That Old Swirling Depression


The swirling depths, overtaking the mind. The snow, obscuring.


An evocative card for Depression, definitely. I liked this idea from Mindy in the booklet:

“Remember that this ‘black hole’ is emanating from within, not without. We are not at the mercy of externals when this card appears.”

We are not.




Loopy for Gold

Daily Draw September 26th, 2010

Today’s card is from The Heart Tarot.


I’ve always loved this card, being a creative person and one who makes things, because it gives me hope of excellence and being paid for work, for having my work valued by others. You can see the robed figure is grateful to pay for wonderful work. Economic help, moral support, having need relieved, all these things are with this card. It’s about mastering things as well to me, mastering yourself, harnessing the best you can be in general.

Andrew Matthews is someone I mention now and then. He is an artist, a cartoonist really, as well as a motivational speaker and book author. I like his attitude toward life and his simple straightforward books. A few years ago I bought his most recent book Follow Your Heart : Finding Purpose in Your Life and Work. He is a proponent of discipline, positive thinking, how our thoughts make our world, how our efforts are never wasted, all the good sensible things that truly help during crises and also everyday life.

Well, I could hardly read it at one point because he talked about keeping your home clean and tidy, and how that set the stage for life. At the time I was mired in a clinical depression, desperately ill physically, I didn’t cook or clean, my husband was doing everything including holding down a full-time job and commuting for 3 hours a day. We had let repairs and decluttering on the house go for years, and it was overwhelming.

Somewhere in time though Andrew Matthews sowed the seed for recovery. It niggled at me, this thing about a clean home, it bothered me, it was written in stone in my mind and stayed there. Things got better, bit by bit, and last year after a health emergency I started taking care of myself and feeling better. We made a start on trimming trees in the garden. We did our best and we did what we could. I started to keep the kitchen as clean as I could, and then added the bathroom to that. The looming thought of retirement made us think deeply about how people were going to view this house. We couldn’t put it up for sale in the state it was in, so we made a 5-year plan and started doing small things like repairing taps and sweeping and cleaning out rooms of old junk in furniture. We cut more trees down and we cleaned out the garage and got rid of 22 green garbage bags of junk from the basement.

I remember the week I tackled the bookcase down here, it took me four days. Due to back injuries I get sciatica if I bend down too much, so I would work an hour and then rest until the next day, and then I’d work an hour and after days of work the thing was done. All scrubbed and every book and cat figurine on that shelf was cleaned. It was nice to see them brought back to life. I keep a Swiffer duster down here now and once a week I dust everything and dust the TV to keep it up. I sweep the floor and sponge mop it when I can. It’s concrete and the paint has worn off in spots, but that’s next year’s work.

We bought a new washing machine a couple of years ago, I had about 6 to 8 feet of laundry piled up and I worked at it day by day and hung things up on the line down here because my dryer is broken. It took many weeks but it all got done and I’ve kept it up, I’ve kept up washing our bedsheets in hot water to kill dust mites and I rotate the sheets every week and a half so our bedrooms are clean. I’ve kept it up. As months go by I add this and that and keep things clean. I can’t do everything but I do what I can.

This summer we did more and finally realized we needed some furniture, so we bought that on credit but we are budgeting to pay it off before the interest kicks in. We got some financial help from a relative and we bought tables and lamps, blinds, pots and pans: glory be, light in the living room. My husband scraped and primed and painted the living room windows and hung new blinds. While he did that I took some pictures down and filled in holes in the walls and repainted the spots and started washing walls and sweeping cobwebs. We are getting the ductwork done on the furnace and we will have proper heat down here for the first time in 23 years. For the first time in years I will have a dryer, maybe next week or so. I will be able to keep up with washing the heavy comforters and dog blankets in the winter instead of hanging them on a line and waiting for two days for them to dry, or not washing them at all.

And all the while we keep looking at each other and saying, “How did we let this happen?” It’s shocking how external situations can insidiously leech the joy and care from your life. It’s not really the situations though, it’s you, it’s how you view things, it’s how you think, it’s the action you do or don’t take. It’s shocking, but you CAN get your life back. You can do it without swamping your body with poisonous medications that doctors hand out like candy too.

Yesterday we started cleaning the kitchen cupboards. I need help to do the bottom ones as I can’t get down there, so my husband got down. While there, he noticed a shelf falling apart and a brace falling down so he got some screws in there and some wood glue and repaired it. Then he washed and scrubbed and I washed and scrubbed everything that was taken out of the cupboard and we put down some cheery Contact paper and fresh sheets of waxed paper. I have brought up my “good” dishes from the basement after 27 years and we are using them instead of having them in boxes. If you look closely at the picture, you can see on the top shelf in the middle the mis-matched dishes we were using. My new pots are there and my new food processor and we are further ready to take care of ourselves, to bring ourselves and our home back to life.

We were crazy loopy for a time, loopy with sorrow and lack of energy, loopy with despair and hopelessness, but now we are loopy for gold.