A collection of plants and planting material.

How Plants Became Part of My Therapy

What are your ideas of self-care? Or what therapy do you use to help relieve your mind from your symptoms? What’s a certain thing that reminds you to feel human again?

I’ve been pretty sick for the last few months with several different illnesses all playing a tricky part in my physical and mental health. I think it’s important to talk about and the only way it will become the norm is to talk about it.

Staying busy with chronic illness

So I went on a journey. I’ve been an athlete or participated in some sort of organized sports activity for the majority of my life. It took me until I became ill to realize I hadn’t really been good at doing something alone. Since I've had several hospitalizations in the last year, I haven’t been able to work out, swim, or keep any kind of exercise schedule. Since I found myself going to therapy, I realized I needed to find a hobby to try and keep me occupied and interested in what I’m doing.

Finding distractions

One day I came across an idea for a raised garden on a crafting website and though my thoughts may have gotten widely out of hand inside my head, it gave me a goal for something to take my mind off the pain and anxiety of being sick.

Being frugal

I have a pretty limited income, so this project didn’t cost much, which was obviously a huge plus. I did my research pretty thoroughly and ended up finding some websites where I was able to get some cheaper options. I had to think really carefully about what I intended to plant inside and/or out because I have animals. To my surprise, there are actually subscription boxes for them. “There’s an app for that!” - truly!

Chaos of a chronic illness

So every day since I’ve planted my garden, I’ve gotten up and checked to see if things are progressing. I realize it’s not a huge responsibility, but I live in a house with curious, tiny, dirty little paws. I also live in a very cold environment (midwest) and don’t get a ton of sunlight. So I knew this project could be a total disaster. But I realized many times, it was much like my journey with illness. Some days I’ve woken up to succulents on the floor. Some mornings nothing has been touched and the only thing that touches the cart is me!

Gardening with migraine

I’ve enjoyed getting some plants in the mail and look forward to feeling well enough to make trips to the store for the “good” soil without having to think about it or plan it.

I can’t wait to convert my tiny, home-started garden into a few raised beds and planted outside my windows. It’s giving me other goals to keep in mind besides the goals I have with my care team and appointments I might have that week.

Finding peace with hobbies

Not into gardening, but have a knack for something that will get you outside in the spring/summer, if you can tolerate it? Collect some bigger rocks and create a rock garden. Complete it with funny gnomes, pretty solar lit lights and fun piece of decor.

What other herbs or plants do you plant each year that you look forward to getting to? Do you do your hobby with other people? Alone? What motivates you about it and most importantly, how does it affect you positively and lead you into your day not as a patient, but as a person?

PS - For the most part, things are still green - which I hear is a positive sign!

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