Friday, October 31, 2008

Keeping Things Sane

(cc) Douglas CooteyOne way I keep Depression at bay in my life is to get out and do things in the sunlight, in public, and nowadays that usually involves me driving somewhere. Years ago, however, I would be lucky if I could convince myself to take a walk around the neighborhood. I simply wouldn't go anywhere. Depression was like a dark blanket I kept on me at all times. I hid under it. I was constricted by it. I defined my entire world by it.

When I began peeking my head outside a bit more, I would allow myself to take trips. I would use these trips as a form of medicine. I wouldn't necessarily think, "Gosh, I'm feeling pretty down. I think I'll take a quick trip to Pakistan," but I would deliberately get out of the house to lift my spirits. Maybe to a bookstore or a movie. Maybe to a park. Usually very late at night when not another soul was awake.

Late night walks can be wonderful for clearing the head, wrestling with moral dilemmas, and working complicated decisions out loud, but they didn't always lift my spirits. And the darkness had its limits. I couldn't, for instance, pull out my sketchbook and draw in the dark.

For that I needed to embrace the light.

These days I love going for rides during the day to clear my head, and I especially love exploring new places in nature. In the past few years I have discovered Capital Reef, the Temple Quarry trail, Guardsman Pass, Antelope Island, and other wonderful places within Utah. It is a transition I am glad I made.

Fractions of Light and ShadowThis week I discovered Creekside Park.

Creekside Park may not be as geologically fascinating as a trip to Bryce National Park, but there is much to explore there. The park is a dedicated Frisbee Golf course, and large portions of it have been allowed to grow wild to a degree. I was really quite taken with it.

I invite you to check out my photos of the trip. I only have an iPhone to snap shots with, so they aren't art, but I taught my remaining homeschooled daughter a bit about design, framing, and contrast.

Afterwards, as I drove us home, I mused about how far I had come compared to the miserable hermit I used to be. I am very relieved that I learned how to think more positively and live more boldly than I had in the past.

Life is good.

Like reading The Splintered Mind? Share articles with your friends, link from your blog, or subscribe.