It Will Look Better in the Morning

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

This article was published by The Do More Agriculture Foundation, a nonprofit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture.

Waking up on a farm is one of the most peaceful things I’ve ever known. Birds bellowing their morning songs and the rising sun coating the ground in warmth. However, that doesn't mean anxiety seizes to stir in my heart some days. Yes, some days, the quiet seeps into my veins, yet other days I am stricken by chaos that seems to only exist in my mind. 
I’ve woken up before thinking, “I feel like I can’t take care of myself. How am I supposed to take care of 30 chickens?” Then the anthill task of feeding, watering, and cleaning chickens turns into a mountain. Luckily, I don’t have to climb it by myself, and neither do you. Together, my husband, Ryan and I grow vegetables and care for laying hens. No matter if you farm with family or co-workers, farming is something that is rarely easy to do alone. The key is to remember, you aren’t alone. When I share my worries and burdens with Ryan, it is as if he takes a part of them when he opens up his heart as he listens. Let those around you know what’s going on in your head and how it may be affecting you that day.
Ryan helped me to write up a check-list. It still seemed daunting on days when anxiety loomed. On those days I usually don’t want to start, but once I begin I am pulled into the day. Into farm life, into growing chicks, into afternoon sun. A good distraction to start the day can help one slip into living. I used to feel hopeless, as if I were destined to always feel terrible, to feel off, to not be able to do what everyone else does. Yet, as I saw the sprouts in our garden growing toward the horizon, I knew I could get to a point of being coated in light as well. 
When my farm chores are over, that doesn’t mean farming is. Ryan also farms with his family. They grow corn, soybeans, and care for cattle. Some nights I’ll visit him, but on most, I chose to stay home. (Insert argument here for John Deere to manufacture more comfortable buddy seats.) Some nights, other household duties call to me, and some nights I’m too tired to bounce around in a field. Yet, even though I choose to stay home, I still feel an overwhelming amount of multiple emotions boiling inside. Sometimes anger, because my husband is spending his time elsewhere. Sometimes, worry, what if he dies in a farm accident tonight? Sometimes sadness, I just want him here holding me. 
My mood shifts aren’t only hard on myself, but they are also hard on Ryan. When they creep into my being it feels as if I’m no longer me, and I wish I could be. This is the point where I choose to rely on myself and the truths I’ve been taught. All of these have been learned in therapy. I highly recommend finding a good therapist, as it can be extremely beneficial. Therefore, in moments when my mood is spiraling, I find a way to ground myself. I talk to myself positively and tame the worrisome thoughts, reminding myself that most of what I worry about never happens. I reel in the anger by pausing, and looking at the facts. I nurse my sadness by looking forward to the future. My husband will be home from the farm soon and we will fall into night with each other.
I find comfort in the sunset over the farm and the stars that dance outside our window each night I like to go to bed with my worries behind me, but that doesn't always happen. I turn to Ryan and open up to him. He utters a phrase, which I hear more often than not. I may not always believe it, but I repeat it until my eyelids are heavy. "It will look better in the morning."

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