gardening for mental health

Tree with SheepWP_20150829_13_50_27_ProI am in shock.


Picture this:

You have a dream. You never really had a dream before until one day you read an article and it changes your world. It changes how you perceive pretty much everything. Of course, there were always things that you liked, things that made you happy and people who you loved. There still are. However, you had just sort of floated through life waiting for something to happen.

Now, you know what you want and you want it more than anything. You get a degree, work two jobs and save your money like the responsible adult you never knew you were. You go on your first real vacation and like someone in a cheesy romantic comedy you fall in love. You decide that there is no way that this person cannot be a permanent part of your life. You quit your job and sell all your stuff before climbing on a plane with only two suitcases that contain what is left of your old life. You move 6000km. You learn the language and try to adapt to the culture. You burn through your savings. The government does not grant you work permission without a work contract. Employers will not give you a contract until you have work permission from the government. There is only one 30 day period in the year that you can apply for graduate school and you missed it by 4 days. You try to quell the urge to rip out your hair on a daily basis due to the insanity of it all.

You miss everyone’s birthday back home. You cannot hug your mom on Mother’s day or barbecue with your dad on Father’s day. You have to give up your cats. You watch everyone else go on with their everyday life and feel left out, even jealous sometimes. Your confidence level is at an all-time low. It is sometimes hard to smile because you have no idea what your future holds – and not in the good way. You stand on the edge between two worlds and it starts to weigh on you. It starts to take a toll on your relationship. You feel tired and alone, but you still try your best to make friends and use your time productively.

You do your research, make your plans, invest your time and effort, and try to use the knowledge and tenacity that you were supposed to be using helping to make the world a better place. After all, you have to do something because you are not someone who is happy just sitting around the house all day. Your brain needs stimulation.

It takes a while to see progress. You wait patiently for something to happen, for some sign that everything that you have done was not in vain. You really need something that is yours. You want it more than anything in the world at this point because you have no other choice. Everything else has gone to s@#$.

And then it happens.

You walk into your garden and it is beautiful. There are green and white striped zucchini, tomato blossoms galore, corn plants up to your shoulders, the heads of broccoli are literally a foot wide, gem colored nasturtiums reach towards the sky, the air smells like fresh herbs and bees and butterflies buzz from blossom to blossom. You snack on fresh peas out of the pod and gooseberries which you had never had before and are so happy you bought this plant without knowing how they would taste.

flower snapdragon close up

You look around, take a deep breath and fight the urge to cry, not out of sadness, but because something has gone right. You have done something amazing that you can be proud of. You are in shock and for the first time in a long time it is not in a bad way.

flower zinnia (3)


4 thoughts on “gardening for mental health

  1. Oh my it sounds like you really have had some challenges. I do understand what you expressed and I am so happy you have your beautiful garden to show for so much dedication and hard work. Hang in there.

  2. Wow, I love this post SO MUCH. I read it three times! What beautiful words, and wow, what a lush beautiful garden!

    It’s rare that bloggers share such personal and emotional posts, but posts like this are what I love about blogging. Hearing other people’s stories. Being shown what makes them tick, what gets them through the days.

    Best of luck with your situation … and keep on gardening!

    PS: those tomatoes are GORGEOUS

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