Witchcraft Is Part Of My Self Care

I have most likely suffered from anxiety and depression since I was 13. Those bouts of awkwardness, sadness, uncomfortableness and hopeless that I simply tried to brush off as what comes with being a teenager. I only really realised that these were part of my mental health issues when I was 18 and didn't properly seek help until much later. For years there was nothing I could seem to do that would silence those feelings and thoughts in my head, telling me I was worthless, that I wasn't capable and so on. Then I began practising witchcraft. 

When I say practising witchcraft I mean actively practising it, researching it, actually having knowledge of what I was doing. I come from a pagan household, though pagan is something that my family never personally called ourselves. We celebrated the solstices instead of Easter and Christmas (which caused a bit of contention at my Church of England Primary School), I was raised to have an understanding and respect for nature but perhaps as this was all I had ever known I never really acknowledged that my family practised a nature based religion. 

It was only when I was a teenager did it click that my family would be considered by others to be pagan. It then took me to reach my twenties to start finding my own spiritual path which is what I consider one of the largest positive turning points of my life. 

I identify as a hedgewitch, most of my craft takes place in the countryside, my kitchen and my garden. I grow my own flowers and herbs and I try to take time out of my day no matter how busy I am to tend to my garden, even if it's just 5 minutes. I forage the hedgerows for plants, flowers and fruits that I can use in spells, food recipes or home remedies (purely for my own use, I never give out medical advice or products to anyone). 

While you can forage or garden and not consider it witchcraft for me it is an integral part of my craft. I don't mean merely hacking away a a plant or tree to get what I need from it. I carefully take what I need and what nature is allowing me to have, if I come across a plant that I need but it is hard to get I take it as a sign that I am not meant to have it. I take care to put any bugs or any animals that may have been in the plants back into a safe enviroment. I will spend hours searching for different spots where the plant I need grows so I don't take too much from one place. 

This care and effort allows me to focus my mind and energy on the task at hand, for someone with anxiety whose mind races at a mile a minute this is focus is a blessing. It also creates a link between me and nature, or maybe it's more accurate to say that it makes me aware of a link that is already there. This link helps fight off those feelings of isolation and worthlessness that so often comes with depression. I feel at one with something much bigger than myself but even though I'm a small part of the whole I feel like an important, valuable part. 

Practising witchcraft also helps unlock creativity, I love to draw, write and create products but at times when my mental health is not at it's best it's hard to find the motivation to create something. However, witchcraft helps fill my mind with ideas and gives me the motivation to carry them out. In fact, most of this post was originally written on the notes app on my phone as it came to me while I was picking and drying Jasmine flowers from my garden. 

I would never lie and say that my craft cures me of my mental health issues. Witchcraft does not stop me suffering from anxiety and depression. In fact, some days the anxiety and depression are too strong and nothing I seem to do can make the feelings subside. But witchcraft often gives me that calm that my mind so desperately craves and for that I am grateful. Witchcraft brings me that much needed port in a storm, a point of safety. It by no means takes me away fully from the storm, I can still see, hear and even feel it raging but my feet are on safer ground. 

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