Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Place

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Since my last post I've been having a difficult time. I've been using all of my depression coping techniques, but all of those nasty thoughts that rear their ugly head keep on poppin' up. I've had to seek my happy place quite frequently.

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My mom, who also suffers from depression, taught me about the happy place when I was very little. It's a sort of a zen place, that place of calm inside yourself that you can escape to when the outside world just gets crappy. Happy places are also useful when waiting in long grocery lines, long lights, and when you're out to eat (for the first time in months in our case) and they seat a really loud know-it-all buffoon right behind you. More than a few times, my mom has just looked and me and said "enhance your calm" (she used to practice yoga, she's pretty groovy for a former non-hippie) and to my happy place I go.

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A happy place is as individual and changeable as the person who goes there. Sometimes I am on a white beach in the Caribbean, sandpipers flitting about, the bluest water lapping on the shore, with sun kissed, hot skin. Other times my place is simply full of light and quiet, a joyful quiet that fills me to my core. Sometimes it is a time of intimacy with Tim or sitting in a field of flowers kissing Will's head. Misty corners in Marylebone, sitting on the steps of the Sacre Coeur, breathing the bright Colorado air or the musty air of a used book shop in New Orleans.

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I am very introverted and highly imaginative, so getting there is not a problem. For extroverts, the quiet that this exercise involves could be off putting. For it requires quiet to see the colors of the tress, smell the aroma of their blossoms, feel the grass beneath your feet, and hear the chitter of the squirrel in it's nest. I am a true believer that there is a happy place for all of us, introvert and extrovert alike; it's just that for some of us, it might be a little more work to get there.

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Where is your happy place? I might like to visit. I won't change anything around, just stop in for a second or two. You can share my beach with me any time. The sandpipers will enjoy the visit.

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27 comments:

KaylaDanielle said...

This is a great depression coping technique.. I suffer with depression as well, and I hope your difficult time fades soon. I really enjoy your blog, by the way :)

The Housewife said...

Oh Erin, I love that line "enhance your calm".

My happy places are very similar to yours. The beach where we relaxed on our honeymoon, and the cool crisp Colorado mountain air with endless views of the blue sky while listening to the Aspen leaves shake in the wind.

And even a bed we once got the pleasure of sleeping in. The softest bed with the greatest white sheets - it was like floating on a cloud, and we stayed in bed all day, talking, laughing, touching. Magic.

Weezer said...

I'm with you Erin. I've suffered with depression since I was a teenager and have battled and battled. Actually, I'm a 3rd generation depressive and border-line agoraphobic with the 4th generation being my middle daughter. I know about happy places. I know about removing yourself from the here and now. I know about wanting to give it all up.
Hang tough. There's all kinds of visual armor that you can put on to combat those times.
I'm willing to chat.
Stay calm. You are not alone.....wherever you are.
Hugs and blessings.

Manda said...

My "happy place" would be to dream of beaches and warm sunny places... but ultimately I find the most comfort in scripture or a great get-me-thinking kind of book (one that is loaded with truth).

janis said...

Erin~ I have a happy place (actually a couple).Unfortunately, that doesn't work as well for me as it use too. I look forward to a day where I can use that coping method more often instead of having to use prescriptions to help me keep it together. My therapist (& my blog) help tremendously. I admire you for being strong and making your happy place work for you. Prayers heading your way w/ love.

Kim said...

Gorgeous daisies and those umbrellas are so fun!

Ann On and On... said...

My happy place is sometimes hard to find too. It's honest and realistic and comforting to hear others need help finding theirs too... Life is challenging, but after having a face-off with death (I won) I find my happy place with each breath. (I might have to gasp for air every once in a while, but it's there...waiting for me to plant my feet firmly and realize whatever is bothering me...can and will pass. I am bigger than "them" or it.)

Thank you for your wonderful blog and all the joy it brings me and so many others. Plant your feet and breathe...and keep writing!

Pamela Holderman said...

You are welcome to come have iced tea with me on my patio. I will warn my dog to expect you. The only problem with sitting there is that I see everything I need to do, and I definitely don't have the sitting and relaxing thing down, so up I go to do and not just be.

Kathy said...

If you have been having trouble, I don't understand why you are going to a happy place instead of the place of peace, which can be found by turning our eyes onto the One who knows us and has saved us - surely that would be more effective? Sometimes it takes more practice (and occassionally some help from someone else) but the results are far better and longer lasting :) xx

kneesandpaws said...

Erin, this is a lovely post. I need to remember to go to the places that bring me home to that quiet, contented place in my mind. Like you, I use the memory of something wonderful, like walking outside after the rain. Or the smell of sunshine and sweat on the top of my children's heads at the end of the day.

Kasie said...

although your happy places seem so wonderful I'm so sorry that you don't feel well. I used to suffer from really bad depression & I know how dark & scary it is. I so hope you feel better really really soon!

Daisie said...

I too suffer from depression. It's been a rough week. I blame it on the rain we've had here. Anyway....
My happy place is a field with long grass and daisies. There is a babbling brook, a large willow, and a big comfy bed with white linens and lots of pillows. The sun is always shining as I lounge in my happy place. I love it. You are welcome to come visit anytime you'd like!

JamericanSpice said...

This is a very good technique.

My place is noisy. I have a story in my head and I put myself there and live that life and it makes me happy.

Sometimes music takes me there too, but I have to be careful about the music or it can get sad.

Nice to meet you. I'm following you also from Friday Follow.

Michelle said...

Beautiful pictures as always! Its funny but my happy places are usually outside like sitting at the beach or hiking down a wooded trail in autumn with all the leaves ablaze in their beautiful fall colors but I'm so not an outdoor girl! I guess that's what is great about happy places, no sand, no heat, so saltwater, no bugs or bears or snakes just calm! I'll be praying for you-

sara said...

I passed an award onto you this morning, come by and grab it when you have a sec!

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong said...

What a great idea. Thank you for sharing, and for putting a "happy place" face to something that tends to be "shamed". Much appreciated.

The Drama Mama said...

Those are gorgeous happy places!! I have another happy place for you--my blog. Why is my blog a happy place?

Because I giving out awards, and you got one!

http://therealpoopsie.blogspot.com/2010/07/versatile-beautiful-sugar-doll-of.html

Shawna said...

This is one of your best posts. So thought provoking. I love it.

I wish I knew where my happy place was! My trouble would not be in thinking of one, but rather finding time to think of one! I have three very loud little ones and not much quiet time. I am also naturally introspective. Perhaps that's why it kills me so to never get any silence or stillness. I miss the days of yoga. I love your mom's instruction of "enhancing your calm." I will use that on myself. :)

Shawna said...

I think mine would be my mom's back porch surrounded by her flower garden and water fountain.

sEy said...

Hi Erin, while at times I was suffering depression too, I also crave for quiet place where I could enjoy the serenity of peace and calmness. But that's impossible when you don't have the energy to go out so what I'm doing is to imagine that I am walking on the park with so many trees and the light of the sun on my back!

I am hoping for the best for you. I know the feeling and you're not alone Erin.

Let this blog be your outlet!

Mrs. Claus said...

I don't normally suffer from depression, but if I was to choose a happy place it would probably be in a five star hotel penthouse with a big fluffy robe and lots room service.

Check out my blog, you have an award for being one of my newest followers!

http://likeChristmaseverysingleday.blogspot.com

CherylT said...

My happy place is a 5-star beach and pitcher of margaritas. Sorry to hear that you're going through a rough patch. Hope all the support here helps get you out of it soon.

Lori said...

I've been in a bit of a rut too and that happy place always helps! It's so nice to read everyone else's ideas too, makes you feel less alone. I remember when my kids were little and played on the computer, they had a Winnie the Pooh game. In the game you created a "Thoughtful Spot". Some days when I was stressed, I'd make one on the computer. I loved that calm time I had. Seeing the pics on your blog helps a lot too. Just sitting back putting the tired feet up and looking at the beautiful pics is like making a Thoughtful Spot again!

Sharon said...

Erin, your happy places are all beautiful, and I don't know if I could top them.

For me, depressive states are always helped if I drink LOTS of water and get around or visualize water. Stop by my blog and see a walk along the river near where I work.

Will be sending positive thoughts your way, my dear.

Jenna Renee said...

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ephemerette said...

Nice to hear that I'm not the only one who uses this technique, usually mine involve memories from travelling, the sights and smells of markets in the far east, perching on a rock by the crashing sea in Australia,the thrill of seeing a neon wonderland flashing by on a train in Japan-the list's endless. I also have a mental 'zen wall' thing which is a shield I have to put up occasionally defelect away the crap life throws at you.

Kamika said...

Beautiful and inspiring post! I am affraid my brain is a little too loud to stay in an imaginary happy place too long, so when I am feeling a case of the "mean reds" I get outside. Into the trails if I can but my backyard will do if that is all I can manage that day. Fresh air, nature, and sunshine are what cure my blues. If I can manage to do some art outside even better!

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