Trail Markers

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – by Ursula K. Le Guin

Many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had the great good fortune to study in Madrid, Spain. Admittedly, not a whole lot of studying went on, but it was still one of the greatest learning experiences of my life.

While I was there, my parents came over for a two-week vacation during the Semana Santa, or Holy Week, break. Our itinerary put us in Granada in southern Spain, home of the famous—and exquisite—Alhambra, the night before Easter. We arrived late in the afternoon and proceeded to look for our hotel. We had the street address. We had directions. We had the phone number of the hotel. What we didn’t have were street signs. That’s right; at the time, the city of Granada seemed completely devoid of street signs. They weren’t on poles. They weren’t on buildings. They weren’t anywhere. Even after I called the hotel’s proprietor and asked for clarification, the directions he gave us made no sense because there were no street signs to follow. After a five-hour, Keystone Kops comedy of errors, complicated by the Black Saturday processions, we finally found the hotel. Turns out it was located right inside the grounds of the Alhambra. If we’d known that, we could have been there in less than an hour after our arrival in Granada.

Recovery from depression has been a similar comedy of errors for me, but instead of wasting five hours, I’ve wasted years of my life trying to figure out how to get better. Maybe if there had been better signposts along the way, someone pulling the pieces together for me so that they made sense, I wouldn’t have gotten lost so often.

As you navigate this blog, I’ve designated some trail markers to expedite your journey. The theme of this blog is going on a journey using the metaphor of hiking. Why? Because it was something I did a lot of before I got sick, an activity I really loved. When I went on hikes in the mountains surrounding Tucson (always with boon companions), I found myself able to push beyond my own limits in ways I hadn’t thought myself capable of. I was also invariably uplifted by the beautiful natural surroundings we encountered. Hiking is something I hope to get back to soon, as my own journey of recovery from depression progresses. Hiking is also an apt analogy for what we must go through if we are to truly recover from depression.

Here are the trail markers to look for in upcoming blog entries:

  1. Companions on the Journey—Good friends, supportive family members, neighbors, therapists, doctors and other healthcare providers, depression support group members, members of your spiritual community, pets and other animals.
  2. Provisions for the Journey—The provisions and other gear you’ll find beneficial as you recover from depression. They include foods, supplements, a journal, a computer with Internet access, a quiet space of your own, guided visualization audios, art supplies, music, and more.
  3. Getting Your Bearings—Encompasses medical, physiological, and psychological information about depression; resources such as books, websites, articles, depression treatment centers, etc.; stories by or about other depressives and how they have coped, overcome, or triumphed; depressives in history (did you know that Abraham Lincoln had depression?).
  4. Making Tracks—Addresses how to move forward in spite of having depression. This includes radical self-care, healing grief, cleaning up incomplete relationships, clearing out tolerations, valuing yourself, belief excavation, taking action, honoring accomplishments.
  5. Milestones—Discusses how you know you’re getting better.
  6. Finding Your Way Home—Discusses purpose, right livelihood, developing a vision, gentle self-discipline, coming out of your “cave,” right commitments, spiritual exploration and healing.
  7. Forest Rangers—Articles especially for caregivers. Includes acceptance, self-care, emotional survival, knowing when it’s enough.
  8. The Weekend Stretch—Published on Saturday or Sunday; gives you a question to ponder or write about, or an easy exercise to try.

Next time: “A Key Question.”

(c) 2010 by Patricia R. Henschen

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1 Comment

Filed under Introduction

One response to “Trail Markers

  1. Linda

    Love the journey and hiking metaphors. They speak to me and inspire me also- journeys through nature are my favorite and reminds us of the ongoing nature of the journey.

    Congratulations on Hitting the Trail! This project is absolutely perfect for you! I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

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