Got the blaahs....

kms4meSeptember 8, 2008

It's been a horrible summer for me--not looking for sympathy, but the usual joy I have in the gardens just wasn't there this year. Have been collecting seeds kind of automaticaly, tentatively offered my first ones in trade, but the truth is my heart isn't in it. Usually I'm really excited at the prospect of seed trading, but right now I just feel out of it.

Anyone else got the blaahs? Any tips for getting over them?


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lindaruzicka(Z6 PA)

HI Kate, I'm sorry you have the blahs, they suck, don't they? I find when I get like that I try to do something different than what I normally do. Maybe walk around and look at other people's gardens and ask for a couple of seeds or go to a garden show. Curl up with a good book and just escape for awhile. Go to a flea market or yard sale or sit on my bench and watch the birds. Sometimes they go away by theirselves or sometimes you have to work through them..I've done both...((HUG))

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 7:30AM
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Hi Kate, hopefully your disinterest isn't caused by any personal problems and is temporary, you've probably gotten tired of the sameness and need some different amusement.
It might make you feel better- think October !!!
Fall is so close, wish it was here now, would be great to escape threat of hurricanes-now another on we have to watch-Ike.
What are your other interests lately? I've been typing recipes and plan on making a cookbook.
Your page lists so many different seeds- I'd love to trade for some if you're up to it, probably don't need anything else ---how about for simple, healthy recipes?

Music uplifts, know what else does, naturally? Unless you have kids around, eating banana or two does help the moods,
unless you're just losing interest in gardening and don't really mind?


    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 9:12AM
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agirlsgirl(7 North Carolina)

Hey Kate! Dont worry,you are just in a slump! Maybe planning a new bed would help.Maybe there is something you have always wanted to try, and now would be the time to dive in! I find new adventures help me out of slumps,sometimes the same old, same old can bring you down and something new can really bring you up,and lighten your spirit. Maybe it wouldnt even be garden related,I am sure you have other things you would like to try,like skydiving?
I am sure this will pass and you will be all ready to go soon!:)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 9:32AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

It's been a horrible summer for me--not looking for sympathy, but the usual joy I have in the gardens just wasn't there this year.

I've had those before also. 2 years I was in depression due to a lot of stress within BF's immediate family. Gardening was a real veggies cared for or canned...weeds taking over...the ones one might think a truck and chain was necessary to get them pulled out.

I'm mind you, just guessing, that there is something else that is going on that you did not enjoy gardening as you used to.

Do you ever look at the pics of others and compare your garden beds and what you have in them? Are you maybe just discouraged that yours aren't looking like some pictured here on GW?

I have also experienced end of season disappointment...just as I often experience end of winter disappointment. I beat myself up with all that did not get done.

Talk to us GF...what might be behind you feeling so blah?

OH...I used to always get the fall blahs...and found it depressing to see everything die, and the trees to lose their leaves. I no longer feel that way. A friend told me she loved looking out in the winter at the trees with no leaves. She enjoyed seeing the skeletons of the trees with no leaves. I now see trees in a different light in the winter...not as the leaves being dead, but that the leaves left so I could enjoy that tree by seeing it a different way.

Are you maybe disappointed with things that just did not turn out as you had thought and hoped they would. I dream of having a picture perfect veggie garden, but it sure didn't happen this year...but there's always next year to look forward to.

Sue...ramblin over coffee

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 10:36AM
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Wouldn't it be something if she's been skydiving? lol

Whatever lifts you up.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 1:33PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)


You doing/feeling any better today?

It is rainy and cool here, but I'm not going to let that dampen my spirits. I am going to work on so many 'inside' things today, that when better days arrive I can play outside without the 'guilt' factor.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 12:00PM
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Linda, Bea, Sue, Angie,

Thanks for the interest and kind words. I am just sort of plodding right now.

I said I wasn't looking for sympathy, but this has been such a trying time. My husband was laid off unexpectedly for the third time in less than a year, and finances have been difficult--though we've been here over 20 years, we almost went into foreclosure. It's hard when you expect that as you grow older, your financial situation should get better, you know? And the layoffs meant loss of insurance coverage as well, so of course I got sick for the first time in years.

My annual plant sales have done well for quite some time, and I also do garden consults. This spring was hard because the weather was hell, everything was weeks if not a month or more behind, which means it is harder to sell plants and you can't ask as much for them if they are smaller than normal, even if they are strong, healthy plants. With my husband's lay off, the income was even more important, and just before the sale, which I'd already had to postpone because of the lousy weather, I got sick, which meant another postponement and the cost of doctor's visits, lab tests, and medication.

During the sale preparation weeks, we were not able to go visit my MIL, who lives 7 hours away round-trip, and during our absence, my husband's sister, who through very shady dealings got power of attorney over her, had her declared mentally incompetent and put her in a home. Though Mom had issues, I won't deny that, she was doing really well with in-home care, but Dave's sis wants the money and the house (she also moved her daughter's family into it), and it was a very hard thing to take. I really love my MIL, and I feel horrible because she is very unhappy, she cries and begs to go back home whenever we see her... There's also as you can probably infer, some other really nasty things going on in that situation as well.

The plant sale ended up going well but took an extra two weeks of daily selling before I reached the income from it I was expecting. In the interim, I was slowly recovering, but the consults I did were hard. What usually brings me so much pleasure and joy just felt like a pain--the ups and downs I usually handle easily just felt like huge annoyances, and I found myself angry over how stupid people are (and I honestly don't feel that way, I love to help and give advice).

I cut back on the garden tours, only did three (all for charity), and I really can't tell you much about them. I just felt like I was sleep walking. It was the same earlier in the year when the prom kids came out to have their pictures taken... Usually it's such a joy.

But the worst was that my little dog Homer got sick too. I was so busy, coping with my own illness and trying to get the sale off and running, that I didn't realize anything was really wrong at first... He too was diagnosed with Lyme disease, but he had none of the lameness which is usually the first symptom. He suddenly went blind--the vet said it was due to cataracts, but I had this horrible sick feeling.

He didn't respond to antibiotics, so we tried a new prescription and anti-inflammatorys and he seemed to respond. But in mid-July while still being treated, he took a dire turn for the worst, and my sweet boy died in my arms at 2 in the morning. The vet thinks the Lyme disease had destroyed his kidneys.

Homer did everything with me for the past 10 years--I never went anywhere without him, he was always by me in the gardens... I've never spent as much time or been so close to anyone or anything in my life. The gardens are a constant reminder that he is gone. The new garden area I'm planning is where he is buried, so there isn't any joy in that, of course.

The gardens have always been my savior--my outlet for creativity, the way I meet most of the people in my life, my joy and my passion. But all that feels gone now. They are still really beautiful despite the lateness of the season, but I actually get this weird thought sometimes of just going and stomping on everything. I would give away every plant I've ever grown if I could just have my Homer back. I know that is stupid and childish, and I'm actually a very thoughtful, intelligent person, but right now I just feel like it is all pointless.

I guess I don't need sympathy because I'm having a pity party for myself...


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 1:24PM
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agirlsgirl(7 North Carolina)

Kate no wonder you are in the dumps! This is alot for one person to deal with! I want to start off,with I do not think you are having a pity party,I am taking this as someone who is hurting so badly and is starting to deal with the pain by speaking out,it is a good thing!:)

It always seems when all these bad things come your way,it is never going to get better. But it does,all these bad things will pass and good things will come your way. :)

Your poor MIL! That situation is just UNBELIEVABLE!!! Karma will take care of that one,don't you worry!

I understand how you feel about Homer. I had a cat from the time I was 16 years old up to 2 years ago,when she passed from middle ear tumors. Her name was Chiquita and I loved her more than anything,when the kids came,she was the oldest sibling,not just a pet.When I had to let her go,it killed me. I still cry when I think of her not being here anymore,or if I have to talk about her passing. But I still have her with me every second of everyday,and I just think of all the moments we shared and funny things she would do and it does make me smile,but that is just recently. It has been hard getting to this point,because the truth is I still want her back here with me and havent really accepted that she is gone and dont know if I ever will completely. It is ok to feel like you do about it,it shows how much your Homer was loved and what a lucky boy he was/is. Our vet sent me a really nice card when I lost my Chiquita,in that card he made sure he let me know that it is ok to mourn,but when the mourning is past, to be sure to celebrate the wonderful life she had. I am now getting to this point and it has just been 2 years this past July.
We also lost our dog this past Feb.,that didnt help the pain any,he was only 6 and it wasnt fair to lose him like that.
I am going on with all of this,just so you know it isnt "stupid or childish" to love something so much,that when they are gone, your life is turned upside down.You are not alone with your feelings and they are valid.

Memorial gardens do help Kate,I placed a fountain surrounded by Job's Tears for the pets we have lost in our lives. It helps to have somewhere to go and just think of them. Everything surrounding this area,is flourishing,I think it's all the love! :)

I am glad you decided to talk about all of this instead of keeping it all inside.(((HUGS))) to you Kate,things will get better.:)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 3:33PM
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ohhhh Kate!! that's so much to deal with!! just remember that GOD said he will never give you more than you can deal with, and i totally agree with angie!! karma or whatever you may believe will get that one!! she will get what is coming to her!! in our family, it usually comes in ten fold. which i think is way funny!! **onery laugh** i am so sorry for the loss of your pet, that's so sad!! we've lost more than our shre of pets,, now i just can't handle getting anymore pets. when i lost the last one, that was it for me. my heart broke for the last time. but then a lady put on the rr a poem about the animal always being with us and looking at us and being happy now that they are no longer in pain. and i thought, ya know, that is so neat, maybe, just maybe i could get one, in time. i do have two pets, they are rugrats, (my kids LOL)
talking about stuff is the best thing in the world. whether its to someone or these posts. we are all here for you!! Lord knows (and boy does he!! LOL and he listens too!!) you all have listen to me!! so i'm all ears!! many (((HUGS)))

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 6:01PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Boy Kate, I really don't know what to add that hasn't already been said. You sure have had a tuff year.

My advice, right, sleep right, try to not dwell on all that has happened (easier said than done though I know), and pamper yourself every chance you get. This is one of those times you need to keep plenty of comfort close at hand.

Things may look pretty bleak at times, but in time things will get better.

Hang Tuff!



    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 7:37PM
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Katie, I was hoping it'd not be personal problems but you've had them in bunches, sadly, after the worst is over and we relax and reflect, tears come, go ahead and share your feelings with gardening friends, it's obvious you're among nicest people, they've said a lot I meant to. Many of us know what it's like to care for a pet for years, then lose 'em and be heart broken, also at times feeling we could have done something, knowing it was unfair and it happened at the tough time. Don't let yourself be overwhelmed with grief and get weak as you need to soothe your soul and stand firm, for your family, for one your mom can use your company, have faith someone will step in for justice- yes,Karma. Garden can be a therapy now, this is too soon and its your your time to grieve.
You can't help feeling sad and frustated, still too soon not to, hope by talking about it brings you some inner peace.
Take good care of yourself,


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 9:43PM
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Thanks to all of you.

I've lost many other dogs (and cats), and they have all hurt. Five years ago I lost my young Golden Retriever, Bridget, to bone cancer. I always thought if I was a dog, I would have been like her--for some reason, I identified with her almost as if she were my canine twin. When she died, I buried her by the water garden, the place where we always began and ended our day together. It has given me no comfort--in fact, though I can work there and enjoy the garden, I no longer ever just sit there. It still is too full of the pain of losing her. In early January of this year when of course we still have high hopes for a new and happier beginning, my Malemute-Great Pyrenees O'Malley, whom I'd just been playing with out in the snow, gasped, went down, and died of what the vet thinks was a burst aortic aneurism... And now my Homer.

There is more to losing a pet than simply no longer having them there. They mark time for us, and their passing is the end of an era. My dogs started their lives with me when I was younger, when my daughter was little, when their deaths seemed the farthest thing in my mind. I am 10 years older now, sadder, not sure if I'm wiser. They represent a part of my life that I will never get back, a person I will never be again.

It is true too of what has happened to my MIL. Though I knew we were fighting a losing battle, for 8 years David and I kept her in her home, fought the other children, went to see her almost weekly, spent days getting her out and about, rebuilding as much of her shattered confidence as we could, being her champions and her biggest fans. Now when we see her, we are reduced to pasting false smiles on our faces, not saying what we really think because it will only cause her pain, pretending that her situation is wonderful when clearly it is not. We did what we could for as long as we could and I have no regrets; still it is very sad and feels like a huge loss. My role as her protector is gone. Another chapter in life ends--we will never get together in her home, cook her thanksgiving dinner, experience any of the happy times there again. She has gone downhill shockingly fast since the move, more from depression I know than from her illness, and we are losing the person we have known as well.

Besides the sadness I have become mired in, I think it is possible that I am disenchanted with the gardens because on some level I feel that if I hadn't been so busy with the plant sale and the gardens, we would have been able to visit my MIL and maybe tried to prevent what happened, that I might have been more on top of things and noticed that Homer was ill, etc. I know that I am not to blame, but it seems that what we know in our heads does not always jive with what we feel in our hearts. And maybe letting go of the sadness is hard because I feel that that is the only thing that still connects me to Homer and my mother-in-law as right now memories simply feel like aching reminders of what I've lost.

Talking about this has helped me, and I appreciate your listening to me--this is the most I've said to anybody since these things all started piling up. I will get beyond most of this eventually, I guess it was just a lot to have happen in a short amount of time and with my illness on top of it, I just am not rolling with the punches as well as I used to. My dogs always could make me happy and now that they are gone, I have to reach deeper inside myself. Growing and changing is never easy, maybe this is part of what I need to overcome to be the person I am meant to be.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 12:45AM
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grovespirit(Zone 9)

Hugs to you. Doesn't sound like a pity party at all. It sounds like genuine and valid feelings of loss.

When I get the blahs, especially if I am coping with loss or is very important that I get regular exercise, nutritious meals, and get out in the daylight each day.

And if at all possible, I take a mini vacation (retreat) to reflect and renew my spirit- helps to go somewhere away from home, even if it's just a 3 or 4 day camping trip to a nearby nature preserve.

I can do a getaway or retreat on a shoestring budget...the idea is just to refresh myself and rest, and reconnect with the universe. And while I am on retreat I will not worry about schedules, dishes, bills, laundry, family troubles. No emailing and I don't accept cellphone calls during the retreat. I just LIVE and BREATHE for a few days. Often I will hike, cook food over a real fire, and take nature photos. :)

After the retreat...If there is anything I can do to improve an unpleasant family situation that bothers me, I do it. If I cannot do anything, I pray.

For example, right now my grandpa is living alone (he was recently widowed) and he is very unhappy. He wants to move out of the house he built himself, and owns mortgage free. Says that it and its gardens are too full of painful memories of the love of his life.

I've heard that my aunt has to constantly keep him from destroying (according to him 're-doing') the beautiful perennial gardens. He believes if they are re-done then maybe he won't hurt so much looking at them. Maybe this is a parallel to that disenchantment you have with your gardens.

We're fighting a losing battle against Gpa selling off his antiques for too little $$ just because he doesn't want the reminders associated with seeing them.

Gpa wants to move out and live in a different house- one with other family members. I wish I could, but I cannot invite him to live with me. Due to alzheimers he gets very hostile and I don't have the physical or emotional strength to live with a chronically hostile person.

My dad (Grandpa's eldest son) cannot house Gpa, even though he is amazingly skilled at calming Gpa when he is hostile. But he simply has no room. All the rooms in that house are full since my brother recently lost his house and had to move his whole family in with my dad.

And my aunt (Grandpa's only other child) cannot invite Gpa to live with her, because her husband and my Gpa do not get along. The hostility from Gpa's alzheimers causes her spouse to get hostile in return, and her home would be like a constant verbal war zone.

So for now, Gpa lives alone and is unhappy.

I pray that this situation will resolve itself in God's time. That's the best I can do today, and I remind myself to let go of any feelings of guilt or inadequacy because all I can be expected to do is my best.

When we lose a loved one (human or furry), feelings of guilt are normal. There are always doubts about whether we could have prevented the loved one from dying (or at least given the loved one some extra time on Earth). Usually these guilt feelings are undeserved.

Remember, Homer's death was not your fault! Even if you were busy with trying to pay your bills it still was not your fault. We are human and cannot be perfect. We all get busy trying to make ends meet, and miss an important detail at some time or other. You did not give Homer Lyme disease, that was Nature's doing. And even if you noticed it earlier he still might have died of it or of some other cause, because of being 10 yrs old.

I lost a beloved pet the year I joined GardenWeb. For a few months I thought it was my fault she died, because she snuck out the front door (with no leash on) when I opened it to go out. I didn't notice her (she was an 8 lb dog) since I was in a big hurry to go photograph the garden before a predicted freeze destroyed everything.

My dog saw a cat across the street, went after it, and got hit by a passing motorist who was speeding and didn't see my dog either. And I felt no joy in the photos, thinking that I'd happily have let the freeze destroy it all without a single picture if I could just have my doggie back.

I did the "what ifs... and the shoulds.." I "should" have paid more attention when I left the house, "what if" I hadn't been so obsessed with my garden, etc.

Took time for me to let go of all that. And it took much longer for me to heal from the pain of the loss.

More hugs and much empathy,

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 9:45PM
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dirt_yfingernails(z3-4 MN)

Kate, you are such a loving caring and sharing person, that is why you feel sad and depressed right now. I lost my enjoyment in my gardens last year. Got some of it back this year, partly due to the wonderful seeds you sent me. I'm sure you've brought joy and happiness to countless others over the years. Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 10:20AM
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Agree...Kate, your caring and loving heart is wounded and you need-ed to unload the burden. You have my "ears" even if right now it's not focusing on much else---praying Ike has mercy, on us in La and almost all of the Gulf Coast, particularly Galveston area, it's a big storm that's flooding many low areas here, tornado warnings about 40 mph away. We're under tropical storm warning, to last til late afternoon. High seas moving in, this is worse than any other hurricane 'cause we didn't see the need to evacuate. We'll at least go to auditorium. So many of us need prayers.

Grove said it so well, took words out of my hands. We can't blame ourself for things that happen without our will. When I was sick and fell asleep early--9 pm, my 17 year old sweet Siamese cat somehow ran outside fast - I don't know how, we never let them out at night, she was attacked by racoon, is recovering- vet was amazed she was so strong for a fragile looking cat.
We've lost 2 dogs I loved dearly, I was their mama.
I could write books about them, not now.

I am glad to read lots from you, but now wonder why was my message removed? I wasn't going to ask for donations, not asking in person, but should, at least some. Only reason I did after Katrina - for the children we were staying in for 16 days.

Dear Kate---hugs to you. Hang in there baby---need a poster on my wall.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 11:06AM
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Hi Kate,
I realize that this is kind of an old post. I hope you are feeling somewhat better now.
I found this post the other day because my son had decided to do a community service project related to the seed trading that we have been doing. We have so many extra seeds that we decided to try to find some people less fortunate to give them too instead of just "newbees". Believe it or not this is the only post on GW where Katrina is even mentioned. I was shocked and angered to learn of the practice of removing this kind of post. We couldn't find a single needy person to give our seeds to and had to go to other sites to do it.
Anyway, that aside. I recognized your GW name right away but skipped through it to come back and read later when my son wasn't with me.
I found the tears just streaming down my face when reading this post. All the things you have gone through seem just more than one person can handle and yet you are so generously helping others. That was going to be one of my suggestions to help you feel better, but you are already doing it.
People that don't have pets just don't understand how close humans can be to them. I lost my dog Taz this past summer and I thought I was starting to feel better about it, but now I know the pain is still there jsut a strong as ever. She had lymes disease too, but that is not what killed her. She was a big dog and has always been allowed to be off leash on our large property. One day we were busy with kids baseball games and a few other events. I noticed that she was laying in the woods and haden't eaten before we left, but thought nothing of it. When we got home 3 hours later she seemed unable to walk a straight line, was very weak and threw up a few times. I wanted to take her to the emergency vet as it was after hours, but my DH said it would cost to much and to take her in the am. Well I stayed up with her all night as she got worse and worse and when we tried to carry her to the car in the am she died when we tried to move her. 2 weeks later I found a deer leg with a hoof missing so although I'll never know what happened I suspect that she choaked or had a bowel obstruction from that. Of course I blame myself and worse yet I blame my husband. Even worse he refuses to get another dog and has even threatened to leave if I do so this has driven a wedge in our marrage. I have experienced the same thing of not even being able to work in the area of the yard where Taz's grave is.
I was very depressed over the holidays. Missing my parents who jsut moved to southern TX was also part of that.
Anyway, my suggestions are: don't be afraid to cry, get outside daily, exercise, mini vacation (as mentioned earlier), pray, help others and one that has not been mentioned before; cut back. Sometimes we expect too much of ourselves. The garden isn't going anywhere and if your not having fun you should not do it. This year I have decided to plant very few new plants and just work on the garden's structure and improve the shape that it is in. I'm not doing the hundreds of tomatoes and other seedlings. Only a few that I will actually need for fresh eating so no canning this year (there is still plenty in the basement anyway). I'm going to put a cover crop on a large portion of the garden and pile on the compost so that it will be better next year and jsut do a little lettuce, peas and go on a good vacation this summer instead of worrying about when would be a good time for the garden.
Sorry this is so long. Isn't it funny how talking to near strangers about things you probably wouldn't tell close friends can make you feel better?
I'm not even sure which forum this is on so if you reply (which you don't have to if you don't want to) please either e-mail me directly or let me know which forum to look on.
Big hug,

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 11:48AM
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