It must have been obvious that I was not doing well.
So obvious, in fact, that my mother’s dear friend and my stand-in godmother (who also takes on role of great auntie and sometimes even grandmother in her friend’s place) informed me that she was coming to watch the boys on Wednesday afternoon and that I should leave the house.
She didn’t offer to watch the boys. No. She informed me she was going to watch the boys.
Alrighty, then! I’ll leave!
But where to go?
In the Before Times I’d have booked a massage, or perhaps an afternoon sewing lesson at a local fabric store. Maybe a mani-pedi or a visit to the hairdresser.
But in Covid Times (despite being vaccinated), either these activities are unavailable or seem unsafe.
So instead, I checked the weather report and then wrote to a friend.
“I know you’re working and you have responsibilities and everything, but I’m not okay and my godmother is watching the kids tomorrow and do you want to go on a hike with me?”
The response was swift and encouraging: I’ll make it work.
That’s how I found myself in the car headed west on a mid-week afternoon (on St. Patrick’s Day, no less!).
I’d gone on AllTrails and found a lovely-looking hike within reasonable distance of home. I packed my hiking backpack with water, a first-aid kit, my knitting, two hunks of cheese and a Swiss army knife, grabbed my walking sticks and my mother’s old hiking boots and hopped in the car.
We met at Sky Meadows state park, a lovely park with several trail routes. After encountering a brood of chickens zealously guarding the restrooms, we struck north and tackled a 4.4 mile loop with gusto.
The first part of the hike was the hardest, but the view was worth it. As we stood at the top of a very steep hill, winded and sweaty after just 10 minutes of hiking, I thought to myself, “This was a wonderful idea.”
That hike in excellent company (and the delicious meal that followed!) was exactly what the doctor ordered.
So many things can crowd together to fog my mind and put me in a funk. Tedium, boredom, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy… We all have these feelings sometimes.
What we don’t all have, and what I am privileged to enjoy, are resources and opportunities.
Resources like the wonderful people who support me: my husband, my mother’s best friend, my own friends, family. Opportunities like being able to take a hike mid-week.
For these, and for so much more, I am very grateful. I hope to never take the people and the circumstances that surround me for granted.
If You’re Feeling Blue
You’re not alone. Though trust me, I know it feels like it. Depression sinks us further into isolation, which is a scary side-effect of social distancing.
If you or someone you love is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (or SAMHSA–I know, catchy, right?) also offers a 24/7 hotline for free treatment referral and information: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
There are lots of online resources like Better Help and others. I have no personal experience with these and don’t know how they work. Many of them are for-profit companies, so be aware of that.
If you have a family doctor, you can also reach out for tele-health appointments and referrals.
You can also write to a friend, or call. If you’re reading this and you want to talk, just drop me a line or give me a call. My friend rearranged her work day to take a hike with me. That’s what friends do. I’ll do the same for you.
Photo credit: Brittany Baker on AllTrails.com