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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Gardening...digging away depression

I am not exactly sure of the reason why but gardening, I find, is therapeutic to battle depression and anxiety. It maybe the fact of payment or could could be just the  overcoming joy of having achieved something, or it maybe the actual activity of   physical work itself...I think it is the latter or so a doctor might say!



Before I embarked on this adventure of self-employment I was in a "different" place without doubt. I was in a comfort zone, a dangerous comfort zone, dependant on my pleasures of life that 15 years of being employed created, yet an employment that eventually took its toll on my mental health, whereas I had to change course for better or for worse...it had to be done and that meant stepping outside my comfort zone.

You see, probably over the years, I have never been a champion of change...hate it, loathe it, fear it! Yep, FEAR...worry...a sign, a clear sign of mental distortion, makes you anxious and eventually makes you ill with something that only a blind man can see.

And if change means spilling the apple cart or rocking the boat and you have fear of doing so then you cannot make that change, or of there is resistance then you will never implement that change and if there is objectivity, politically, and your trait is to be empathic then you will never force that change...one needs to be of stronger character to make change.

I have no doubt that I could step back into management within the industry I left but would such a move fester more mental stress...well I don't know, I just don't know. Because, you see, I embarked on becoming self-employed, not by desire but out of need...which in turn has its pressures and uncertainty and, with that, due worry.

I n my first year,  by luck I found clients whom I had a great pleasure to work for and in them I saw problems and welfare which at times were more compound than mine. And in working for them I learnt many things, tried in essence to solve problems either by doing or giving the best practical advice.

The most important thing, though the return was low, I was actually happy and it aided my mental well-being. I stopped, had no need to take medication for my suffering, and lost weight, shedding two stone.

But, and this is big but, I did not plan for winter...I mean there are jobs one can still do in the garden during winter, but my clients have gardens that they only wish to have maintained during the growing season. Only one from my knowing had more fallen leaves than that I could cram into my small hatchback. 

I remained, obstinately hopeful that my clients might see that a fruitful and well kept garden, desired work throughout winter as implied in many books and websites...but it were not to be. By chance we had a mild winter and the growing season was very much extended, yet the work would soon come to a grinding, slowing, winding down. 

With my readily, low returns now a drip, drip, drip of a few earnings here and there our income was tight and we had no choice to make some budget cutbacks, difficult when one is already on a DMP and Christmas was fast approaching. 

We put our mortgage on the line, reduced our payments to our DMP...and by chance, put onto a national charity whom surprised us to the fore and sponsored us with a financial grant...a small life-line, a huge sigh of relief, and a bloody big thank-you to a charity I had never even heard of despite  their size and importance.

Still, I had worries creeping back, promoted my services hard almost everyday on social media, self made adverts, picking out advice on gardening websites...and it worked gained some work for new clientele whom had found me via Internet searching. So I must be good at something...getting a good name for myself, I trust, I do so hope otherwise I might fall to calling myself a failure...sadly I do just that!

The biggest fear is getting back in touch with the clients I had last year and in getting new work...trust in others and gaining their trust in you is a massive hurdle to overcome. With all my new clients I have held immense worry and an indescribable fear of failure along with uncertainty. That in turn has manifested also where I have started back with some of my present clients.

Each job, each task, presents a new challenge but I see it as change that I say that I cannot cope with and I do not know why. I should be happy not sad, I should be full of life not down in the dumps, I should be positive not negative...for I have people who are believing and trusting in me and at present I do not seem to be able to return it in anyway.

Maybe, it is the weather, or the dark mornings, or knowing that some of the tasks I do not have the tools to do a sufficiently good job to hand and maybe that displeases me most. Or is it just me, me, me...

This time last year I nearly walked away from everything I had knowing or believing that there was no future. With my gardening business growing, slow though it might be, I have a future, I have a destiny, I have built up goodwill, yet I feel worse than a year ago, deep down, so deep down and it hurts.

I know what I need but don't know how to get there, I know what I must do but don't know how to do it... So crying is what I do! 

I need a hobby and I need a big plan..I need help. I know I have support and there is much love around me to help me cope...I just need a plan of change so I can as a gardener dig away my depression for good.

Amen and God bless.