cooking meals but keeping to those things does provide an anchor to dealing with what I go through. Greeting the Sun each morning is a reminder that Life does continue. Cooking and making meals are a constant reminder that acts of Self-Love are always necessary. Yes, I consider feeding myself an act of Self-Love. Keeping those “rituals” (of a sort) every day provides an anchor that reminds that Life is still being lived and will continue to be so. As moronic as it might sound, it’s a calming and steadying factor for me.
Through this process, I always manage to wiggle out from underneath my Eeyore-cloud. Every time I have done so, I have realized that there is so much of the world to explore. So much more to see, experience and feel. All of that is a major part of what my own Paganism and Druidry are all about.
Slowly, I have started to find the people that I can reach out to when I need to. We might be separated by oceans, but we have that connection – that cord that holds us together. Some folks, I have known face-to-face, but our lives have managed to set us physically apart. We still have that bond – that something that is more than just friendship…a connection I could describe as family. We have watched one another go through our triumphs, comedies, and tragedies within our lives. A veritable Greek theatre come to life. We have cheered one another on. I have been there to commiserate the tragedies and losses within their life. Yet, I back away when I need the same thing. Because I don’t feel worthy of receiving such empathy from others? Possibly. Most likely because I don’t wish to be a nuisance. I don’t wish to be the Eeyore in their life. However, even Eeyore had friends that looked out for him. Friends that cared about him – even when he didn’t see where they stood in his life. Thinking through that, perhaps I am the Eeyore among my friends – so long as I continue to move away from them during my depressive states. Certainly, I need to locate my footing and move on from “The House at Pooh Corner”, located in the southeastern corner of the Hundred Acre Wood. I need my friends and others just as much as I need experience within my Druidry. However, I need to walk before I can run – that’s for sure.