A rare visit from the good kind of Devil reminds me there is always a reason to live.

Even when you are in the grip of depression, there can be moments of light.

These are the moments I cling to, cherish and want to share with the world.

To remind myself and perhaps even one person reading that living is worth the effort.

Recently driving home from work I stopped to investigate a curious object on the road…

A Thorny Devil!

Thankful for the gloves in my work bag, I scooped him (or her) up from the road where sunbaking was going to mean being squished for sure and moved to a safer spot.

Although native to Australia and apparently plentiful, I have only seen a Thorny Devil once before in my life… Behind glass in captivity. This meeting was a pleasure and blessing.

I took photos and videos to share with my children. Miss 4 decided this gentle lizard would be christened “Super Hero Lizard” because in her mind the vibrant camouflage colouring was a costume. In this moment her enthusiasm and joy was infectious and I basked in it.

So to anyone reading I would like to offer you a thought.

When depression has you gripped tight and you can’t seem to think of a reason to want to live perhaps you can borrow my reason…

Because there will always be moments that you will not want to have missed.

It doesn’t matter if the moment is huge and momentous or something smaller like simply rescuing a lizard and feeling happy.

What is important is the knowledge that even if the black dog is telling you it is hopeless and pointless to live that is a lie.

Tomorrow you could feel joy for a moment. That is worth living for.

Add a splash of colour!

Hello fellow WordPressians. Any chance you like a challenge?

Even though it’s a scorcher of a Summer here my mind is gloomy and grey. Finding happy memories is proving a little difficult.

Colours can trigger positive feelings and memories. Anyone who has had even a passing interaction here knows my go to colour is red.

We get the keys to our new home tomorrow and soon we paint. No surprises with the paint I have chosen…

Taubman’s Poinciana Red ❤❤❤❤

Garish perhaps. But I love it! My happy little red house on the hill. Safe haven. Bright enough to keep the gloominess of my depression at bay at times.

Enough about me. I am curious to hear about you. Up for a challenge?

I would love to learn about your go to colour when you need a lift and how you encorporate the colour into your day.

The more colourful pictures the better of course! If you could add a link to your blog in the comments below so I can read your post, I would appreciate it.

❤ Nat

PS…

Ok I have to admit part of the appeal for me is to see the reader page full of colour like a rainbow. How awesome would that look!

Going Home

Do you remember somewhere as a child you felt truly safe?

My childhood sanctuary isn’t made of bricks and mortar but of bark and leaf and earth and fruit.

The old mulberry tree has always been the perfect cubbyhouse

The house itself is insignificant compared to the gardens…

As children we spent most of our time outdoors, so it probably shouldn’t have surprised me as an adult returning home to find in being in this garden helps my stresses melt away.

This has become my goal… To establish a garden which evokes within the same calm.

What is a farm without the “aggies”?

Getting through the day with depression… Allowing yourself to embrace pleasure wherever you find it.

Hello everyone… I have missed writing here and sharing your stories (and gardens!).

Oh how I love black dog free moments. When I started writing this post I was in one. Back into the hole now waiting it out.

Those of you with depression will probably relate… I wish you weren’t able to, but knowing you aren’t alone can be comforting.

There are the moments vital to remember when you manage depression.

To record however you can. Write. Photograph. Draw. Video. Anything!

Holding onto these memories however you can is desperately important.

These are the moments to look back on when hope for respite is in short supply.

When you need a tangible reminder that yes! moments of joy exist.

They may be small.

They may be shortlived.

But they happened.

Above all… Moments like these will return in time.

Do you record small joys too? How do you remember them best?

For me it is in photographs. Curiously enough the last moment I planned to share was what gives me hope now.

I visited a brick display yard of all places and found a garden of sorts.

Today I need these photos. I hope you enjoy them too.

Love Nat

Do you focus on things to be thankful for?

Hello everyone…

Well it is heading towards Christmas… That chaotic time of year where it is easy for the black dog (depression) to sink it’s teeth in and refuse to budge.

Worse somehow are the moments where you KNOW you should feel happy but instead you feel numb or angry or just exhausted.

Black dog by Matthew Johnstone

If you’ve never read M Johnstone’s books they’re worth looking at.

Which brings us to the question… How do you be present when depression has you numb?

A common idea is a gratefulness diary. To put in words and images what you are thankful for in this moment. To record it and acknowledge that ok right now you might feel nothing but the depression will ease eventually and one day you will read the words and see the pictures and feel again.

On that note it’s time to share what I’m thankful for today…

1. Thank you to the neighbour who planted this red flowering gum on the verge. I drive past it almost every day and the red of the flowers never fails to make me slow down and look.

2. The WA Christmas Trees (Nuytsia floribunda) are in bloom! Nothing says Christmas to me like this native tree. I’m yet to grow one for my block. Tricky to establish as it is a parasitic tree but so worth the effort. One day soon this will remind me to feel hopeful and excited for the experiment to come.

3. THE Jacaranda driveway! On the drive to my block of land I pass this. It is the reason I grow Jacaranda trees and persist with getting them through the first few winters (they don’t like our frost but once established are fine). Absolutely beautiful…

4. Hobbies and work to keep me busy and too tired to worry… An assortment of succulents growing for my Mum in Law. Trenches I’m digging for the downpipes to capture water for the new tank. And of course the progress on our home. Almost there. Keep hopeful!

Best of all…

I am thankful for being able to share these places and photos with you all. Perhaps an image might give you a boost today too.

I’m thankful for my family who keep me company on my neverending “plant hunt”, encourage my enthusiasm when it is present and push me to keep trying when it is not.

What are you grateful for today?

❤ Nat

A little colour to lift the spirits.

During the long, hot days of a WA Summer it is easy to focus on the negative…

The flies! Sweating. Dusty. Hot cars. Sunburn. Did I mention the flies?

Do you take the time to find things to be thankful for? Not always? Me neither.

And yet today I found myself thinking of winter gardens elsewhere in the world. The gloomy depression that can settle within us from a lack of sunlight.

Instead of the bad this inspired a different perspective. An opportunity to share some brightness from our part of the world to yours.

From Western Australia with love.

More Verticordia (feather flowers). These made me laugh because they were covered in bees and down the road was a honey farm called “Bee Happy”. Appropriate somehow 😊

Cannot get enough of this gorgeous yellow!

Tamarix aphylla. Ok so it is a weed here. But this was in a city garden not a rural area. So pretty.

Christmas is almost here! This is a WA Christmas tree. Nuytsia floribunda. Some are in full bloom but this one is still on it’s way. To me this semi parastic tree means Christmas.

Grasstree (Xanthorrhea preissii) in flower. During the heat of day these flower spikes are covered in butterflies and bees on our block).

And the Everlastings ❤ These seem to pop up everwhere on our block. They are rough and papery to touch.

Experiencing depression from another point of view.

Please be aware this is not an easy read. If you are feeling vulnerable skip this post please.

For those who haven’t guessed already I manage depression. I also manage suicidal thoughts. The usual point of view for me is as the patient.

This week I’ve been the carer. The friend waiting and praying.

I’ve had a taste of what it feels like to watch someone you love struggle to fight their demons.

And it is shit. It hurts.

I’ve cuddled my friend’s four year old son and coaxed words out of him.

“Are you feeling sad?”,

“Can you tell me why you feel sad?”.

Thinking of my four year old son as he whispered…

“I miss Mummy”.

I’ve replied to texts where it is so clear depression is making my friend unable to SEE the world the way it really is.

“I’m so sorry Nat, I know you think I’m a failure”.

“I understand if you don’t want to be my friend anymore”.

Oh how this hurt to read.

Because I have been there. I KNOW those feelings intimately. The bullshit whispers in your ears

“worthless”, “burden”, “better off without you”.

I KNOW the feeling of believing those words are true and not being able to see any other perspective.

Curiously, the hardest thing has been listening to people who have never experienced mental illness or suicidal thoughts talk. Phrases like…

“Just think of your family”

“You have so much to be grateful for”

Made me feel physically sick to hear.

Do they not realise she IS thinking of her family?

Do they not realise when you are suicidal generally you BELIEVE you are doing your loved ones a favour by going away (even if it is utter bullshit).

That’s how I felt. That if I died my husband would be free to find someone better. That my kids would have a new Mum that was able to give them what they deserve. In my warped view I was helping my family by getting rid of a burden. Me.

When my friend asked for help and went to the emergency room my response was…

“I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! Thank you!”

For some reason I got strange looks for saying this!!

When someone scrapes the courage together to drag themselves into the doctor and admit they want to die it is courageous.

It shows they love you.

It shows they are considering you.

It shows they are trying.

It shows they want to get better.

It shows they are willing to swallow their pride for you.

It shows they are giving you a chance to help them save themselves.

Take a whole minute to think and you’ll realise they could have said nothing.

Be grateful they gave you this chance and grab it with both hands.

It has taken my own experience to understand that when someone says…

“I am sorry, you must think I’m such a failure”

They aren’t fishing for compliments or attention.

They need a reminder that their view of the world is skewed by their illness.

It doesn’t take much to say…

“No. That is what your depression thinks. That is not what I think. You have nothing to apologise for. Nothing you can do or say will EVER make me see you as a failure. I love you”.

I just want my friend to be ok.