Twixt One and the Other

The Path Forward

Between the land and the sea, this beach path marks the liminal zone, the edge between two elements – which feels just like the space I’m living in, right now.

As many of you know, the past few weeks have been, well, ‘difficult’ to put it mildly; yet this week I have felt an upsurge in optimism, and have already experienced something of a victory, managing to attend and remain in group therapy all day yesterday, followed up by a 1-1 session with a facilitator.

For me, the difficult times are like the sea. “Sea” denotes danger for me. OK, not the pretty beach-edge shown above, but surging deep water, unfathomable depths, the fear of being dragged down with nothing to hang onto … it’s a powerful metaphor of mental illness.

In contrast, the easier times are like solid land: dependable, earthy, rich, textured, nourishing; places where crops grow, families live in peace and trees can flourish.

This week, I’m treading the path between these extremes. I’ve been in the sea, I have a glimpse of safe ground, and that’s where I want to make my abode – at least for the next little while; I know I’ll have to head back out to sea sometimes: such is life.

While I’m enjoying my respite from oceanic perils, I need to do things which will stand me in good stead should another tsunami come along (which, let’s face it, is likely).

I need would like to:

  • get on top of my inboxes again (sorry to those who are awaiting email replies; you fell off the bottom of the triage list recently)
  • get some money stuff arranged
  • complete some overdue tasks
  • tend my neglected garden
  • stop writing To Do lists which are ridiculously long and merely drive anxiety!

We’re all different. Do any of you find the sea to be an image of mental health or safety, rather than otherwise? Or do any of you find the image of land to be threatening? I’d love to hear your ideas.

21 Comments

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21 responses to “Twixt One and the Other

  1. Cal

    I feel so at home around the ocean, I definitely don’t see it as the dangerous place…and I feel kind of ambivalent about land too. I feel more like my experience with depression is getting lost inside myself – kind of like being lost in deep space. Like, there are these infinite wells of emotion inside me (seriously, I never knew I could have so many FEELINGS!) and I’m disappearing into them, and need to fight my way back to somewhere that’s light and beautiful and where I can breathe. I suppose it’s like sinking, but it’s sinking into nothingness, being cast adrift. In the water, I can swim, but where I am now I don’t seem to be able to move in any direction, so it feels more apt to compare it to floating in space.

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  2. So glad you are feeling better!

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  3. I am drawn to water unless it’s really rough surf or something so I think I am more afraid of land. Water seems comforting, like a huge blanket and an actual barrier between people.

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  4. This gave me the shivers, as you exactly describe the way I feel about water.
    Thumbs up for your achievements concerning group therapy! Go on!

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  5. Hmm. Being near water and in water makes me feel happy and calmed. Being on land by sea water also makes me healthier – I get really bad respiratory problems. Being on water, however, makes me very sea sick!
    But on the other hand, I love land too. I really feel revived having greenness around me and hiking in a beautiful forest.
    I suppose I like the feeling of freedom of being in nature and by water. It’s being in small enclosed spaces with too many people that I feel insecure.
    Interesting – I close up and become a hermit when depressed, but that’s probably the worst thing for me. Makes sense – a walk outdoors generally does make me feel better!

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  6. ocdjm

    The sea is more like mental illness to me. It is unpredictable. Even when calm the undercurrents are raging and storms come quickly with little warning.

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  7. Try making todo lists that are ONLY 10 items long. When you get 7 of them done you can begin thinking of the next one. Aim to get three things done per day. 5 things done in one day is a huge accomplishment. Recognize that. Your stove only has 4 burners right? Well, stop planning meals that require you to cook 8 things at once.

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    • That is such good advice!!! Unfortunately I seem to be “stuck” in many ways, right now. Some of them are within my control (e.g. procrastination) others are out of my control (e.g. level of unwellness –> not able to work). Being “stuck” means the To Do list piles up. I am trying to focus on doing just one thing at a time. I hope to have completed a major project by the end of this weekend …. fingers crossed. I’m not optimistic: everything just takes so much effort …

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