Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Clouds Parted, and For a Moment the Sun Shone Through

As those of you who read my last post are aware, I've been struggling recently with a bout of depression.  Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and supportive comments - it is good to be reminded that first, you are not alone, and second, that the things you create and put out there into the universe do have an impact on others' lives.

This is not a new struggle for me; it's one I've been engaged in since high school.  Fortunately, my particular brain chemistry responds well to pharmaceutical intervention and most of the time, I like to think I am participating in life in a pretty stable and positive way.  But every so often, my brain reminds me that the chemicals are out of whack, and there isn't much to do but wait till the clouds pass.  Depression is a strange thing - when you are in the middle of it, you are certain you will never feel any better, and you can't remember what it feels like to feel better, and when it passes (if you are one of the lucky people for whom it passes), you can't remember how horrible it felt when you were in it.

I am blessed to have a few close friends who provide distraction and support when it's needed.   My  friend Heather suggested that we take advantage of the glorious weather this weekend by having a picnic in one of the city's many parks. 

We found a lovely spot with some sun and shade in Springbank park along the bank of the river.

We packed one of my grandmother's old quilts and a small feast that included a bottle of white wine, and although I shouldn't probably be drinking alcohol right now (it is a depressant), we took secret delight in imbibing in a public park (please don't report us). 

We also brought reading material - for me, a book by Erik Larson that I found at a thrift store.  I had enjoyed his previous book, The Devil in the White City, so thought I'd try another.  After all, who can resist a "ripping yarn of murder and invention"?
*I'm two thirds of the way through, and sad to say, not finding it very "ripping", although I am learning a lot about Marconi, and the invention of the wireless telegraph.

It was warm enough to get out my favourite pair of fancy summer pants, which happen to go quite nicely with my purple plaid converse. 

There are moments when you are lying on your back in the grass, staring up at the sky in silence broken only by bird song, that it seems all is right with the world.

For the first hour or so that we were there, this solitary goose stood on a rock in the middle of the river, honking plaintively.  We felt rather sorry for him, as it seemed he had not found a mate when all around him pairs of geese were shepherding groups of goslings around the park.  

I'd like to send a special thank you to the ladies of my St. Louis Fan Club (which I did not know existed), who describe themselves as "a bunch of little old ladies who are rubbish with computers". They asked their "younger friend, Miss K" send me an email on their behalf telling me how much they enjoy my blog and that they hoped I was feeling better soon.   I was moved to tears by their  sweet and thoughtful message, and felt very privileged that this group of women who absolutely LOVE Vix (and who doesn't), now include my blog in their list of favourites.


  1. Love reading your blog and seeing what clever and stylish things you put together. I live in Australia and I really love that as you are rugging up for winter we are sweltering and now as you enjoy the summer we begin to rug up. Take care, your blog and musings are a real treat and I hope you are back, and well soon.

  2. From reading the comments on your last post, and just from personal experience, I know that depression is sadly all too common. You know it too, of course, but that doesn't necessarily help when you are in the thick of it. I have been thinking about you often, Shelley, and hoping that things are improving. Days like the one you spent with Heather in the park are very therapeutic. Simple, quiet pleasures. And such lovely images from your excursion too. I think an illicit glass or two of wine was probably just the ticket, despite its depressant qualities, and the company of a dear friend, good food, singing birds, a lonely goose and beautiful sunshine will all help you on your way back to equilibrium.
    Those St Louis ladies are fabulous! Of course they love you - we all do! xxxx

  3. I love your blog too ... always read but don't always get a chance to comment! It's always good to do a bit of secret imbibing in public! Hope you're feeling chipper again soon ...
    M x

  4. The St Louis gang make me smile every time they send an email, I just love them. Glad they're sending their cheeriness to you, too.
    What a lovely day you spent with Heather, that food and the setting are just magical.
    I've just abandoned a book I've been labouring with for over a week. Life's too short to read boring stuff.
    Feel brighter soon. xxxxxx

  5. How cool is that? Little old ladies cheering you up. The power of the internet. It's not all negativity and porn.

    Glad you are getting out to enjoy some of this great weather. Just sunshine on your face should be helpful I would think after having gone 7 months without it.


  6. You write so beautifully about depression, Shelley, and I'm sorry you've been having a bout with the Black Dog. The day in the park sounds like just the right remedy. Esp. the secret wine drinking. xox

  7. Oh My Shelley i didn't know that you were so down, hope the medication kicks in soon and you will feel better- I had depressions too, thank god for the medication and i also went to a psychotherapist, it helps a lot - TG you have fa few close friends who can take of you and cheer you up-
    The St-Louis Ladies? how cute is that? No wonder you are one of their fav blog, you have such a fabulous style and are so adorable Shelley!

    I'm doing lots and lots better, such a relief, health is the most important thing!

    Take care of yourself Shelley - I'm worried now!



  8. I do hope this weekend had some happy moments from these photos I'm going with yes! I love a bit of nature to get me out of business in my head. Your friend had a great suggestion! I love what I see of those pants and I am a chuck girl too, those are ace!
    The St. Louis ladies have excellent taste, do you think that will be use in another 40 years? I hope so!
    Lots of love

  9. Ahh, what an ideal setting for a picnic with a good friend. Reminding me I don't get outside enough...hmmm. And the meal, scrumptious. Plus the bit of you all summery in purple print. Everything looks beautiful. At least your in it, with it. Hope you're feeling it too. If not now, soon.

  10. All kindest thoughts to you, dear Shelley. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing this good-for-the-soul day.

  11. A blog St. Louis Fan Club? I'm sure they're just part of a huge network of fan clubs of little old ladies (slightly more mature women) who read your blog and think, I used to be cool like her, or, I wish I used to be cool like her.

    Glad to hear you're feeling a little better. Baby steps are the way to get to a more level plain, and a picnic in the sun sounds like a lot of nice, gentle baby steps. I love the photo of your pant legs and sneakers!

  12. Hugs to you, Shelley! Here's to peace and quiet in nature to soothe the soul. I've received emails from the St. Louis ladies as well - aren't they dears?

  13. Lovely to get out into the natural world and relax as often as possible. You are really lucky to have dear friends close by to help with the support you need. Feel better and better, hon'!


  14. “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” Donna Roberts

    We're all singing for you, Shelley...

    1. Thank you Margy! I wasn't familiar with that quote, but it is lovely, and very appropriate at the moment.

  15. This is a beautiful post. I am glad you are holding on and that you have a lovely friend to share such a wonderful day with. The St Louis Ladies sound lovely! You don't know me, but I have lurked on your blog for awhile and enjoy it very much. You are unique and inspiring and it's no wonder so many blog people love you. Take good care of yourself.

  16. such a delightful picnic with friends, it's a great idea to enjoy some sunshine and city parks, and you're wearing Really fancy pants and they Really match your cute converse, so lovely!
    wishing you a lot of friendship under the sun!!
    besos & salud

  17. Been fighting the same fight as you, and the effort is worth it. Godspeed.

  18. I was just writing you an email and thought I should drop by here first. I'm glad you and Heather could hang out at the park on such a lovely sunny day with a quilt and a feast and awesome summery pants. To do this much is a triumph, but I hope that soon this depression will pass. Thinking of you. Warmest hugs.

  19. Thank you for sharing your struggles with depression. It affects many, and your descriptions help those of us who have experienced the same symptoms. Wishing you a return to perfect health!

    Exquisite photos of a picnic in the park. Your fancy summer pants scream summer and brighter days ahead.

  20. What a terrific post. Heather is an amazing friend. While logic doesn't always work at times like these, we hope this reminds you how much you are loved. And 3 cheers to the St. Louis Ladies!
    Jean & Valerie

  21. In general when we are sick we cannot imagine feeling well again, and as soon as we recover it's hard to relate to how we felt when we were ill. I guess it helps us get through life. A disadvantage is that healthy people often have a hard time relating to people who feel differently.

    Hope u ll feel better soon and a big hurray to anti-depressants!

    Your day out sounds sweet!

  22. Hey there,

    I know you are struggling. And I wanted to let you know that there are those of us out here, feeling for you and hoping that you come around again soon. I check your blog every day to see if there are any changes or anything out of the ordinary. Although I am sure you already have a host of friends to weather the storm with you, just know there are tons out here cheering you on and wanting you to get better. Take care of yourself :)

  23. Grandma's old quilt, fancy pants and a sunny day in the park. Magic.

  24. You are an amazing writer and that's probably why you have so many friends all over the world. I hope you get well soon.