My heart has been so heavy and overwhelmed. So much has been happening (both good and stressful) in my world and the world around me that it has been nearly suffocating at times. I took a small break from blogging here not because I wanted to, but because what I had scheduled to write about didn’t seem to fit. The words just wouldn’t come to me and it felt like I was forcing something to be created that didn’t want to exist – at least not at this point in time.
I’ve been feeling the energy in the environments I visit to be tense, agitated, and sometimes downright nasty. I’ve seen this energy manifested in the events that have taken place in the world recently. I’ve felt the need to breathe more deeply, intentionally, and frequently than I ever have before. And unexpectedly, grief has found its way into my heart not for one particular event, but for the entirety of this planet.
It can be easy to let the sadness and evil of the world overwhelm me, penetrate my view, and cloud my experiences, but having suffered from depression in the past, I know this is not a road I want to walk again.
In speaking with others who have been experiencing similar feelings, I know I am not alone in this collective sadness. The saying “misery loves company” may be true for some, but I find that for me, “misery needs community”.
Community to lift each other up instead of tear each other down.
Community to cry together and love one another.
Community to stand together and fight against misery.
I also find that misery thrives on loneliness and that solitude without peace only breeds more misery.
During my child’s first year, I felt more misery than I anticipated. Though not diagnosed with PPD or PPA, I really struggled mostly because I felt so isolated and lonely as a stay-at-home mom. In talking with my therapist at the time, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t just like being around people, I needed it. This realization led me to create a Meetup group for stay-at-home parents to gather not only for playdates for their kids, but to gain community for themselves and come out of isolation. This group (along with my therapist and husband) was my saving grace during that time in my life. I still count some of the parents I met in that group as my close friends today.
I recently lead the first annual “Mama Mountain Retreat” in Breckenridge, Colorado for moms needing a quick weekend break for rest, rejuvenation, and restoration. This small community built over the weekend helped the moms in attendance to seek time for joy, stillness, and self-care – all perfect “weapons” against sadness and overwhelm, especially on the rollercoaster that is parenthood. This weekend created a sacred space to breathe and prepare ourselves better for practicing self-care. I loved leading this retreat and am already looking forward to next year.
That being said, the weekend was far from perfect. Many things did not go as originally planned, people needed to cancel last-minute, and it really tested my Type A personality and limits of flexibility. My biggest takeaway from the retreat weekend was that the community who showed up was the community it needed to be. We laughed, we took care of each other, and we enjoyed our shared experience in the crisp mountain air. I could have let all the changes and disappointments ruin the weekend and bring me misery, but I chose to embrace the community spirit and find joy instead.
Twice a month, I also facilitate a Widow/Widower Support Group in my office building for both men and women whose spouses or partners have died. This group has been going strong since March 2014 and has shown me time and again that community is crucial for wading through grief. I have received the feedback repeatedly that it would have been much more difficult to heal after the death loss if they had tried going it alone without the group’s support.
And finally, starting September 7th, I will be leading a new community gathering called, “Meditation & Merlot” hosted by Silver Vines Winery in Olde Town Arvada. I’m excited for the possibilities this group will bring for coming together and taking a collective moment in time to slow down, focus, and enjoy each other’s company.
Please understand that I am not knocking solitude or people who identify as introverted, or even condone all communities (some are actually quite detrimental). Solitude is also necessary and helpful for rejuvenation and mindful reflection. Being introverted is a personality trait that has its merits just like being an extrovert. What I am saying is that when you find your tribe or engage regularly with likeminded people who have a shared positive goal, the effects typically combat sadness, isolation, and maybe even symptoms of depression.
If you are struggling with finding your community or fighting against misery, please call me at 720-381-2755 or email me at tradewindstherapy at gmail dot com. We can set up our first appointment today and make a plan for finding the solace you deserve.