Thursday, September 11, 2014

Duck Therapy

Some of my favorite people are affected by depression. It claws at them, dragging them down into a dank swamp of despair. It clouds their minds with thoughts that they aren’t good enough, they aren’t significant, that no body cares, because why would anyone ever care about them anyway? Depression doesn’t just suck the joy out of their lives, it makes them believe that they really weren’t worthy of joy to begin with. It gnaws away at their hopes and dreams, the happy memories, the good parts of life, leaving them hollow. Feeling like a shadow rather than a person.

Don’t mind me, I’m just going to curl up in the darkness.
I don’t expect anyone to care or notice, just go on with your lives.

My struggles with depression have always felt situational. When my girls were ages 4, 17 months, and 6 weeks of age the midwife asked, “Are you feeling depressed?”
“Nothing a few good nights of sleep wouldn't help,” I responded
(It would be at least another decade before I returned to a goodnight of sleep stage of life.)

The last few years have intensified our family’s financial challenges. When dark thoughts swirl in my mind I think, “It’s nothing a week of vacation and financial stability wouldn't help.”

When my introvert soul is worn thin from living all.the.time with four other people, and being the emotional support person for four other people overwhelms me, I tell myself, “It’s nothing three days alone wouldn’t help.”

I get more sleep now, but financial stability and time alone are still hard to come by. We have never gone on a week long vacation just as a family.

As my girls say, “The struggle is real"
The struggle is real  A (generally) ironic saying often used in place of the saying,"first world problems." Has slightly more urban undertones than "first world problems." Denotes a situation where the user wishes to express that they are encountering some sort of undesirable difficulty, but dealing with it. With irony, it has a comical effect of dramatizing a non-critical, yet undesirable situation.  (From the Urban Dictionary)  

But, I have ducks!
Which seems like a non sequitur, so let me explain.

When life becomes too much it can be helpful to escape for a little while. Escapes include things like going on vacation, getting a pedicure or massage, eating out at nice restaurants or going on a retreat.  All of those escapes are beyond my means, but I have ducks.

This summer we were given three ducklings. Having ducks has been pure therapy for me. When I'm stressed out, exhausted, feeling discouraged or needing a break I go outside and watch the ducks. They are silly little creatures who get excited about fresh water in their "pond" and try to eat the water spraying from the sprinkler. When they run the sound of their feet slapping the ground is adorable. When I’m inside, and the windows are open, they call to me and we talk back and forth until I go outside for a visit.

Outside! The ducks get me outside. The last few summers I have had health issues that left me with little energy for yard work or outdoor activities. I stayed inside a lot, and yet I have always been happiest outside. Having ducks means going outside to clean out the water dishes. It means being physically active as I rake up the yard or change their bedding. The ducks have encouraged me to be more active while helping me get more Vitamin D.

The ducks have also given me a reason to get up every morning bright and early, because poultry don't sleep in and their present house is a dog crate that's really too small. I feel guilty if I don't get up and let them out ASAP. And once I’m up and outside, wandering the yard in my bathrobe, getting out of bed was totally worth it. I open the ducks’ door and they waddle past me with enthusiastic quacks. They run laps around the yard, flapping their wings with joy.

I have decided that ducks are the toddlers of the poultry family. But they are all the good parts of toddlers, along with the need to put everything in their mouths. They are the splash in the puddle, chase the butterfly, look at the world through bright and curious eyes parts of toddlers.

People warned me that I should not get ducks. “Ducks are messy!” I was told.
Well of course they are!
If you expect ducks to be quiet, stay out of the mud, and not make messes,
then you are expecting them not to be ducks.
It’s the same with toddlers, and I like toddlers.
Some people think having ducks in your backyard sounds a little crazy,
but for me it is sanity.
My ducks are my therapy.

If you need duck therapy but don’t want to deal with the messy parts follow my blog,
Dobby the Duck: Your Daily Dose of Duck  and follow my daughter’s tumbler and don't forget to "like" Dobby The Duck on facebook.

If you are so inclined, you can help support my duck therapy with a donation to:

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