Up against a wall? Chomping at the Bit?
Feel the 4 walls closing in?
Are You Stalled?
How to deal with confinement, of the human or equine variety.
I think we all have experienced the feelings of confinement or inactivity. Humans may experience it more as an emotional feeling rather than physical. Horses are built in every fiber of their being to be moving and interacting in a herd. Maybe us too? I don’t know. I tend to be more of a loner, more independant but that may be due to a variety of things. I work as an artist so my work is solitary- hence why I end up blogging for the social interaction.
My horses are basically kept outside with access to shelter 99% of the time for 3 reasons. 1. They are happier. 2. I have a bad back from years of caring for horses so cleaning stalls risks me not being able to work at my other job. 3. I can. I keep my horses at home and have the space and arrangement to be able to keep them out much of the time. That said I do have to bring them in sometimes. Those times usually consist of health reasons for them or to preserve my pasture/ paddock area. Right now we are in mud season… uh I mean spring. Its dreary, wet and cloudy today. Not the best weather for anyone. So my horses are in, due to mud in the paddock, in spite of living on a hill and good drainage around the barn. Mud is inevitable when you keep horses. I suppose to carry on with the comparison, having feeling of being blocked is a natural/ common/ expected emotion for humans. Either way, they both suck!
I have had times in my life where I have experienced rather persistant and severe depression. Depression can feel very much like trying to walk while in deep mud. You very much feel mired down. Every step is a supreme effort and to pick out a course of action can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. Now that really sucks! I got thru my depression with the help of therapy, prayer, medication (I would never fault someone suffering from depression from trying medication- it can be a lifesaver for some people). Horses have also been a huge help to me in dealing with anxiety and depression. Exercise, regular sleep hours and good eating habits go a long way in helping someone feel better but when you are stuck in the mud, sometimes it is just not possible. That is where horses come in for me.
Horses get me moving. Horses help me to see and plan ahead- for safety reasons. You learn quick how to think ahead manuvering and handling horses in a confied space or else you get hurt. Horses help calm me. Horses provide exercise — lots and lots of exercise! I get outside and close to nature which is healing. Horses provide human interaction with other horse people. Horses keep me unstuck.
When I get too isolated, horses help bring me out of my head and into my body. This may sound weird to some, but it is a prime benefit of horse and human interaction.
When I create, I spend a lot of time, ‘in my head’, so to get to be earthy and grounded is a huge benefit to me.
So maybe there are some steps here that could help you, with or without horses, if you are feeling stalled, blocked, stuck, depressed.
1. Know it is not permanent. You do have choices and can work, in baby steps, into a more open and expansive mindset. Sometimes our confinement is more in how we think than our actual surroundings. Learn to recognize when you are in a black and white, all or nothing kind of mind set. I found journaling to be a great tool for learn to recognize this kind of negative thinking and then what I did was play devil’s advocate. My limited thinking might say: I am stuck and can’t do xyz. I would expand on that thought and write to get as much of that feeling out and on the journal page. I then would go back and search for the counter position- or what would my therapist say? Or a good friend? Or a loving parent? Imagine how an encouraging, understanding and wise person would counter your negative thought.
2. As much as you can, learn to take good care of your body. Try to exercise… even small baby steps help. I am not one to go to the gym but walks around the block or to a park or on a walking trail can be so helpful! If that feels monumental, walk around your space at home. To get your blood moving and circulating feels good to our bodies. Try to eat healthy, as best you can. Try to sleep regular hours. I would get into a terrible habit of staying up late, and napping during the day because I felt so lethargic. Try, with baby steps to get on a regular sleep cycle. I guarantee it will help.
3. Find some way to incorporate some positive human interaction that does not revolve around your depression or whatever problem is causing you to feel stuck. Take up a hobby- this is how I discovered art and painting. It was and continues to be so theraputic to me, plus now it is even more. It has become my identity. I am an artist. That is a huge step from where I was 15 years ago.
4. Seek professional help. There is NO shame in seeking professional help. I stress professional help, rather then relying on a friend is because it is too easy to use a friend in ways in which can become not very healthy for you or them. It is often unintentional but just comes about because you and a friend can’t have the insight and professionalism that may be needed. You and your friend are too close to the problem to have a clear perspective. Sometimes, when someone is reluctant to seek a professional and use a friend for their therapy instead, it can become a crutch. It is easier to tell a friend, rather than the professional, who may tell you things to hold you accountable. It is just not a good idea.
5. And tuck away, in some part of your inner being, better days will come. Hold on to hope. People have a huge capacity to be resilient and heal. You have it in you too. We all do. Hold on to that.
6. When things are better, return the favor someone did for you, and show kindness to another. Lend a hand to help. Give encouragment whenever the opportunity arrises. Pass it on. This is good for you and them. We all need encouragement for time to time. Be that person who offers it freely!
Happy Trails to you, always!
Thank you for sharing or referring a friend. It is much appreciated!