Springing Out of Depression


Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. – Rainer Maria Rilke.

Spring is a time of renewal. If we follow nature’s lead, it’s a time for rebirth.  During the long nights of winter, depression can have a vise-like grip around our throats.  The increasing sunlight and warmth seem to make this black dog recede back into the shadows.

Spring cleaning is a perennial happening in this country; people tossing out and cleaning up in every zip code imaginable.  This feels good because it gets our bodies moving, we feel productive and somehow lighter.  Depressives have a lot of dross in their drawers; layers of junk strewn haphazardly throughout the pockets of their days.

Today, I’m cleaning out that most sacrosanct of male domains – my garage.  Laugh you may, but I really enjoy it.  I love the productivity of it all, the manual labor that gets things done without relying on my ability to think and analyze problems.  It seems to bring my life back into some sort of momentary harmony; a clarity where there used to be only the mildew of depression. 

It puts me back in contact with nature, with the fresh air that blows and the ground where life is murmuring and waiting to come forth.  Novelist Margaret Atwood writes, “In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”   I don’t know about you, but that’s my plan for the day.

Yes, Spring is a time of change; a transition from the hibernation of winter.  It’s a good time to go back to the drawing boards of our lives and look at what is and isn’t working for us; what is and is not contributing to our depression.  If something works, keep it; if not, chuck it. 

Springtime is a great time not only to clean out garages, but also our minds that get gooey with too much depressive thinking.  Too often, depressives are immobilized by . . . well, depression.  Because they think that they can’t get anything done, they . . . get nothing done.  That sort of thinking needs to be tossed to the curb along with the rest of the trash.

Depression seems to add 50 pounds of psychic weight to our bodies.  We drag ourselves around the block like a broken wagon, never feeling that we have enough energy to do anything.  Yet, it is profoundly true, that energy begets energy in this corner of the Universe; hence, my assault on the garage.  

Depression is hard-headed and stupid. For some reason, this thought pops into my head as I watch my dog Sherman chewing on an old toy, slobber running down his brownish coat.  

Depression can make you feel like that best thing for you to do is sit on the couch and watch Brady Bunch reruns while sucking down a Coke.  But what’s really needed to make you feel better is movement.

That’s why I’ll be hanging out in my garage today.  It’s such a simple thing to do.  No game changer in the grand scheme of things.  Just an ordinary thing, in an ordinary life, that makes me feel great.


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