I was back in Earsham on tuesday to continue taking out the rags from the gate I used last year. I'm a fair weather visitor as a rule as I am limited by public transport. This means that I see the place when it is easy to love, sunshine, bird singing ... It's not much trouble to love a place, a person, a life that is full of joy, the hard bit is staying with something that is difficult. It sorts the wheat from the chaff, the good friend from the casual acquaintance.
One of the threads within the piece I am creating for this years trail is the bleak depression that I hit a few years back. There were reasons I was depressed, good reasons, but knowing why I was low was no help. The darkness and feeling of being submerged beneath miles of sea were insurmountable blocks, for two or three years I woke up crying and I fell asleep crying, briefly I flirted with taking my life, knew where, knew how, I would do it, but thankfully the thought of my children and grandson (my granddaughter was not then born) held me back.
At that time there was little that helped, I knew what I would recommend as a shiatsu practitioner but nothing seemed to help and I thought the nightmare I was living would never end. Although my thoughts of suicide had passed I wished for death constantly. I was worn out with my sadness.
Few things lifted my sprits at that time but the weather was one of the them. One of the things with my depression was that it shrunk me back in to myself, this forced me up against parts of my being I did not want to encounter, it pushed me to know my needs, but beginning to recognise those needs brought me hard up against ugly feelings, anger, jealousy, self-importance. At this time being touched by the rain when walking, or feeling cold air penetrate my lungs, allowed me to remember why life is worth living as I struggled with the seemingly impenetrable black that had taken me prisoner.
The worst of my depression lasted about two years from 2009 to 2011. As I began to recover, the weather gave me moments of bliss, moments in which I was able to contact my visceral nature. The sunshine slanting through the branches of a tree, the wind knocking the world about, pushing dust into corners and out again, hard packed snow freezing to black ice, and drenching down-pours of fat rain, and rainbows - all these things took me out of my lonely being and reminded me that I am part of a bigger picture, part of a world in constant flux. It reminded me that I am just one being and one time, not more or less important than any other. It distracted me from my petty human struggles, not always, but often.
And now I turn to the weather as a source of sustenance. It is never the same, and yet it is a constant companion. It is hard to talk about depression, I don't want to own that time in my life, but it is a part of me. I thank the friends and family who held true for me. No words will ever be great enough to express my gratitude. One day I may be thankful for knowing that darkness but I still fear it's open mouth.
Because the piece I am making has it's roots in this period of my life I am having to look it square in the face. It's not easy. I am struggling. But, "I am going on a bear hunt, I'm going to catch a big one, it's a beautiful day .."