Roots of Depression, Part 1

I was working in the yard, which always seems to involve more than I think it will at the beginning. There have been these vines interweaving in the links of the chain link fence. I decided to un-interweave them. Of course it’s not enough to free the vines from the fence. I had to pull the vines up out of the ground so they couldn’t wrap around the fence again. As I did, some roots came up. I had a chance to pull the roots out so they wouldn’t grow back, so of course I took it.

Pulling up those roots revealed more roots, and then more roots and more roots. There were long roots, short roots, thin roots, thicker roots. The long thicker roots did not go down vertically but rather horizontally, so I could grab one in the middle and start pulling up, and it was like pulling up a cable wire. It would come out of the ground, and you could follow it to the right and the left. The ground above it gave way easily, and other roots snapped and broke as I disrupted the interweaving, intertwining network of roots beneath that foot of ground between the driveway and the chain link fence. I show some of the results in this video.

Why am I telling you this? I have an affiliate page now. One of the products I’m promoting is called Destroy Depression™. I chose it because I have struggled with depression my entire life, and this looked like a product that could help others with the same issue. It’s part of how I’m hoping to do well by doing good.

As I was working on these roots, I realized getting rid of these weeds and vines and the roots beneath them is similar to recovery. You start off with something easily visible: sadness, moodiness, a quick temper, or whatever. You pull on that, but those visible weeds are connected to roots underground. You go after those roots, and you find there is a whole lot more going on beneath the surface than you ever imagined. So as I pondered this, here’s what I noticed:

You think each weed or vine has only one root, but there are way more roots than weeds.

It took maybe twenty minutes to remove the vines, at most – Although some of them had deeper roots than I expected. I found few weeds and pulled them up in a few minutes. But I was probably three or four hours pulling up roots. Just when I thought I was close to finishing with them, I’d pull one little root and it would reveal a whole new network.

Whatever the roots of your depression, once you start digging them up, you will find they are far deeper and more extensive than you expected.

The roots are interconnected.

Small roots lead to big roots, and big roots are joined with a lot of small roots. Along the branches of the roots are these tiny tendrils that make it stick to the ground and other nearby roots. When you pull up one, it’s bound to break up some of the ties to another. So each one you remove makes it easier to remove another, especially with those big ones. You remove one of those long cable-like roots, and you have disrupted many smaller ones. With their connections snapped, they come out easier.

As you make progress in your recovery, you will find that improvement in one area spills over into other areas.

Image of root with tendrils
One of my “cable-roots.” Difficult to see, but there are little sticky tendrils on the little hairy branches.


There are entire communities living around those roots.

Every root I pulled made earthworms, tiny centipedes, termites, and scores of other tiny bugs scramble for safety. I imagine if somehow they knew this was coming and could communicate with me, they’d try to convince me or trick me into letting those roots stay where they are. They were just minding their own business, doing what worms and bugs do, and here I come uprooting their entire neighborhood – literally.

This is how depression takes on a life of its own. You may have noticed that in your recovery, you are often your own worst enemy. You want to be well. You want to be happy. You want to do something with your life that feels worthwhile. But something inside you keeps wanting to sabotage that. That’s the bugs and worms that have made their homes around the roots and don’t want you disturbing them. You will hear voices saying those roots are fine where they are. Don’t bother working on your recovery. You’ll only make things worse. It won’t do any good anyway. Tell those voices this is your recovery. The roots are coming up, and they can either adjust to it or move to someone else’s yard.

You’re not going to get them all first time around, so you’ll need to keep watching.

Some roots I could see I had removed completely. Some broke off before I could get it all out. There are still roots under there, most of them shorter and damaged, but they tend to grow back if they’re not removed completely.

If you’ve been working on recovery and made progress, remember not to get complacent. That yard may look clear now, and even beneath the surface you may find it clear of roots. But new weeds can always come in. Some of them may lie dormant, waiting for the right time to reappear. Some of those roots that broke off will grow back. Life won’t completely let you off the hook. But you have developed skills and strategies to stop them from taking over your yard. Be ready for them. Be ready to remove those same roots again, or maybe new roots that have found their way into that clearing you created. Recovery is a lifelong process, and your mental health and pursuit of happiness are worth it.

Grace and Peace to you.

If you would like to read Part 2, click here.

David Anderson


One thought on “Roots of Depression, Part 1

  1. Pingback: New Blog Post – Roots of Depression – David Anderson

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