A friend brought up an old fable the other day as we talked about a good day with my mood and outlook on life. She said, “leave yourself bread crumbs so you can find your way back when it gets dark again.”
Hantsel and Gretel as a story, is not something I will read to my children anytime soon. The story being their stepmother sent them into the forest to die and their father allowed it is just too gruesome and horrible, but there is value in the tale.
Hantsel and Gretel were aware they were headed into uncharted territory when they went into the woods, so they thought to leave themselves a trail to find their way back home. They used bread crumbs one time to mark a path home, but the birds found them a tasty treat instead; but when the children used little stone pebbles, they were able to make their way home.
Depression is it’s own uncharted territory. It’s hard to know when and where you’ll go in and even harder to know when and where you’ll come out. It can easily, and often, leave you far away from the self you used to know and make you feel very removed from those people most important to you. How to get back?
That’s where Hantsel and Gretel come into play. They mark their way in the darkness and I can too. I love the imagery of leaving myself a trail to find my way. It is fitting.
Leaving bread crumbs that can be scattered about and destroyed won’t get me there, but stones, in all their durability, will.
Here is the beginning of my stone collection for finding my way home:
Stone 1–my family and those who love me
Stone 2–the online community, twitter and blogging
Stone 3–doctors who are working so hard to help me get better
Stone 4–love of God
Stone5–memories of where I have been
With these stones, and more that I will find along the way, I can find my way back home when the depression leads me astray, just as Hantsel and Gretel ultimately found their way home.
Such it is with depression.