I was sitting on the floor surrounded by a sea of ‘cry cards’ – what are ‘cry cards’ you ask? They are a collection of cards that evoke emotion deep within. They are the gifts of love from family and friends from over the years that I have kept in boxes. Tears may fall whether from the joy and love that arises or the sadness of loss knowing there will be no more cards from this particular person.
I’m not talking the’ throw-a-way-written-in-a-hurry Christmas cards’ from days gone by, I’m talking birthdays, anniversaries, mothers days, and no reason at all day cards! Cards to my husband and from my husband, from my family and dearest friends over the years – all swelling with how much they love me and think I am an amazing woman.
You see there were days when I needed to be reminded of this; from the very first day I was admitted to hospital with my first ‘psychological breakdown’ to my adult years of fluctuating anxiety and depression and mental ill-health. You see amidst my instability over the years the love from family and friends has remained constant, it is a source I have drawn upon when I have been in need of some ‘extreme nurturing’, the type of nurturing that touches your heart, not just nurtures the body from the odd massage or two.
Many years ago these cards of love kept me afloat and reminded me that I was valued and valuable even though I may have temporarily forgotten that at the time. They started pouring in the night I was admitted to hospital in my late teens and I tucked them away; now decades later I have 3-4 boxes full of them and whilst I no longer need to draw on them as often, they continue to be a source of love that reminds me that I am valuable, I am loved and I am never alone.
If ever I doubt this or forget this I don’t even need to open the cards to read them again (although that is quite wonderful), I can just see the boxes at the bottom of my office cupboard and know that there is a never-ending amount of love for me from precious people, some perhaps don’t even know the depths of my gratitude for their words when times were dark.
Depression was not just feeling alone and sad, depression for me was feeling so numb; an inability to feel anything at all except numb. A deep apathy would seep into my bones and disconnect every bit of light and love within me. When I read these cards and began to cry, I would know I was beginning to feel again, I was beginning to feel and move through the depression and begin to lift again and I would cry with hope that one day soon my light would shine again.
So whilst some may think ‘cry cards, who’d want to make yourself cry?’ my cry cards are an abundant source of joy.
We all need to know that we are not alone, that we are loved, that we are valuable and that message can come in all shapes and sizes, for some it is from the action of care from others who help out, for me it came by way of beautiful cards with sentimental poetic verses.
If ever there was a fire, my boxes of cry cards and photos would be the things I would grab – oh, and the children and pets, and maybe the odd pair of Jimmy Choo shoes!!
What’s your form of ‘extreme nurturing’ and if you don’t have one, what is one way you could create that would nurture yourself to the degree that reminds you that you’re loved and not alone?