Invisible Illness
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Invisible Illness

How Nature Relieves Depression and Grants Magical Experiences

Photo Courtesy of PixaBay

When you’re depressed, it’s difficult to find ways to lift you out of the darkness. The demon clutches your soul, dragging you down to the depths of despair. It carries you deep into an abyss, drowning you, and stifling your ability to move, think, or feel positively. It fills you with overwhelming despair, sadness, indifference, and other negative feelings.

Note: This article is not a replacement for professional medical advice. If you are experiencing depression or other mental illness, please reach out to a qualified medical professional.

Years ago, I sat down and made a decision.

I was depressed.

It took a long time for me to acknowledge my depression. My memory takes me back until I was about five years old. Before then, I don’t remember much. I’m not sure if I want those memories.

I’ve probably been depressed my whole life. My father was an emotionally abusive alcoholic. We didn’t see eye to eye. I was more intelligent at a young age, and I believe he felt threatened.

I never felt safe.

Until I was eighteen, I lived in fear, despair, and chaos. I sheltered myself in my room with books and tv.

One time, my father returned from a week long convention. He asked, “Did you miss me?”

Without thinking, I said, “No.”

All hell broke loose. I vividly remember tears dropping into the fast food sweet and sour sauce.

I hear my mother saying, “What do you expect? He lives in his room unless you’re gone.”

At the time, I was about 15 years old. It feels like yesterday. That was the first day I realized, “I do live in my room.”

Courtesy of PixaBay

Yet, I Had Another Home. A Home Away from Home.

If I wasn’t in my room, I was in the woods. The woods welcomed me with open arms. The trees gave me love. Deer weren’t afraid. Ducks, raccoons, mink, snakes, everything in the woods loved me.

Even skunks.

As my counselor and I worked through my past, we knew instantly that nature was a healing source. It is for most people.

For me, it’s magical.

Nature heals. Nature loves. Nature will provide you with a great way to beat depression.

Photo Courtesy of PixaBay

First, You Have to Acknowledge You Have Depression.

That was my first hurdle. Once I acknowledged I wasn’t just sad, I could heal. It’s pounded into our minds that mental illness means you’re broken, unworthy, defective, whatever term you’ve heard. If you struggle with any mental illness, you know exactly what I mean.

You aren’t any of those things. You are strong, capable, and worthy of love.

If you struggle with depression, the best thing you can do is find someone to discuss your situation. It wasn’t easy. It took me some time to find the perfect candidate.

We looked online, surfed profiles, reading and re-reading. Most counselors spoke from a Christian standpoint, and they were very upfront about the fact.

I’m not Christian.

I don’t fall into a label. If I had to label it, I’d say I’m a natural spiritualist. My philosophies are very Buddhist, mixed with Celtic, Nordic, Native American, and a slew of other belief systems.

Essentially, someone talking to me from the standpoint of Christian scripture just wasn’t going to work.

The universe guided me to someone open to all spiritualities.

Once I met her, I knew I could find peace.

It would take a long time, probably my whole life, but sooner or later, the demon dragging my soul into the depths would disappear.

Reach out for help. Find someone who will support, listen, and guide you. That’s step one.

Photo Courtesy of PixaBay

Next, Acknowledge Nature.

Most people walk through life without ever looking up from their phones, television screens, or computers. Many walk with their head pointed down, zoning out as the cracks of cement pass by their feet.

To benefit from nature, you have to acknowledge it. It’s really easy, even if you live in the city.

I’ve dedicated my life to the natural world. In doing so, I find the easiest thing to do is to acknowledge the presence of the little ones.

The spiders, ants, stink bugs, lady bugs, and other home invaders are an easy way to acknowledge the natural world. Don’t squash them. Save them. Learn about them.

One of the most uplifting things is a simple, kind act.

That act can be releasing a spider to the outside world. It can be stepping over an ant as it crosses the sidewalk. If you’re driving and see a turtle in the road, help it across the road, keeping your own safety in mind, too. Feed the hungry, stray cat or dog.

Note: Always practice safety whenever you handle nature’s creatures.

I like to buy the clearance plants at the store, and bring them back from their frost bitten existence.

Many of those plants are still healthy, they just need a little love… just like us.

Take a simple step. Acknowledge nature. Sooner or later, she will uplift you with magic.

Photo Courtesy of PixaBay

Nature Is a Magical World.

Every time I travel into the forest, I find myself greeted with an experience like no other. It lifts my spirit and helps me fight the beast of depression.

Some days I sink into that depression, not wanting to leave the bed or recliner. When I find ways to remind myself about nature’s magic, sometimes I can overcome that demon, walk into the woods, and see the magic.

Last year, magic occurred while mowing the grass. I was pushing the mower along, trimming the yard, when a blue and black butterfly flew awkwardly in front of me. It landed on the grass in the path of my mower.

If you’re interested, it was this butterfly: Basilarchia Astyanax

Rather than pushing the mower over it, I stopped. I always do this. Whether it is a moth, caterpillar, beetle, if I see something, I stop and help it to safety before the mower destroys it.

The butterfly refused to fly away. I held my hand to the ground. It backed up nervously. After some time, it grabbed a hold of my finger.

As most would expect, butterflies rarely do this.

It happened that this butterfly had a slightly injured wing. From the looks of it, the butterfly had a run in with a spider web, crimping one section.

Placing the butterfly next to a rhododendron, I gave it a path to climb to safety.

It refused.

I tried the tall, flowering lilies. Then, the foxglove. Butterflies love our foxglove.

It refused.

Each time, it turned on my finger and walked towards my knuckles.

Realizing he wasn’t going to fly away, I opened the door of my house and went inside. The butterfly stayed on my finger as I walked him up to my partner. She looked at him with amazement.

The butterfly was not afraid.

After some time talking to it on my hand, I walked to the blueberry bushes. This was acceptable to the butterfly. It turned, walked down my finger, and climbed the bush.

I was in awe.

It was a special experience granted to few individuals. It lifted my spirits, bringing me a fraction of happiness.

Photo Courtesy of PixaBay

Why a Fraction of Happiness?

I have trouble feeling emotions. Years of feeding my demon keep my emotions sunk in an abyss.

In these magical, natural moments, I can feel a tiny flood as happiness escapes the clutches of the demon in my stomach. It flows up, filling my heart and head.

I hold it as long as I can before the demon lashes out.

This butterfly wasn’t done with me. I hopped on the riding tractor and mowed the yard. Coming around the blueberry bushes an hour later, I wondered, “Was the butterfly still there?”

Instantly, the butterfly leapt from inside the bushes and flew towards a red maple tree. It found its way to the base, struggling to keep flight.

I turned off the tractor and walked over. Leaning down, the butterfly did not show fear. It did not try to fly away or turn and run. I placed my finger in front of it. It crawled onto my finger and gently clung as I lifted him to my face.

It appeared he wanted to be in the maple tree — butterflies roost in trees at night — so I lifted my arm to a branch at eye level.

Before, the butterfly refused to leave my finger. Now, the butterfly turned and walked onto the branch.

No fear.

It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Simple, yet beautiful… and magical.

If you suffer from depression, find someone who can be your champion to help you fight the demon inside your soul.

Acknowledge You Aren’t Sad or Broken. You’re a Unique Human Being with a Unique Journey on This Planet.

Give the magic of nature a chance to be a weapon against depression. Help the helpless creatures. If you want your suffering to stop, help suffering instead of causing suffering.

Nature will reward you with magical experiences. I’ve had many in the seclusion of the woods, meeting foxes, owls, deer, skunks, and more, face-to-face with no fear, only love.

Will writes the action-packed urban fantasy series The Fae Awakening to fuel the army fighting his depression. The series follows Hunter as he teams up with Fae creatures — ogres, brownies, goblins, and more — to take down unicorns covered in fire, chase their monstrous friends, and stop dangerous enemies at all costs.

Read Sugar High, a Fae Awakening short story about goblins and a sugar addicted porcupine robbing an ATM, available on Medium.

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Will O'Shire

Will O'Shire

Creating action-packed urban fantasy stories filled with magic, myth, and monsters in my pajama pants. I also write about depression, anxiety, and life.

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