living with clinical depression: drawing comics & herbal allies
one of the best things i ever did for my depression is get a dog. benito was an emotional support because everything made him excited. during the winter of 2016, i suffered the most severe depressive episode of my life, which earlier that fall, was predicted by my astrology teacher.
a lot of that winter is a black out for me. i was using so that i didn't have to be present. that winter was the end of the year of the hanged man, moving into the year of death. i remember bits and pieces, and then there are stories from others, and evidence on my phone of other parts of myself showing their face. i am not quite ready to tell all the stories of the side of me that existed in those months, because together we almost left this planet, and it was only because of friends who noticed that i had become unlike myself, and was in danger of no longer being at all, that i am still here today.
but for me, drawing comics has always been the best way to make light of, and put into perspective, the deepest, hardest issues.
i have been feeling the deep waves of grief for missing my dog. last january, as i stood outside at my car, him beside me, his eyes caught something across the street, and he ran right into a car, dying instantly. the grief is sometimes still inescapable. i find myself sometimes, all tense and scared when i go out into the world, worried about something that will trigger me, take me out of my body and back to that horrible day.
what do we do under a cloud of oppression, grief, or loss? the first step is to remember to remain in our bodies, and be present with ourselves. During moments in which accessing emotions, feelings, memories, having conversations, communicating, making eye contact, are not difficult, it is important to make a plan-of-action of sorts, that will be easy to tap into once you feel triggered or depressed.
to those of you who have clinical depression in your life- you get what it means to feel that weight of inability. even with the best action plans, clinic depression is there to tell you that any action plan is useless to follow, because you are useless, and this is going to be an added struggle to consider. It is good that in better moments, you make a plan to deal with yourself when clinical depression has its iron fist holding you down.
we can use plants to support us through these times, but we need to be careful when calling upon their energies. part of an intuitive herbal process is allowing ourselves to elect which plants are our allies. for example- some folks really love chamomile, while others have an adverse reaction because of its relationship to the allergy-sensitive ragweed. some people find valerian to smell like dirty socks, and its flowers ugly, and that it makes them moody or even wired. others find the valerian queen to be the ruler of our sleep and relaxation. through your own journey, you'll find the plants that can stand beside them.
for me, i've been enjoying adaptogens for my mental health support. slowly, the goal is to replace coffee with an infusion based in oatstraw, nettles and cinnamon bark. Adding rose petals and anything from the mint family helps to sooth sadness and grief. Mint family is such a strong, glorious family, including lemon balm, motherwort, and skullcap.
think of temprance, passing her water from one cup to another. this is a time of self care and balance. <3