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06 October 2014

building happiness

I have Major Depressive Disorder.
Some of you already knew that. It's not a secret.

When my medication works: It's as though that gray cloud that's hanging over me, is just hanging there. It does not shrink or lift, but it does not rain, either. The medication removes the immediacy, the weight, of Depression, but does nothing to fill that void with happiness, or with anything at all. The happiness I must work for.

That work involves building my home into a sanctuary, a place a feel a strong, healing connection with. I am an animist, and I feel strongly the flows of energy around me. All things have a spirit, an energy; this is the basis for my connection with my home, once it is built. This is also the way I heal best. Without my sanctuary - without a place I can go that is a safehaven, a shelter from all the hurt out there in the world - I am ungrounded. Being ungrounded unnerves me, and makes me unhappy. I learned this very recently.

When I moved into a new house at the end of August, I knew it would be tough. I did not know the move would send me into one of the most difficult depressive episodes I have experienced in recent memory. I figured out fairly soon (mid-move) that the episode was connected to the move. I thought it was just the change. The stress. The challenges. A normal reaction to a difficult time for anyone, but especially for someone with MDD (or other mental illnesses, I'm sure).

Perhaps a week ago, I had a particularly bad night. In the worst depths, I began writing down my thoughts. Understand that my thoughts when I'm in the grip of Depression are not reliable in the details, but they often reveal the underlying trigger(s) for that particular event. In this case, the thought that came out was clear: I miss my home, I wrote. I miss the safety, the sanctuary of my little house.

Just a few mornings ago, a conversation with Archer - my soulfriend - clarified my feelings for us both. I needed to feel the connection I'd had with my old house; I needed to build that connection with my new house. Without it, I feel like a stranger usurping the space within this building, intruding in the house's domain. So I will build a relationship with my new house.

This is the work of happiness.

It includes a list of things to do: hanging the rest of the pictures and art, organizing the bathroom drawers, sweep up the already-accumulating dog hair, et cetera.

It includes organizing my container garden in its new home.
A gift came from an unexpected new friend, just after our unexpected move. It was a wormwood plant, an herb sacred to Hel. It's thriving in the sunlit porch of this house. 

It also includes a ritual of bonding, in which I will introduce myself to the house-spirit, and entrust it with the protection of my self and my family. Together, the house-spirit and I will ward this space, while I weave my roots to its anchored beams. I will ground myself in this home, and create a sanctuary of it. Then, I will welcome my gods to join this bond: Sretya, who holds the luck of homes; Hel, who keeps truth and order in life and death; Bast, who brings joy to those who wait; and Odin, who guides the steps of wisdom-seekers. My altar will be built, and my guardians will be placed.

I will come home.


  1. Dealing with depression is tough. I've recently crawled my way out of a major episode. You already know that the only person who can truly help is yourself. But know also that there are others who understand and care.

  2. Wow. Excellent post. I relate very much, especially in the need to craft my surroundings into a sanctuary. May your rituals bring peace and your home, happiness.