That Icing-On-The-Cake Kind Of Feeling

Things happen, and then there are sometimes subsequent things that happen to create that icing-on-the-cake kind of feeling.

Like one too many things happened to tip the scales.

The one that causes you to lapse into inertia.

Plants From The Nursery:

In That Icing On The Cake Kind Of Feeling, was the day I picked up these plants

The pots of hostas and coral bells are still sitting where I placed them on the patio day before yesterday.

Normally I’m anxious to get things planted. But I just go out and look at them and feel tired and a bit overwhelmed.

If all this wasn’t going on with my ankle and hip, I believe I would be moving forward at a faster pace. I would be able to think and plan and design.

But pain dulls everything, I’ve learned. Have you noticed that? It makes you feel dull and de-energized.

I thought if I purchased the plants just taking them home would make me feel better. Lighter.

Some of the plants just off my apartment patio


I remember what true depression feels like. It is the worst feeling I have ever had.

Since I went on antidepressants at age 26, the depression has always been kept at bay. Like I was placed inside an impenetrable fence where it couldn’t reach me.

I’ve felt down, sure, but something always catches me and lifts me back up to safety before I’ve fallen too far.

I’ve felt sadness, but not that tip-of-the-iceberg despondent feeling that scrambles your thoughts and confuses you.

Medication For Depression:

With the medication I take, I might stumble, but there is a cushion to soften my landing.

I’m not advocating antidepressants for everyone who feels sad. It might not work for you as it’s worked for me. I’m certainly not a clinician or expert.

For me, it’s like a safety vest. It helps to keep me afloat.

I remember clear as day when I felt the medication working and lifting me out of the abyss.

Oddly enough, I was at the grocery store waiting for the cashier to ring up my purchases.

Plants I've purchased to decorate my apartment patio

I’ll never forget it. It was as though someone suddenly turned on the lights. Like a miracle had just given me hope.

I stopped having those intrusive thoughts about death.

The month of April has been a detonating force that became even more complicated this time around.

But this too shall pass. It always does. It’s just getting there that’s hard.

But I will get there. My emotions will level out. Life will seem more balanced and enjoyable again.

In That Icing On The Cake Kind Of Feeling, it was the day I purchased these coral bells.

That Icing On The Cake Kind Of Feeling:

Social situations, situations where there’s a crowd of people, are always kind of difficult for me.

It’s hard for me to read people. I can’t look at someone’s face and know what their expression means. A person’s body language does not clue me in on what to do next.

Sometimes it feels as though pain is an inconvenience to those around me. A social faux pas of sorts. Something you could manage to hide if only you were stronger.

My hope is that whatever demons might be chasing you on this spring day, you manage to outrun them and get back to a safe place. Open the gate and get back inside that impenetrable fence of protection.

The tide will turn. I’ll join you there.

And springtime will feel like the joyous event that it is.


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  1. Life certainly goes in cycles, doesn’t it? The old “when it rains, it pours” feeling. But, as you say, things always do look up. Your pots of flowers look beautiful, even if you haven’t done exactly what you want to with them yet.

  2. Have you seen the large pump sprayers at the garden center. They are sold for fertilizer or weed killer. My friend uses one on her condo balcony garden to water her plants. She just fills it up every now and then as needed. Much larger than milk jugs. No lifting. Look into them.

    1. My husband has a couple of these that he uses in our small greenhouse when he doesn’t want to bring in the big hose. They work quite well and are easy to use.

  3. I think there are dates in the lives of most in our age group especially, that are difficult. Staying as busy as one can is helpful of course, but as we age and our bodies rebel, it is much harder to stay busy. One thing I do is write little notes and cards (usually picked up at the dollar stores)…and most go to those who never will respond because they are old and infirm. But sometimes they do call and profusely thank me. And also, if you don’t know anyone personally, there are always those whom we can write about…such as I would for sure write to the manager or owner of that nursery and tell them how much you were helped by the lady who got the wheelchair for you to sit in when you were in so much pain. You never know how much good such a note does for that person, but having worked retail…in a good store I can tell you such notes DO A LOT OF GOOD!! And too, the dates that are hard for me, if I can find a way for us to go somewhere, or even just plan to watch something online or a movie or maybe fix a new recipe to try out…or maybe go out to eat somewhere (when we still could) or order in something new to try out… Other days I planned them out to do anything that would distract, which used to be sewing or stitchery or even reading a new book (or a new old book that was used)…plan a full day for those sad days…you will still grieve…but maybe make some new good memories on that day too. I am so sorry for your pain…it is indeed the hardest thing to deal with…chronic pain that never seems to leave. I am sure the prayers of many here go up for you, Brenda. We all wish you the best. I feel you get lots of good advice here too…I would be trying to find a doctor who would get to the root of issues you have…holistic, functional medicine is something I would look into. Frankly I feel you have given your current docs plenty of time to help.

  4. Brenda, you have a lot going on. The loss of sweet Gracie, your pain, this is a lot. I am sorry that you are having a hard time, THANK GOD you have your friends, daughters and medication to help you. You are in my prayers Brenda.

  5. Chronic pain is definitely depressing. I am so sorry you’re going through this.

    People used to be reluctant to talk about mental health but the tides are finally turning, thank goodness. I don’t have depression but I do have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I managed it for years (not 100% – but doable) with with yoga, meditation, prayer, talking with friends, exercising, self-care, reading books on the subject, etc. But in the past year, it got particularly bad to the point where I was having panic attacks. After talking to my doctor and having a physical exam, we agreed that it’d be best for me to start taking a low-dose anti-depressant. I also started seeing a therapist. Turned out the medication wasn’t a good fit for me – I had some negative side effects – but I tried another one and I’ve felt good on it. I also only needed to see the therapist for a few months, though I know this isn’t the case for everyone. In other words, you have to do what helps YOU. It’s like having a toolbox filled with all kinds of tools and using the ones that are helpful in your particular case.

    My “bad” times of the year are coming up…Mother’s Day, Phil’s bday (end of July) and then September with Phil’s death anniversary.

  6. Brenda, I’m glad you are taking something for depression and anxiety. Especially right now during this most difficult time. I have arthritic joints–hands, knees and feet, primarily–but thankfully I am not in constant pain with them. I think that the pain you are in with your ankle sounds very debilitating and depressing and I don’t wonder at all that you are having a hard time coping with it. Especially since it is preventing you from doing the planting and gardening that you love and that gives you joy. All in all, I think you are coping quite well. You are able to see a bit beyond this valley you’re experiencing now to better days. And to focus on some of the positive aspects of your life. That tells me you will eventually come out of this
    difficult period okay.

    I do wish I had a solution for the issue of getting water to your plants on the patio. I think it would be worth talking to your management to see if they could somehow help with that. It can’t hurt; they may have a solution.

    Sending tho’ts of hope and love and healing energy. We are all rooting for you, girl!

  7. Nice post Brenda. Being a nurse I would see so many not want to take medication for depression. Almost like it was a failure on their part to get help from medication. I wish more people would look at depression as a disease just like blood pressure or diabetes. Sometimes it is a chemical imbalance and the medications can help with that. The biggest problem with medications for depression are what works for one might not work for another person. Talking to your doctor about how you feel and what is happening can help them decide which medication will work best. They also take time to kick in and work. Sometimes weeks so people can get frustrated. I am glad you talked about your experience to let others know that medications can help. Sometimes both medications and counseling together can give so many people such hope and relief. Kris

  8. It is always that “one more thing” that tips the scales when we are in our vulnerable place. That’s the way 2021 pretty much went for me and my passionate “good riddance” to that year was the pressure-release valve I needed. So very sorry things are in such a mish-mash for you Brenda and so hoping you can separate the issues to help reduce the unwelcome feelings of being overwhelmed. Not easy to do.
    Yesterday several mentioned the burden of “the heavy box”. My version is a bit different. I have multiple imaginary shoe boxes I fill and file on a very high imaginary shelf up in the left corner of an imaginary room. Owning and sorting my sorrows, troubles, hurts, disappointments etc. and filing away to a very high location somehow seems to help me. Yes, sometimes one of my imaginary boxes may vibrate off that imaginary shelf and fall, tumbling out the very real issue(s) that I may or may not need to revisit. But I do my best to take control, revisit if necessary and when I need to, I get out my tall, imaginary ladder and shove that box right back up in its place.
    Not trying to over-simplify anyone’s real-life challenges, just letting others know what seems to help me cope. One thing I learned the hard way last year was, telling myself “its just too much” was not an acknowledgment but the biggest disservice I could have ever heaped upon my overwhelmed self. Believe me, it didn’t help, only made me feel even more inadequate to the tasks I faced. And my body and soul, along w/ my mind was buying into it. Not what anyone ever wants. Until I re-centered and divided and filed, I was just frozen. Some things got filed until I could properly deal with them and amazingly, many have stayed in their box up on the shelf and for now, don’t bother me. Some seem to have sorted out on their own-I finally took my sail our of their wind.
    Take the very simple things and over-appreciate them. This is what helps me to re-center. Nature is the very best balm for this. Hang in there Brenda, we are all lifting you up, as we wait with you for for the better days that will come.
    And as a fallback to the 80’s or 90’s (don’t trust my memory folks) lets re-subscribe to that mantra of “don’t let the turkeys get you down”-unless of course, using the term “turkeys” is now also politically incorrect or deeply offends some people. To save time and angst, let me apologize right now-pardon me for my faux paus .

    1. I guess that’s why feelings get you into such trouble. They compete for attention, the things that still bother you, and you don’t know which one to deal with first.

  9. I agree with the other post. What do the other people do for water. Gallon water jugs are not too heavy to use for watering. Lifting them is really good for you.
    Depression is not easy to deal with. I think you going to see your new neighbors and their patios has been good for you. Your body does not know the difference in physical and mental pain. I think you are dealing with both. Take care.

  10. I too had been diagnosed with depression in my 30s. I can’t figure out my pain. It is here, there and every where and then sometimes nowhere. My finger joints are disfigured but no pain. Sometimes my get up and go just got up and went. Sunny days I seem to have more energy. So I just plod along doing a little at a time with well deserved breaks in between. It is great to be retired! Everyone enjoy your day!

  11. Brenda, I feel your sadness. For me, it’s October. And, like April, such a beautiful month in nature. I welcome gray November every year.
    Perhaps Steve could help get the plants planted. It’s tough getting the soil in the containers, I know.
    Hopeful for you – you will make it. So glad that you’re going out to a smaller nursery today.
    XO, Mary

    1. I actually didn’t stop at the smaller nursery today. I need to get the other things planted before I tempt myself with more. And being at the garden nursery is a real temptation for me.

  12. I’m so sorry your pain has continued. Your plants are gorgeous. How are the others getting water to their patio areas? If they have water sources then the apt. Mgmt should be able to put a source at or near your patio area. Shouldn’t be a big deal as your kitchen is there and they should be able to tap into the pipes there rather easily. The collapsible hoses are great, easy to handle and collapse to small. I think I sent a link to one I have on Amazon. If not let me know, as I love mine.
    Feel better as always positive thoughts sent your way.

    1. The kitchen is the farthest room from the patio. Apparently they’ve had issues with drainage, so I doubt they will provide another water source. Too expensive.

  13. I thought of something else…amazon has a nozzle one can fit to a faucet (kitchen) and then a hose to the nozzle…maybe a hose that stretches and then goes back into shape…
    Gardeners Supply sells them. Good Luck with your water problem.

    1. I checked into those. I emailed the company and sent them photos of the faucet to see if what they sold would work for me, but they never got back to me about it.

  14. Brenda, I agree with Ann E. In that your space is difficult to deal with, however, I really like how it looks. Do you still have your roll around sitting cart…maybe that would also help. Buy a pretty fountain like you had at your old place and start your fence a little at a time. I have too been on depressants for 20 years and it really helps, although, I have crying spells now and again, but not regularly. I am so sorry that you have chronic pain. I hope you find a solution soon. Your friend, charlotte

    1. Yeah, I still have that little cart. If not for that little rolling cart, I’d never be able to get down to the floor where Ivy’s litter box is to clean it.

  15. Sometimes there are things going on in life that will make anyone feel depressed. Thankfully, it eventually passes and life goes back to normal or we make adjustments.

  16. You’ll get there! You’ve taken the first step; you recognize and acknowledge exactly what’s happening. Just stay on the crazy roller coaster and soon it will come to an abrupt stop, and you’ll feel much better. April is almost over!!!
    In the meantime, try to focus on things that make you feel more content and peaceful. Maybe you need a new hobby. Something to keep your hands busy which keep your mind occupied. I have lots of suggestions, but I know you struggle with your hands. I’m aware of some things that may not be so difficult on your hands. Think about it.

    1. I think when I go for my hip treatment today I might visit a little nursery just down the road from it. It’s small and manageable for me I think. Those are the kinds of places I should shop at nowadays.

      1. Hi Brenda. This doesn’t have anything to do with the current post, but I’m just wondering how your friend Teri is doing. We have not heard anything about her recently unless I missed it. I know she injured herself and I’m hoping she’s doing better. Take care. Hope things get better for you soon as well.

  17. I think some of it has to do with the fact that you have a difficult area to work with. Your love of gardening pulls you through the tough, but now you also have gardening dilemmas. In all honestly, I’d hire someone to fix the space so you can plan your love, because your loves can pull you through!

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