I recently drove into the mountains with my mom for a relaxing day in the woods. A few years ago, forest fires left blackened, branchless trees standing on the mountainside. From the winding highway, we could see large swaths of charred landscape, but up close, new growth has begun to fill in the gaps. Long grasses and delicate wildflowers are recolonizing the ecosystem, and stands of young aspens have already claimed their soil.
I love the Rockies; it’s where I grew up, and it’s the first environment that nurtured my love of nature. I hope that no matter how depressed I get, I’ll always have an appreciation for the outdoors. On this particular outing, though, my enjoyment of my surroundings was dampened.
We found a set of campsites and picked a spot between them to use as our hammock/picnic place. The scent of warm pines and soil enveloped us while we ate our sandwiches among the bearberry carpet. I looked at an interesting circular lichen and listened to the insects buzzing nearby. Later, in my hammock, I watched a curious hummingbird zip around our site. I noticed all of these things and recognized their loveliness, but was disappointed by the absence of contentment. The person I am at my core, unhindered by depression, adores that exact place with those exact circumstances. But the person I am today – tired and depressed – couldn’t help but think “I wish I were at home, taking a nap in my bed.” I wanted to feel peaceful there, but I was missing that easy contentment that happens when you have nowhere you’d rather be. Realizing that non-depressed me would have enjoyed the day much more was disappointing, which threatened to overshadow what small enjoyment I did get from it.
It’s important for me to get out of my usual routine when I’m depressed, mostly because that routine doesn’t consist of much. When I take the very small risk of leaving my house to do something theoretically fun, it could turn out to be terrible. Mostly, it’s mildly nice, and as my therapist says, “If it doesn’t suck, then it’s worth noticing. It might just be good enough.”
4 thoughts on “Noticing “Good Enough” During Depression”
It sounds beautiful, even if you can’t enjoy it in the moment it’s gotta do you good just being there amongst it all.
I love places like that too and I understand when the depression clouds them, it’s as though you can see all the beauty but you just can’t feel it. ((Hugs)) Kate
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Thanks, Kate. I think you’re right – it’s good just to be out in nature.
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Hi Genevieve, I know exactly what you’re talking about in basically how you are longing to feel a sense of contentment and peace with the beautiful surroundings and things in life. Because of ketamine, I was able to look up at the clouds or the mountains and see the beauty in them because the medicine help put me in a place where I could enjoy those things. I have to emphasize again how beautiful and poetic your writing and artistry is and that you’re not alone with anti-depressant resistant depression. Just to give you an update on my journey, I had to unfortunately stop my ketamine treatments because they were giving me bladder issues, an unfortunate and potential side effect of ketamine use. It was only on my second treatment when I started to realize I was starting to have UTI-like symptoms. I went to my doctor to get it checked out, and he said there was a trace amount of blood in my urine but no sign of bacterial infection. He said it was probably from the ketamine. He said I could start again later if I wanted to, but I decided it’s not worth the painful trade-off. On the good side of things, my wife and I had our first baby! I’m writing this comment even as I am at the hospital now 😉 I thankfully have been in good spirits and been able to be there mentally for my wife and newborn. I have also been doing a lot more cardio exercising to try and keep ahead of my depression with the initial alleviation my ketamine treatments gave me. I pray all is well with you, Genevieve. I look forward to more of your writing and engaging with you. Thank you so much for putting yourself out there and for letting others see you in a vulnerable state. You encourage me and probably many other to come out of their cocoons of depression and find a sense of community and belonging.
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Michael, it’s good to hear from you. Congratulations to you and your wife on your new baby! How exciting! I’m sorry that you were faced with the decision to stop your ketamine. I hope you find something that works for you without unpleasant tradeoffs. It seems that’s always a struggle to balance with depression medications.
Your comments have given me a much-needed boost to continue writing. I haven’t had much motivation lately, so it’s nice to receive such sincere comments. Thank you again for reading and for keeping me updated. I hope you and your growing family are well!
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