Nature is a natural anti-depressant

IMG_6220I read a fascinating article at Tales from the Conspiratum about research coming out of McMaster University on the effects of anti-depressants on our brain’s ability to cope with stress.

It doesn’t make depression better. In fact, it could be making it worse, suggests Wade Hemsworth, author of the article from the McMaster University Daily news, “The Science behind commonly used anti-depressants seems to be backwards”. 

It’s an interesting read that suggests for people suffering from the most common forms of depression, SSRIs might actually be an obstacle on their path to recovery.

Nature, writes Tales from the Conspiratum, is still the best anti-depressant.

It is one of the challenges of depression. That which is healthy, healing and natural for recovery is also that which takes energy. And energy is not high on the list of things to expend when depression is clouding every thought, breath and feeling.

Had I gone to a doctor and been diagnosed when in the depths of a relationship that was killing me, I might have been prescribed anti-depressants.

I had no energy. My thinking was dark. I had constant suicidal thoughts. I had little to no belief in getting out of the relationship alive. Every joint, muscle, cell of my body hurt. I would awake in the morning and wonder if I didn’t have some incurable disease because it hurt so much to move out of the bed. I hoped I did. That would put an end to my misery.

And then, he was arrested and I was given the miracle of getting my life back.

Overnight, my bones stopped aching, my joints stopped hurting. When I walked, my hands were no longer clenched tight into fists. My gait was no longer stiff.

Yes, suicidal thinking still clouded my mind, but not every moment.

Without the poison of his abuse feeding me lies about my worth and my right to live, I could see clearly that without him, I had only one task, to heal so that my daughters could heal too.

It became my sole purpose in life. To do whatever it took to ensure my daughters knew, what happened to me had nothing to do with my lack of love for them. I knew as teenagers they could easily translate my disappearance into ‘I am not loveable’ and I could not let that happen. They had to know they are loveable exactly the way they are.

At the time, I remember believing what happened had everything to do with a lack of love for myself. In retrospect, miles from those dark days and nights of wishing to die and feeling like I already had, I can see that it was never about love, always about abuse.

What happened to me had everything to do with being in an abusive relationship.

Once the abuser was gone, I was free to fall in love all over again with me, myself and I. The depression that had clogged every fibre of my being began to lift as I began to see clearly, without him I had peace of mind.

I was blessed. I was in a time and space, surrounded by the loving support of my sister and her husband, to heal without fear. Everyday I would walk in the woods with Ellie the wonder pooch and breathe in freedom, exhale sadness. I would look up into the trees and see the limitless possibilities of the sky above and know, in freedom from abuse I could do anything.

I didn’t take an anti-depressant. I took nature’s natural gifts and breathed deeply into all she had to offer to help me heal. I was surrounded by beautiful seascapes, mountains soaring to the sky in rain-forested glory. Wrapped in nature’s embrace, beneath the sky and wind, beside the ocean, amidst the trees and wind-swept vistas of Vancouver’s north shore, I found the one thing I savoured and needed most, freedom.

Being in an abusive relationship is depressing. Staying in one is nullifying.

For a long time I couldn’t see that there was only one thing in the world that could change the sadness and fear that permeated my being throughout that relationship, and that was to walk away.

And then I did.

I had a lot of help and I am grateful. Walking away from abuse into living life beyond the edges of my fear has been a great gift. I don’t look back to remind myself of what he did. I look back to remind myself that that was then, this is now. And now is the gift of time to live with peace of mind, a joyful heart and restful soul.

And now is the time to walk in nature and give thanks for all her beauty shimmering in the air I breathe.



23 thoughts on “Nature is a natural anti-depressant”

  1. LG,

    I’ve not read that study – but I am familiar with your story. I’m familiar with mine. I’ve listened a number of times to Martin Seligman’s TedTalk … and subsequent bits of his – I ‘ve learned that ‘feeling better’ is incremental. It comes in large chunks, but rarely. Little bits. Light comes in shards and bursts. Lift comes in how we react to little bits and big bursts. Sometimes those things give us energy rather than sapping it …


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nature has always been the best way to sooth my soul, even when I was young and didn’t realize it. I was in an abusive relationship for a couple of years, thank god no longer than that. But it draws you into a world that is dark, and not a place anyone should be, As I sit here this morning and listen the birds, and the coyotes sing, I am happy to be in nature, And lucky that I can be.


  3. I recently watched a documentary that extolled the value of being in nature – it was very scientific and very interesting. Louise I am so glad that you got out of an abusive relationship and that once you did, you could focus on healing.

    But what happens to those who suffer depression that is not necessarily coming from an outside source? They can’t physically separate themselves from a poison-spitting abuser. But what if they could get a break from their own harsh, judgmental inner voices, their internal abusers? What’s the best way to facilitate that? I do not have a clue what it’s like to have chronic depression. But I, too, worry about medication being the first go-to.

    A thought-provoking post!
    Diana xo


    1. That was why I put the comment on ‘most common forms of depression’ in italics. I didn’t at all want to suggest that deep seated depression is the same. I so appreciate how you wrote of the self-poison-spitting abuser. That is incredibly powerful Diana — like you, I am not prone to chronic depression. Mine was all situational/all life circumstantial. My mother has been depressed much of her life — and I have learned that compassion is the only answer. Much love to you my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Louise,

    I have always felt the healing power of Mother Nature…it reveals itself only when we spend some time in her lap. It can soothe, calm down anxieties and anger and inspires us to absorb the light of the sun to glow with love, look at the clouds to understand the darker hues and then admire the rainbow just after the clouds have quenched the thirst…the flowers, the fall, the snowflakes carry a profound lesson only if we have the heart to feel their bliss.

    Thanks for sharing such a thought provoking post.


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