The internal landscape of depression and anxiety may make itself visible in seemingly small, yet significant ways. The lens of through which we experience the world around us is unique to each person. This can be a form of beauty and also one of the mysteries of mental illness. Each individual colors their view of the world, relationships, loved ones in a one of a kind hue: it effects the way they come to associate their emotions towards objects that surround them. Something as simple as a vase can transport us to a fond memory, evoking their grandmother’s hand extended to place flowers in it. Thoughts of a childhood home might conjure feelings of nostalgia.
I speak very openly about my own experience with battling depression and anxiety, but what tends to get overlooked is how we’ve survived the small moments “in-between” those battles. The “in- between’s” are the moments that we may be unaware of, or unable to describe, but still overpower and debilitate us. One of my greatest and most profound “in-between’s” was my relationship with my bed.
Like many people struggling with depression and anxiety, there were many days that I struggled to get out of bed in the morning. This struggle became a constant reminder of what I was unable to do. To me, my bed symbolized both a space of deep comfort and refuge, but also a place of pain and agony. I needed and wanted to escape from my pain and my bed offered a place for me to be without experiencing judgment; holding me as I attempted to face my inner struggle. My bed became a friend to me who was there when I needed “her”. When I wanted to hide, there was no safer place than on the cushioning of her soft embrace. My bed was the only place that seemed home to my aching spirit. Yet, it also felt like she held me hostage. I was captive to the comfort which she offered day in and day out despite knowing that I needed to escape her grip to overcome my anxiety and depression In the battle with my darkness I felt like she was the only place where I truly felt safe. She extended her arms towards me and allowed me to embrace her in a way that I very much needed, yet simultaneously represented my prison.
Relationships with the objects around us come to symbolize and signify both our own growth and development in miraculous ways. When I began my recovery from depression and anxiety, I knew that my relationship with this sacred space needed transformation. We often view change as something profound, with the capacity to shift us in miraculous ways, but true change happens in mini-steps, when we allow ourselves to shift our relationships with these small “in-betweens.”
Through my recovery, my bed transformed from a place that held my aching heart and a reminder of my pain to something much more profound, positive and meaningful for me. She became my gratitude sanctuary and I found myself yearning for renewal in that very space which she so generously occupied. Suddenly, I craved to change the bed sheets and in implementing these small changes, she started coloring my life in a much more meaningful way. Now when I look at her, I do so with loving gratitude. She gently reminds me how far I’ve had to travel to meet myself where I am at today.
She hasn’t changed much, but I have. My heart created its own landing space, but my bed reminds me of my initial home, my place of safety, at a time when I needed it the most. She reminds me of how we can transform our relationships not just with the people around us, but with significant objects and experiences too. She reminds me that change also lives in the small moments of these seemingly insignificant “in-betweens.”
What object in your life symbolizes your bed? How can you take your trauma and turn it into a celebration of your own life and your journey?
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