What Is Therapeutic?

What Is Therapeutic?

The dread of springtime is upon me for one thing….gardening. I don’t know what it is but it stares at me with its imposing presence, commanding me it needs to be tendered to. I am not sure where this comes from as when a child, I used to jump at the chance to help Mum in the garden. Well, most of the time. As I have got older, the chores obviously don’t become easier, but all the same, not ‘un-doable’.


The Fear and Loathing

When I look back which I do occasionally, it fills me with humour and also distresses to what I could’ve achieved if I were of a sane mind. I remember living at Grove Mead and I had decided to decorate the living room. I was having a moment where I wanted to install a theme of the Mediterranean throughout the downstairs of the house. The set up was the living room was large, with the hall through to the kitchen, and then onto the back room and finally the garden.

So, with this in mind, I set about the colours that would suit the idea, including the paint and wallpaper (wallpaper was a thing, back in the day!). So after much work and stress; cursing and ripping things apart, it was done. Completed with my own fair hand. After the final piece of the jigsaw was placed upon the wall, I sat back with a can of well earned Stella Artois, and viewed my work. After some deliberation, I realised something wasn’t sitting right and it wasn’t until an hour or so later that there was one piece I had hung which was upside down!

Moving on, I was asked to paint a ceiling in my ex’s mum’s house and I did so when they had all gone out. The setting was great as the music was on, I was alone and happy that I had the time to chill while doing something relatively easy. You would think that it went ok but to be honest, it wasn’t until everybody had returned home, that I realised that I had painted the ceiling using gloss paint!



As you may be able to see, DIY has never really been my strong point. I guess all confidence is drained of you if you are a sufferer with mental health issues of some sort. One thing that I remember a mate saying to me was that he found gardening a very therapeutic experience and enjoyed doing it on a regular basis.

I tried to see the value in this statement as my past attempts suggest nothing other than stress and mistakes! But I suppose you live and learn as we are not all experts at everything we do.

So, as recently as yesterday, I decided to test the theory out and headed into the garden. The feeling of apprehension was there, the mistakes that were waiting to be realised and not wanting to do the manly task of the garden. The sun was lovely and warm so in true ‘chavvy’ style, my shorts were on and the top was off, raring to go!


The lawnmower ready, the shears, clippers, spade all in hand and I began. Falling into a world of what seemed a strange silence, peaceful time at one with nature. Even the whirring sound of the mower couldn’t distract me from the enclosed bubble I found myself in. I was noticing the wildflowers that were in the garden, the sound of the birds, conversation, laughter, building work, cars, aeroplanes flying above. All this noise was compounded into a transient state of mind. The concentration on doing what I was doing was great. There were no distractions and my mind was free from the usual turmoil that inhabits it.



The distraction from the world, while living in its every sound was weirdly brilliant! I mowed and clipped and dug and raked and inspired me so much that I had to listen to an album which had escaped my memory for as much as twenty years. The Brand New Heavies were the band of choice and they really made the day complete. The relaxing style of music they play, in my opinion, took me back to a nice place were I always listened to my music. It soothed me. It helped me. It was my friend, my release.

I never realised how much music is a part of my life, and how it makes me happy. It is something that going into the second half, I want to experience it again. Going to see live music, being a part of the ‘scene’ not because I want to be young again but more than that. The feeling it gives me of peace and wonder that so many inspiring people are able to learn and play instruments that bring music to us, in tune, and give us lyrics that we ponder – an insight into how the minds of others are feeling. We are not alone. Maybe it is their release too?


The Aftermath

After the gardening, I decided that the car needed doing too but after that, I was knackered. At the stage of can’t do ‘anything’ tired. The type of feeling you get when you are not feeling your best and want to stay in bed all day. But off to the shower, I went, feeling sick and with a banging headache. I had the shower complete with the cold water therapy I am enjoying and headed downstairs to relax. Well, to fall asleep, albeit for fifteen minutes.

Thinking back, I enjoyed it. Not to the point where I will be an avid gardener, but it is something that I will embrace at my pace. This got me thinking that you should immerse yourself into the things you like, but even if you have the feeling of dread in doing something, do it anyway. It might surprise you, and it could be therapeutic.


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