Dandelions are really annoying. We all know these yellow colored devils that pop up seemingly out of nowhere and by the thousands every Spring. But, something in this dreaded flower decided to give me a little lesson in life yesterday and draw me to it. We had a therapy session. Instead of a couch, I stood, because who takes a couch on a walk. If you do, please email me your weight-lifting routine.
As you can see in my photo, the Dandelions are surrounded by death: dead leaves, decay, brown grass, etc. But, there are the Dandelions: alive, vibrant, full of color. It’s beautiful right? The Circle of Life. For one thing to grow another must die and then it all repeats. It’s similar to the Circle of Life for humans: birth, life, aging, and death. Isn’t our responsibility has humans to keep coming back? With every bad experience in our mental health journey (think cold and harsh winters), don’t we die a sort of die and experience loss, maybe even a time of grief?
But then we awaken to that first ray of sunshine. It beams on our face with power and illuminates us to the day ahead. Spring is coming. The depression lifts, the mania subsides, the psychosis becomes quieter, the anxiety calms down, and the pain doesn’t quite seem so painful.
A reminder to anyone who strugglse with mental illness, Spring will always come. To my fellow practitioners who have given every bit of your heart and souls to keep helping others, with nothing to show for it, but student loans and a failing marriage, you never know how many clients you’ve helped and lives you’ve saved.
You see, the Dandelion doesn’t keep track of every bee it’s encountered, but it’s helped many bees survive and go on help other bees. My friends, your investment of a part of you, much like the flower, helps others.
The Dandelion doesn’t let the harshness and power of Winter have the final say. It doesn’t let the blade of a mower, the spray of a pesticide, or the threat of someone scorching their yard keep it away. It keeps coming back in its season. ‘For everything there is a season’ as King Solomon once said.
I’ll leave you with the words of my aunt which have resonated deeply in my heart about ‘the season of darkness’: “It won’t last forever..”
When was the last time you were depressed forever, manic forever, psychotic forever, etc? The DSM-V says ‘episodes’ and I say ‘seasons’, but Shakespeare would say ‘a rose by any other word would smell as sweet”. So does it really matter what we call these times? Of course not. What really matters is what will you learn from your time spent in the light and the dark.
You need to take a moment, take an inventory, journal a thought, or reflect on your season, moment, or episode so that the next season, the next year, the next episode—will be better.
It’s time to stop being ‘mentally ill’ and start being ‘mentally responsible’.
Drop the labels and embrace yourself, it will be the greatest embrace you’ll ever receive!
Be well my friends,
PS: Take a mindful moment and really view something today. You’ll thank me.
― Carl R. Rogers