Yesterday I wrote about the importance of recognising small victories as you begin the slow process of recovery from depression.
Along this theme, I’m going to write about one thing that I have done that I think has also helped.
I’ve lived in this house for all of my life, bar about two years. The house and garden have changed extensively since my childhood: first, when the council took the land under a compulsory order turning it from a small holding to a house with a large garden. On the plus side, this meant that my parents could finally afford to buy the house when it was offered to them by the council. Dad created a beautiful garden.
And then, years later, I bought the house from them and extended it. From then on, due to Dad’s ill health, the garden has never looked quite the same. Over time of course, the bushes have turned to trees and his livestock have dwindled to a few chickens.
What hasn’t changed is the view from the front of the house. My extension is on what was once the drive. A drive that was beech tree lined down one side and which had an archway cut in that lead to our caravan and to the paddock where our pony grazed. I spent hours on that drive – playing hopscotch, riding my bike, climbing on the huge wooden gates that were forever open.
Now, it is the scene of my own family home. But the window looks out over a field and, a little further, a wood. From my childhood, I remember watching the wood burn when it caught on fire, trying to glimpse the firemen as they arrived on the many fire engines. I remember excitedly walking through the woods with my dad, a rare treat. I remember the time that my sister and my cousin and I built a den in the bracken near the wood and the scolding we got when we found out that my cousin had lied: we hadn’t got permission to go there alone.
The field was once rented by my dad and my uncle and I remember watching them work on it: planting, ploughing, harvesting. As a teen, dad allowed us to drive on it in an old, battered Ford Fiesta. As a young adult, I remember bringing a man I was interested in to have a go at clay pigeon shooting on Boxing Day.
Currently, the field has the stubble from the bales of straw that were cleated yesterday, protecting them from the snow.
Every day, usually after doing my housework, I sit in the window and look out. Usually, I’m accompanied by my cat.
In the morning, the field is the colour of platinum. When the sun rises higher, it turns into a rich gold but later this seems to be more muted and buttery. I watch pheasants strutting through the stubble and songbirds hopping about, looking for food. My cat also likes watching the songbirds.
I also like watching how the light travels on the tree branches that line the field and the road.
As I sit here, the world is calm and peaceful. I can listen to tweets of birds and the ticking of my kitchen clock. I can think about the past or the present or I can blank my mind and just look at the view. This has very much become my time and I think it has been invaluable in healing the wounds caused by anxiety and depression.