Why Nature Is My Favorite Medicine

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My Wonderfully Human Emotions

Individualized mental health struggles are as unique and diverse as the humans in which they inhabit. Or maybe they’re not, who knows. All I know is that I have bipolar; a condition in which the highs are high and the lows are low, but no one ever talks about it.

They say the brain in a manic state lights up like fire the same way a brain does on cocaine. Impractically fixated on multiple tasks with burning desires, the human heart races at the speed of lightning. Endorphins dance in drenched sunlit euphoria coated by an ability to do anything and everything at once with not an inkling of possibility to halt any irrational decision conjured. Nothing can stop me. Nothing. Not my boss, or lover, or parent — I’m soaked in superpower emotions, living in a constant state of purple-prosed grandiosity. Sounds cool, right? No. It’s royally destructive.

Depression is a lonely concept that, thankfully, more people are starting to understand better. For me, it’s more or less a dark hovering cloud of ill-empathized existentialism than it is a feeling of deep sadness. Hardly do I feel like interacting with friends for long periods and much of the once-beautiful aspects of life seem utterly meaningless and forgetful. It’s a dreadful emotional experience that can often last for months — or years.

However, the bleeding aspect between the two polarized emotions that sheers a remedying capability seen by nothing else is, my friends, the pure, organic and mesmerizing sunshine. Leaves falling on the deck of my patio. The smell of fresh pine needles at the bank of a riverbed. The way the salty ocean water makes my hair more curly. It’s these little things that add up into one big therapy session.

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Connections with nature are biologically linked to happiness and ecological sustainability. So much, in fact, that our emotional depended-ness to the natural world is unique amongst other psychological links in our lives. When I feel connected to my natural home, Mother Earth, I’m increasingly more likely to live a sustainable lifestyle in support to environmental causes that educate and engage others with the natural world. Long forms of natural interaction, such as camping, put me through problem-solving challenges into where self-esteem and a sense of self-efficacy are profoundly improved. Moreover, while it’s true the most physical activities tend to decrease stress, nature tends to augment those impacts ten fold. I feel liberated.

Will zero intention of coming across crude with hippy, tippy jargon — I do mean everything I say. There is nothing more freeing, more rejuvenating that time spent in the outdoors; be it a mountain or a rocking chair on father’s back porch. There are multiple other resources in which I feed off to cope with this perfectly imperfect human disorder, too. I have my medication(s) readily on deck in the bathroom counter, and my therapist is, quite literally, my favorite human of all time. However, nothing compares what is felt in the forest or desert or jungle scraping the dirt from my fingertips.

There are days where all I can do is merely lay still in the warmest, sunniest places possible. Minimally clothed, sucking sweet nectar from seasonal fruits like a child fixated on their tiny popsicle. Sticky strains of pomegranate juice leaving collective stains on my fingertips, hardening by the sun. Those small blades of grass pricking my necks, shoulders, back, and thighs as I soak in the feeling of warmth hugging my eyelids. Light breeze, dirty knees, and a skimpy tee. Everything feels in place, you see. No matter the which of the two polarization my body threads itself to, my mind is quiet and my body still. Most importantly — I feel in control.

And it feels so damn good.