Occasionally on my morning walks I pass a jogger.  Sometimes we nod or wave or say good morning.   Sometimes she’ll make quick comments like, “They finally cut the grass.”  Or “They’re renovating the bathroom.”  I’ll know immediately which house she’s talking about…the one with the yard that hasn’t been cut all summer.  And I’ll continue walking and see the house with toilet and sink boxes on the curb.  Once she fired off, “They must be getting a divorce.”  And a little further on my walk…. there was the new “for sale” sign in the yard where, rumor has it, unhappiness lives.

Today she quipped, “Have you seen it?”  And I thought… It?  Apparently, not.  “The glove,” she said laughingly, “That’s flipping off the world.”   I knew immediately where the glove was but the flipping off part sort of made me wonder about her!

I had noticed the glove when I first began walking this summer.  Tattered, laying by the curb in the leaves and clippings…forgotten.  I figured someone dropped it walking or jogging but it had remained stuck in the same place all summer.   The house needed painting, the yard needing edging, toys were scattered outside the garage door, bushes needed to be trimmed, and shrubs were tall. “They are doing just enough to get by,” I thought, but the house obviously needed care.  And the glove needed to be picked up.

I began to think how our lives can sometimes be like that glove.  Seemingly tossed aside.  Tattered.  Lonely…while the rest of the world simply walks by.   Sometimes we all need to be picked up.

Life situations can cause heartache and stress, and unless we have good coping skills, we can become isolated, afraid, angry, bitter.  Negative thoughts invade our cognitive realm and actions become sabotaged and conditioned.  Conditioned to think that we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, happy enough, enough whatever.  We may mentally compare ourselves to others and believe that we come out on the short end of the stick.

We all want to be loved, a partner who communicates and understands our needs.  A good job that gives us satisfaction and financial security.  Friends we can call to share special moments in good times or bad, and genuine laughs.  Family that supports us.  Unfortunately, we don’t always have these things.  Life may become difficult and uncertain, and we may struggle and lose hope.

Negative thoughts  become contagious.  We can find ourselves trapped in an endless circle, falling further into despair.  When circumstances don’t go our way, we may blame others and feel forgotten and inadequate.  Before we realize what’s happening, we find ourselves square in the middle of the grips of depression.  Physical changes occur.  Appetite changes, sleep is disturbed, we no longer want to be around people, and we may find it increasingly difficult to get out of bed.   Some people may turn to drugs and alcohol, leave their marriage, express themselves through self-harm, or give in to suicidal thoughts.

Depression is real.  Harmful.  Frightening.  Isolating.  But it can be treated, managed, and relieved.  Medication may be needed and negative thinking patterns  identified and changed.  Learning to “unlearn” negativity takes time and practice, but  we can learn to wrangle ourselves free of depression.  Practicing positive thought processes, experiencing gratitude, and learning to become comfortable with self can help.

We don’t have to be like that ragged and discarded glove.  Reaching out for help is a good first start.  If you need help for depression or any other situation that is stained with stress, call Life Restore Counseling & Training LLC.  We’ll do our best to help you break free of depression and regain balance in life.

And, so, on the first day of fall, I walked again by the house with the glove lying against its curb.  But this time, I stopped and smiled and picked it up!