Do you have a place that heals you?
A place where you go when you're feeling down?
Or maybe you need to travel to get to the place that heals you?
I wish I had a treehouse as a kid. I would get into these sad and angry spells where I would want to run away and wouldn't come inside for hours. I wish I had a ladder to climb (which is ironic because I don't like heights, especially ladders) and a place up high to separate myself from the world.
Adults can benefit from the "treehouse effect" too. And I don't mean sitting in your car, though sometimes a drive can heal too. I mean a place. Outside. Fresh air, but a place that feels like your own.
For me, it has always been the ocean.
Now, growing up in rural Connecticut I did not have much access to salt water. Instead, I had the woods, and large grassy fields.
So, how do I know the ocean heals?
My second home, is Martha's Vineyard.
In middle school I became friends with "Trulia", the real estate site.
I would email my parents links to homes for sale on the Vineyard and found joy in looking at the Vineyard school websites. I was happy at my school, but I wouldn't have minded leaving for the island. Of course, my parents always said no, that we couldn't afford it, that they wouldn't find jobs there. I didn't give up though. In 7th grade I had an "I am myself" project, where I had to write an essay about "me at 28." I said I would be living on Martha's Vineyard with a career as a fashion designer. (chuckle)
I would cry every time I would leave MV. I would wave goodbye to my grandparents as I got on the ferry and I couldn't help the tears from falling.
My dream even distracted me in school. When I would finish my work early, I was allowed to take out a book and read. I never read. I only looked at the pages, while daydreaming about my next trip to the Vineyard. It was my happiest dream to escape to.
The ocean always had an effect on me. It is calming, and it carries so much light. I think I wanted to be the ocean.
It is confusing to me now, how my dreams have changed since my 7th grade self. Half of my family is on the Vineyard, so of course I would have a connection there. Things change, though, and I find that I am no longer fighting as hard to go back.
I have an estranged relationship with my father. I don't write about it for the public, so I am leaving it at that. My brother wanted to go to the Vineyard to see him for Easter, and he didn't want to go without me. I gave in, knowing it would make my brother happy. I did it for him, and for me. I would be taking my own "mental health trip" and it would be good for me to reunite with my happy place.
- and it was! (I even used the Peter Pan bus system for the first time- haha)
It was as if time stopped just as I had wanted it to. I was able to breathe. I was able to laugh. I was able to enjoy. It was a full long weekend I spent free of tears falling!
Sometimes I wonder if it's a sign. Maybe I should live by the water someday. I do believe climate has an effect on depression. It helps that spring is here, summer is coming, and I have reunited with the sunlight.
I do have to say, estranged relationships are hard. There is this sense of brokenness and now when I leave the island, I have a different feeling than I had when I was pre-teen. Now I feel this weird emptiness, and confusion. I am reminded what I had, and what I could have. It used to take me a little while to bounce back after these trips. This time, I am noticing the "bounce back" to be happening faster.
I think this is because I have become more sure of who I am, even when I try to make sense of somebody else. I know myself enough to give myself a break, and know when I need one. I know to pause, before I keep going. This pause is a lot quicker than it used to be. I think that is because I have learned how to
cope by myself?
[not finding the right phrase..]
Or maybe I haven't learned anything new at all.
I am simply growing.
A caption or "insight" of mine in a recent Instagram photo on Sunday.
A little message from me to you: This morning I went to a service at my grandparents' church. I gained a little wisdom about this holiday when I was there. There is much focus today about "rebirth" and I think that is a universal symbol. Many of us are fighting great battles, or know of someone who is. You can be reborn again. You can fall down and get back up again. One foot in front of the other. I know for me, I thought of my personal journey with depression, and how at 18 I have already experienced climbing out of a low low point.
I have just 2-3 weeks left of the semester.
I let the ocean air recharge me, and empower my thoughts.
Now May is coming, and if you remember this time last year...
May is Mental Health Month!
I will organize a set a daily prompts for the month and post the list sometime next week :-)
As always, topic suggestions/questions taken and appreciated!
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.