Monday, May 6, 2013

Let the wind take those thoughts away


“Let’s fix some sandwiches and go down to the park for a picnic.”
Larry didn’t hesitate. He hears “go” in a sentence, and he’s ready.
So we fixed some sandwiches and chips, added some drinks and drove to the park. Our town has several parks, but we always visit the one by the Staunton River.
It was a cold and windy Sunday. The temperatures were in the 50s, but the wind made it pretty chilly.
That didn’t stop us. We just put on our jackets, sat close together on the bench by the river, and ate our food.

Larry likes to go. Me? Less so. But on Sunday, I needed to go.

Some things are happening that have upset both Larry and me. The things don’t affect Larry and me directly, but they might affect our community. We’ve both felt a lot of shock and anger.
I can’t be specific about it here. And the specifics don’t change the effects on me.
When things upset me, it’s hard for me to let go. Whether it’s my OCD or depression or the generalized anxiety, negative thoughts lead to more negative thoughts, going around and around.
Thoughts about the situation followed me Friday night into Saturday morning. I woke up often, and every time I did, my thoughts went back to the anger.
I played the “what if” game. I imagined scenarios that only made me angrier.
I felt jumpy and irritable. The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome flared.
Worst of all, I felt the beginnings of hopelessness, which scares me particularly because it’s a hallmark of my depression.
That got my attention.

I will not let what others choose to do or say affect my mental health.

So I’ve tried different things to counteract the anxiety.
I’ve prayed the Serenity Prayer. I’ve reminded myself of things I can do nothing about.
I’ve also concentrated on what’s most important to me: God, Larry, my cats and my writing. I’ve used visualization as I’ve thought of them.

On Saturday, Larry had a day-long class, so I was home alone. I did some chores, looked after the kitties, took a nap.
I had another spell of anxiety in the evening. I wanted to go outside and run, or at least walk really fast.
I couldn’t do that. But I wanted to do something. I wanted to go somewhere. I wanted to get away from myself.






The picnic helped tremendously. After we ate, we walked around the area, taking photos. We rode back into the newly developed area of the park so I could get some shots of the railroad trestle and some other interesting sights.
Despite the chilliness, the wind felt good. It metaphorically blew away the negative thoughts and replaced them with fun, the beauty of nature and the joy of being with Larry.
And then we went for ice cream.

This will not be an easy week. But when the thoughts creep in again, I’m going to imagine being in the park by the river with Larry, in the wind and the coolness, among the green grasses and the wildflowers. I will imagine the wind lifting me above those thoughts.

What do you do when you can’t get your mind off of a worrisome subject?

26 comments:

  1. Oh that picnic thing works for me every time and the beauty of nature letting the wind blow those thought away is perfect. Yes more wind less thoughts:) Hug B

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    1. Thanks, Buttons. I like that: more wind, less thoughts!

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  2. I hope the week goes as good as it can go. I like the idea of being self-aware enough to let your mind take you to the park when unwanted thoughts creep in. Happy Monday my friend.

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    1. Thank you, Keith. Things will be OK. And if the going get tough, then it's back to the park--at least in my mind!

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  3. I'm sorry about the uncertainty. Sounds like you turned some negatives into positives though. Ugh, how frustrating you can't run or walk it out. Maybe a lighthearted book or movie to get lost in?

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Yes, it was very frustrating not to be able to physically move really fast and tire myself out that way! But being out in the wind and the chill felt sooooo good. I hobbled around in my boot and took lots of photos and laughed a lot with Larry. It felt good!

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  4. I love to get outside in the Summer. Walk, bring a dessert, coffee drink, a book and a drawing project. It is something to look forward to. But this Spring has been challenging. Good luck this week.

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. That's one of the best things about warmer weather--being able to get outside. This spring has been very strange as far as temperatures go.

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  5. Beautiful! I'm glad you and Larry had such a lovely day.

    You have inspired my blog post for today :-)

    I love what you say about "I will not let what others choose to do or say affect my mental health." Darn though, it's so hard!

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. It was a lovely day. :-)

      Yes, it is hard not to let others adversely affect us.

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  6. glad you got out into the brisk air. love the railroad trestle. a great shot.

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    1. Thanks, Tex. I'm fascinated by the look of railroad trestles.

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  7. Hoo, boy, I so relate to this post! We've struggled with a difficult situation for a long time, and I know how hard it is to let the pain go. I can't say I've been successful at doing so, though I've had moments. Normally I would go to the garden, but the garden has triggered the legal battle that has created my stress -- it feels doubly hard to lose the sense of sanctuary that the garden used to bring.

    Our recent hiking trip to the mountains gave me several days of peace and replenishment. We have another hiking trip this coming weekend. For me, it's all about being outdoors as much as possible.

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    1. Nadine, I just read your latest post, and I could relate to it so much! Ongoing stressful situations are hard to deal with. It really can show you the value of living for today, of being mindful, and of enjoying life despite whatever is causing the stress. Enjoy your hiking!

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  8. I also find it calming to be in nature....Thinking of you and hoping this week is not as bad as you anticipate. One day at a time, that's all we can do!

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    1. Thank you, Janet. That's a great reminder!

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  9. hehe....my hubs hears sandwiches in a sentence and he's ready!! gorgeous images today, it's always great to be outdoors!!

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    1. Debbie, thank you. My husband like hearing that word, too! :-)

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  10. Hi Tina, I am so glad that you got out and went by the water, and that you didn't let the chilly temperatures deter you! Good for you! If I am having a difficult time taking my mind off of something that worries me, I go on YouTube and listen to calming videos, preferably nature ones...and nature sounds, or very calming music. Something that will distract me in a positive way.
    I go for walks in nature, as you know, and took a nice walk in nature today. I brought my camera with me and took a whole bunch of photos which I will share over a period of time on my blog. Great post, as always!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I'm glad you are having nice weather there so you can get out. You share a lot of soothing videos on your blog--I enjoy them!

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  11. What gorgeous pictures of a lovely time out. I'm so glad you received nourishment for the week ahead.

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    1. Thank you, Anna. That's a good way to put it. I did receive nourishment.

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  12. Hi Tina, so sorry, I meant to tell you how much I love your photos...especially that first one!!!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. It's one of my favorite places to go.

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  13. So sorry you have to go through this Tina, but it sounds like you are really handling it well.
    If I get worried walking doesn't really help me, but I can get completely lost in a difficult knitting or crochet pattern and that works well for me.

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  14. Hi Tina! Interesting to read your post today because last night my post was entitled "Struggle," sometimes I think we are all more connected than we know it. I am so happy that you got outside with Larry and enjoyed the wind and nature! Yes, nature trully does soothe the soul and give us a different perspective. If you start to feel heavy again, just taking a short walk around the neighborhood can do wonders. Sometimes reading an inspirational book also helps me. All the best to you!

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