My garden is my very own kind of therapy, my little refuge and my link to the outside world. I haven’t mentioned this before but I suffer from an anxiety disorder which really makes me struggle to get outside. Before I was bitten by the gardening bug I was quite literally housebound which no amount of encouragement from family or friends could change. The anxiety knowing no bounds prevented me from even taking a little walk to the shop at the top of our road or venturing to sit on my doorstep.
Now a few years later after being infected by this gardening bug I find myself often winning this battle of wills with my anxiety. It’s still a struggle at times but my garden has the uncanny ability of getting me outside and enjoying every moment.
I still remember the day the bug hit; I was watching my hubby from the safety of the window laying heavy duty weed membrane down on our front part of the garden and laying stones on top of it. After slugging away at it for hours my husband came in for refreshments and we both stood looking out the window to the finished product below. We both agreed that the stones looked very bare and needed something to add character; my husband suggested a plant then he went up the town to buy one. He came back with a fuchsia and planted it on the top part of our new patch of gravel. Needless to say I thought it looked rather lonely so soon started scouring the net to buy more plants to keep it company.
On the day all the new plants arrived my husband was gobsmacked and set to work making holes in the membrane to put them in. I hovered at our door giving the occasional bit of advice until he got thoroughly fed up and told me to do it myself. Concerned about the welfare of our new green leaved investments I left the safety of the house ignoring as best I could the anxiety of going out and planted them up myself. Well I think you can guess what happened next; I enjoyed it so much that the rest is history.
Nowadays I’m actually eager to get out into the garden, anxiety and all. My therapists are so impressed by the change that they have made a point of making my task so far to get out into the garden as often as I can. I cannot emphasise enough how big a difference gardening has made to my life; my children and my husband have reaped the rewards. I happily wander about taking photos of the plants we have and any wildlife I happen come across. I even benefit from the exercise that digging, weeding, planting etc. brings. My children and I embark on little gardening projects together and I’m sure they enjoy having their mum outside with them instead of watching from a window. My garden has helped me more than anything else I’ve tried and I’m looking forward to embarking on a new type of therapy when I’m brave enough: an allotment. But, until then, my garden will do.