I’ve become an avid and loving plant mom. At first I thought it was a new joyous hobby, but then I began to see this hobby as another outlet for escape. I developed an addiction for finding new plants, pots, seeds, and was trying to buy any chic or cheap plant related thing. I tried saving plants on the sale rack from imminent death. I bought plants online and through Facebook groups. After work on the way home I would route my drive to visit local plant shops and see what might be new or on sale.
Once I saw what I was doing, I started mariekondo-ing my plants. I was selling the plants that gave me more headache than joy. You try new things for a period of time and see if it works for you until it doesn’t. Then you move on with the knowledge of what kind of person you want to be. I didn’t give up on gardening but I reined it in and reflected.
I decided to be a more practical kind of plante person. Even though I love tropical plants, my climate does not allow for these humidity lovers. One or two have adapted luckily, but I gave away, sold or traded the others that didn’t do so well with me.
In letting go, I reflected on the addiction. Buying brought me that flitting moment of joy, so I was seeking and seeking and seeking for those moments. But really what am I so unhappy with that I need to seek for these moments? As I found out last year, I am unhappy with myself. Why? From years of criticism, controlling and manipulation from my childhood. Negative, self deprecating beliefs that are hard to break. Feeling unworthy and unfulfilled. When I acknowledged the roots of my addiction, the buying slowed and then stopped. I still am cleaning out and selling plants, reflecting on which ones bring me the most joy and why.
My addiction travels from one hobby to the next. Whether it’s video games, plants, or scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, I see myself looking for that escape. Escaping from the tiny voice inside me that thinks I’m not good enough. I seek attention from Don or my friends so that I don’t have to face the internal pressure to do more or be more than I am. I constantly listen to podcasts so that I feel like I am learning and doing as much as I can with every moment of every day. I used to walk through CVS looking for a cheap treat or junk food to buy. Today I spend at least 2 hours a day on my phone just scrolling or playing mindless games.
This isn’t the first year I’ve faced this part of myself and tried to work on it. My coaching program exposed the deepest parts of those negative beliefs and I’ve tried to address them with self-love. With more trips to spas and girls nights out. With time off to do nothing and allowing myself to enjoy food or gifts or love. Allowing myself to receive without having to give back to anyone in return. All these things have helped but I’ve finally humbled myself to the idea that I need more help than what I can give myself.
Last weekend I signed up for an app called BetterHelp. It’s an online talk therapy platform and was recommended by Oprah. One thing I’ve come to realize through my career and this journey is that there is no substitute for the help of a professional. Yes it costs money, but I can’t do everything myself – no matter what I was taught to believe. And when you get good professional help, your life gets better.
Is therapy going to solve everything? No, but in this journey to happiness, I need to try it and see how it will help me. I’m hoping that in 6 months I will have less moments of depression and more moments of joy and seeing a bright future.