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Depression, Joy, and Other Interesting Things

Chilly wind is darting through the gum trees this morning. I’m wrapped in flannels and warm socks, sipping coffee topped with thick foam, and letting my soul rest.

I was recently diagnosed with severe PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and depression. It turns out that when a lot of bad things happen over a long period of time, those things wreak havoc with your body and spirit and leave you rather battered.

There was a time I would’ve been ashamed to say what I am dealing with, but not anymore. Instead I feel hope and gratitude and peace.

I’ve been hanging on for dear life for so long, trying to be strong enough, wise enough, good enough, trying to press on with joy and courage and kindness no matter how bad things got, thinking somehow that if I could just think the right thing or be the right thing it would all get better. But now I can just rest. I don’t have to hang on any more. I can be at peace knowing that I am OK, that I will be OK, that this is just something I have to work through and that one day the darkness will pass and I won’t have to search for the light, it will be all around me.

In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to make it as easy as possible for my dear ol’ self to get better.Β  The time for adventuring and throwing myself headlong into projects will come again, but for now I am resting and embracing things that nourish and restore and strengthen.

I’m sticking close to the people I know are safe and trying to love them as beautifully as they’ve loved me through this difficult time.

I’m setting healthy boundaries after finally finding the courage to say no to situations that suck the life out of me, and yes to those that support all that is good, healing, and loving in my life.

I’m writing, writing, writing without judgment or editing, just getting it all out so the bad things don’t have power anymore. (Don’t worry – I won’t foist such ramblings on you. :-))

I’m giving myself good things to look forward to: breakfast dates with Bear, thrift store hunting with my girls, and camping trips with dear friends.

I’m celebrating signs of progress: a sleep without nightmares, successfully navigating a panic attack, the return of creativity.

I’m embracing my artistic side now that I’m getting the strength to do stuff again. I’m sewing and painting and taking pictures of everything that delights me, and it feels so good.

I’m also getting out into nature as often as possible. There are few things more restorative than sunshine, fresh air, salt water, and the woods. Yesterday I got up early and my dog Luna and I watched the sun come up, turning the fields into rippling waves of glowing gold.

Today I pulled on wellies and slipped a plaid flannel shirt over my sundress and went out to my rather wildly overgrown garden. It was so good to potter in the dirt for a while, pulling weeds and plants past their prime, filling bowls with gorgeous purple beans and tiny cherry tomatoes.

The ducks and chooks gathered outside the garden, happily tucking into the vegetation I tossed over the fence.

I love working outside in this sort of weather, ominous clouds scudding by overhead as buffeting winds make the world feel wild and untamed.

It does my soul good.

I’ve been reading some incredible things lately, beautiful, powerful words that heal deep wounds and bring hope. I am treasuring the book, “Women Who Run with the Wolves“. I can’t begin to describe the work it has wrought in my heart as I continue the lifelong journey of soul-reclamation. This post by Susannah Conway is so good for generating ideas for self-care in the real world and I cherish this post by my friend Rain who writes so exquisitely about the secret life of joy.

I’ve been continuing my quest to build happy things into my life every day. Yesterday was this new pair of polka dot wellies. Aren’t they outrageously cheerful?

My project this week is filling my life with amazing women who inspire, challenge, and delight me. I started a list of them – both fictional and real-life – and yesterday my friend Lizzy urged me to print out their pictures for my Inspiration Board (aka – cheap ol’ bulletin board I cover with things that inspire me).

So that’s what I’m doing and it makes me smile to see their brave, beautiful, weathered faces up there. It’s like having your own set of cheerleaders inspiring you to all that is noble and courageous and loving.

Whose photos would you tack up on your Inspiration Board?

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Krista - Thank you, dear @76b7f5617f998f38e3daf83409eb82fb:disqus XO You are so right about neglecting self-care until we’re too battered to press on. I’m so glad we can start over and implement good habits NOW to last us forever. πŸ™‚

Jeanne @ CookSister! - Look at the colour of those beans! A beautiful post, so full of hope and courage. Isn’t it silly how we only take the time to care for ourselves as you described once something awful has happened – imagine if we could care for ourselves like this all the time, how wonderful life would be! On my inspiration board, I would pin my mom. I miss her every day.

Krista - I’m so glad that you’re making an inspiration board too, @facebook-100001665607063:disqus πŸ™‚ Will you post a picture of it when you’re done? I’d love to see what you come up with. πŸ™‚ Love you. XO

Breanne Mosher - You would be on my board, for sure. Actually my project this week is an inspiration board as well and a certain prezzie tag is going on there because it makes me feel happy and loved. =) You are okay and you are in a good, safe place. I’m so glad to see these words. Light is coming. XXOO

Krista - You are right, @UlyssesSRant:disqus I think we’ll have some of these for the rest of our lives. But hopefully not as painful.

Ulysses S. Rant - Time doesn’t heal all wounds…but it does heal its fair share.

Krista - I love you too, dearest @080ab71864c97dde186f2f3c101d5885:disqus XO So grateful for your words that heal. πŸ™‚

rain - i love you. sending big squishy girl hugs. <3 <3 <3

Krista - My dearest @jackierobertson:disqus , thank you so much for writing. I haven’t been on FB for the past while so I could really rest and heal. I’m sorry I worried you! I would really love to see you soon, to get a big Jackie hug and have a good, long talk and laugh. πŸ™‚ XO If you can email me your phone number (danishlass@gmail.com) I will text you from my new number. πŸ™‚ XO

Krista - Dear Susan, thank you so much for your loving, kind words. You continue to be a faithful and gentle encouragement and it means a great deal to me. XO

Jackie Robertson - Krista darling girl, there is a huge light at the end of the tunnel, I promise you. As a walking talking example of a survivor of PTSD I fully understand the darkness and for me, at time hopelessness. It will pass and you are filling your life with the most sensational things. I’ve been worried about you lately xx. Now, who would be on my Inspiration board? Hmmm my beloved Mother, Maggie Beer, Maya Angeliou, you, Dame Helen Mirren to start with. Oh and Adele, and some wonderful friends. πŸ™‚

thefisherlady - so much beauty here dear friend… healing is a dear friend and even the time spent can be a journey worth framing. God is gracious and ever present… I see his smile in your basket of beans and sweet tomatoes, in the happy fowl, and your polka dot wellies. I actually have a picture of you in your raincoat… all drenched put with my many people of inspiration. I see so much beauty in you dear friend… press on… His grace is sufficient

Krista - Yes, a lot of my friends will be on my board as well, @turkeysforlife:disqus πŸ™‚ Thank you for your support. It is a hard time but it WILL pass, and I take great comfort in that. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, dear @TuulaR:disqus xo It has been very difficult, but it gets better and better. Thank you so much for your kindness and support. XO

Krista - We absolutely WILL, dear friend! XO

katyabroad - Thank you so much. I love you too – we will always be there to support each other and find the joy in life πŸ™‚ xx

Turkey's For Life - Happy to read you are looking after yourself and taking some time out to enjoy you! πŸ™‚ Can’t imagine what it’s like to live with PTSD but Δ± know you’ll cope through it all…and there are too many people to think of as to who I would pin to my inspiration board. A lot of friends would definitely make it though. Take care.

TuulaR - I’m so happy to hear that you are taking care of yourself – I can only imagine what living with PTSD must be like but I know you are a strong, incredible woman who can conquer anything πŸ™‚ thinking of you….

Krista - The birds were SO excited to have all those leftover veggie bits to nibble their way through, @budgetjan:disqus πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for your encouraging words. XO

Krista - Thank you, inspiring @margowrites:disqus XO Wishing you much restoration as you head out this weekend. πŸ™‚

Margo Millure - yay, Krista!

budgetjan - I think I should pin your photo on my Inspiration Board! You are very creative and every time I click on a Rambling Tart email I know there will be a beautiful photo of an everyday item relegated to importance, arranged beautifully with style. By the way, don’t those chooks and ducks look sublimely happy!

Krista - Thank you so much, dear @google-9c2cabc6737d76d3ba841e28d670a9c0:disqus XO That means a great deal to me. πŸ™‚ It is good to be in this place and I’m learning to rest in it. XO

Krista - I agree completely, dear @206040a6d30f2d07dd98b886bdbc18d1:disqus XO

LindyLou Mac - Your wellies are like mine, just different colours! You know that you are often in my thoughts as I have followed your ups and downs in life over recent years. you are in the very best of places now Krista and this episode will pass, Take Care. xx

Lauryl - There is no shame in admitting your own humanity. Nobody is perfect, and I imagine we all have private struggles. Thinking of you. xo

Krista - Thank you so much for your support, @wanderingsheila:disqus πŸ™‚ It means a great deal to me. And I LOVE your idea of Audrey Hepburn as an inspiring person!! I’m definitely adding her to my list. πŸ™‚ XO

Krista - They are SO much lighter, @c22725794d55a7fa0e6d936dd8f2195a:disqus XO And it does my heart much good too. πŸ™‚ You are such an inspiration to me. I turn to your every post knowing that I will find there the things that bring rest and beauty to my world. Thank you and so much love to you. XO

Krista - You are so right about slowing down being one of the hardest aspects, @9d73767d10227efff04c7307e331304c:disqus . πŸ™‚ I’m such a busy beaver usually and it feels like failure when I can’t do it all. But I’m realizing that isn’t the case at all. Our worth is in who we are, in our humanity, NOT what we can do. πŸ™‚ Thank you SO much for your good cheering words. XO

Krista - My dearest @katyabroad:disqus XO I’m so sorry you’ve been dealing with such painful feelings, that is such an awful thing to face. And you are RIGHT, depression has nothing to do with genuine sadness and grief. Those things are real and valid and DO change when the situation changes and as we go through the grieving process. I love you to pieces, darling. XO We will get through these dark times.

Krista - XO @a44c87f248a8aeb8e484a46462284338:disqus – you are a treasure. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you so much for your kind and cheering words, @inspiringtravellers:disqus

katyabroad - Beautiful post. You have such strength and courage – I have been fighting feelings of sadness, saying angrily to myself: I am NOT depressed! I am NOT losing my mind! You have such dignity to not only deal with a diagnosis like that but to still see the beauty in life. I still think depression isn’t the right term when sadness has a reason. It’s a natural human response and happiness will return fully when life is once again beautiful enough for it.

Donnaloo - Your photo would o on my board for certain πŸ™‚

Andrea and John - Wishing you all the best with your recovery, brave Krista! You always inspire me =)

mlleparadis - well krista, you are an example to all of us. it’s a long journey, you know that already, but am sure you have much to look forward to going forward. learning to take it all easier may be the hardest thing to learn, in your circumstances and in the world we live in today but you have made many of the first steps. your world there is beautiful and your pictures which have always been beautiful, with your writing, get stronger and more beautiful everyday. baby steps baby! you will get there in those polkadotted wellies!

Jacqueline - Knowing when to rest and to care for yourselfβ€”without judgement or self-persecutionβ€”is an honourable and courageous act! Setting boundaries has a way of freeing us in so many ways. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that your spirit (and burdens!) feel lighter. For me, just as for you, being in nature and getting my hands deep in soil is always restorative. So many images come to mind for my inspiration board. I’m particularly drawn to women in the arts and the joy that comes from creative struggle and passion! Great big love to you from over the hills and far away … xx

Cathy - You go girl Krista. I think you are a brave woman who has been through a lot and is coming out the other side. I love hearing snippets of your life on the farm. All the best for getting stronger and stronger every day. I would certainly put up pictures of Audrey Hepburn on my inspiration board πŸ™‚ Cathy xx

Krista - I really appreciate your encouragement and support, @0b0e25cab7af0b5e4a8d5f8811a76913:disqus . XO

Krista - Thanks so much, @UlyssesSRant:disqus I know it will take time, but I can already see and feel good effects. πŸ™‚

Krista - You are absolutely right, @google-01bbdd9fc7f53cd54265810538a0c5c5:disqus πŸ™‚ Both of those things are very cheering. πŸ™‚

Carla Coulson - Krista beautiful post I am so happy you are approaching this diagnosis with an open heart and nurturing yourself your writing your garden your friends and family and you rself love will see your creative talents and physical self return with a new found life xx I wish you well and be kind to yourself Carla x

Ulysses S. Rant - That sounds like a great plan for the future, K. I hope all that “soul rest” works out well for you.

Ken Powell - Just looking down at those gumboots must be enough to cheer anyone, as should growing such healthy looking tomatoes.

Krista - Dearest Chaya, I’m so happy to hear from you. XO Your words always comfort and strengthen me and make me smile. XO

Chaya - you even give comfort through suffering. I have always admired you and respected you and I can see why. I am betting that most of us relate to what you are going through in different degrees. I hope we all got so smart, as well. Hugs.

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