Gardening for Mental Stability
This concept may sound strange at first but if you will bear with me you may get the point I am driving at.
I had a hip replacement that became infected about 12 years ago.
To fight this infection I had to have around eight operations cutting deep into my hip.
The doctor put me under the knife with anesthesia 8 times in a span of two years.
Every time I went back to see the doctor he would say “We still have a problem”
One time he installed a new mechanical hip joint that was packed with antibiotics.
Another time he cut my hip wide open and left it like that for a week with moisture-sucking sponges and gauze trying the suck the infection out of the hip and surrounding tissue.
After one day the nurse and doctor would peel away to old infected gauze and replace it with new sterile gauze.
The gauze was left on my tissue for 24 hours and had already started to adhere to the muscle and tissue, so by pulling it off, it would hurt so bad I would scream.
Nothing worked, even with all the antibiotics that they were pumping into me.
They even connected me to intervenes tube directly to my heart to take the antibodies more easily without beating up my veins.
As a last resort, the doctor placed me in a hyperbaric chamber every day for two weeks except on weekends.
I suffer from claustrophobia to some degree and putting me into this big glass tube for 2 and half hours at a time, really did a number on me.
Sometimes they would have to give me an injection to calm me down before I would go in the tube.
When it is all said and done, I think the hyperbaric chamber save my life even though I hated it.
Eventually, the doctor had to cut 4 inches of my femur bone off my right leg which made me disabled.
I now have to permanently use a four-wheel walker to get around.
I tell people that I am 6’4” tall on my left side and just 6’ on my right.
I also have a 4-inch lift on my right shoe.
In the course of all these different procedures, I became very depressed.
So depressed all I could see was black even on the brightest day.
I was contemplating suicide. My wife, Monica saved my life.
She called for help and I was placed in a hospital overnight and then into a suicide care facility for two weeks.
In the end, the doctors at the facility said I was suffering from having anesthesia put into my body so many times in such a short period that it really did some adverse effects on my brain.
They called it situational depression.
After all these years I still fight depression to some degree.
I was a professional photographer before this all happened to me but I knew I could no longer do that.
I went back to school at Junior college for a Graphic Arts Degree. Going to school kept me busy for three years even though it was only a two-year curriculum.
Taking Creative writing and website design was also something I learned in addition to my regular classes.
Why not, the government was paying for it with my disability grant.
To keep depression at bay you need to keep yourself busy with meaning full of endeavors in your life.
Focusing on something bigger than yourself.
I swim laps on a regular base, write articles for a Christian Apologetic blog and interview different people for a podcast origination.
One of the things that I have discovered in the last year that gives me so much enjoyment is growing a vegetable garden.
I have always loved growing vegetables in my life but never had a chance to do it as much as I would have liked.
My mother was BIG time vegetable gardener on her property in both Illinois and Minnesota and she taught me a lot.
In Minnesota, she lived on a lake and would have water pumped from the lake to the garden.
Wonderful nutrients came from the lake.
She also had friends that had a chicken farm so once a year she would have them bring a dump truck full of chicken dropping to fertilize her vegetables.
My mom had the best garden anyone had ever seen.
She would can and freeze all the produce that she grew.
I do not live on a lake now and have a disability that keeps me from bending down too far but my wife and I decided to grow a raised garden in the back of our house.
We live in Arizona. So we have lots of sunlight which is a good thing.
You can sometimes have too much of a good thing so we are thinking of using a big shade tent to cut down on the sun in the summer and the heat.
We can grow two gardens a year here in the desert if planned out correctly.
I love starting the garden with seedlings that we purchase at Burpee Seed Company but you can always find good seeds or transplantable plants at a garden store, Lowes or Home Depot.
The baby sprouts springing up from the dirt is amazing and helps me to think of God’s creation and miracle of life.
We had many packing containers when we moved that we bought at Home Depot to carry all our clothes and dishes.
Monica and I were wondering what we were going to do with them after the move.
As it turns out, they make perfect containers for a raised garden.
I also use one or two containers for producing compost. Black gold as they call it.
Composting was the first thing I started.
Adding soil from a bag that we would purchase at Home Depot and then once a week add kitchen scraps, minus the meat, and flip the soil.
I use a bacteria accelerant to help break down the scraps faster and add water and keep the soil moist to speed up the process.
Composing is an art form all by itself but it really pays to do it.
This year my wife and I decided to grow a vertically raised garden.
That means you use lots of support to help the plants grow vertically and keep them off the ground.
This technique helps to grow three times as many vegetables as if you did not.
We are experimenting with different ideas.
I purchased bamboo rods from Amazon that I use for support. Some we make into a teepee and others we make a grid depending on the vegetable you are growing and how tall they may grow.
As the temperature begins to heat up in the valley of the sun, we have water more often.
I also add some extra nutrients in the way of hard fertilizer that I spread all around the top of the soil around the plants.
Every time you water, it brings more nutrients down to the plant’s roots.
As you can see, the process of having a garden really helps me take my thoughts off myself and think about growing life and enjoying the process of how it all works.
God is good and has miracles happening all around us.
These little miracles are sure good to eat.
Fresh produce and knowing you grew them makes them taste all the sweeter.
My mental stability is also the sweeter in the end.
Gardening for Mental Stability
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