little smile | shorts and longs

Is it weird to have your therapist tell you that you’re exhibiting signs of depression and to feel…



Or maybe it’s just truly a relief to hear that some of those frustrating things that have been creeping in lately –

the tiredness
the foggy brain
the trudging-through-mud feeling
the diminished interest in doing those things you love/love/love (…like blogging?!)
the I’m-absolutely-parched-but-I-don’t-feel-like-moving-off-this-chair-to-get-a-drink-so-I-won’t nonsense
and that odd desire to cocoon up
and hibernate –

might actually have a cause.

And a name.

Yes, I do think that’s a relief!

It beats the option that I am just a crazy/lazy person at my core or that living life is like walking uphill barefoot through a perpetual drizzle.

Weird how that kind of heaviness can sink down on top of you so subtly that you hardly realize it’s happening. And refreshing to have someone actually notice it and say – Um, hello, excuse me, but you seem to have a 10-ton rhino sitting on your shoulders…

I do think there are probably a few things going on here (seriously, when isn’t there?) and, of course, giving a rhino a name doesn’t make it go away. So more is to be revealed. But, for now, this is the plan:

1. Get up and get the water.
Because, really.

2. Breathe.
As in, deeply. While body parts are moving at an aerobic pace. For at least 20 minutes every day. I’ll be honest. This I have known I need for a long, long, long time. And this I have resisted greatly. Not just lately. Always. I have never enjoyed it and have always fought it. Throw on top of that the 10-ton rhino who’s telling you you’re just fine on the pink couch with the whole bowl of hot, buttered popcorn and the rest can wait until tomorrow or next year – and it becomes near impossible to complete a single push-up.

But let’s be logical here. I have spent a college-tuition-worth of cash on therapy, kinesiology, chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, and organic food over the past decade in pursuit of healing. Every penny has been worth it. I am not the sickly, scared, struggling person or body that I once was. (Still not perfect, but I have come so far!)

Now, what if I can just add in the part that won’t cost me a dime?? From what I know about brains, that extra shot of O2 and blood and seratonin (and water – see above) could make a mood-swing’s worth of difference. I know this. Sure, it might not be enough to kick the whole thing – that we shall see – but then again, it might. And it should be tried.

Fortunately, I happen to know I’m not in the deep, dark pit of depression right now. I’m just up to my ankles, or maybe my bony kneecaps, so a little jumpstart like this could be just enough to shoo that rhino away. No wonder he doesn’t want me to move.

My shoulders are pretty comfy.

So, friends. That’s where it’s at. And I’m saying it out loud, partly because I just don’t feel ashamed about this. Maybe someone thinks I should, but I didn’t invite the rhino. And the rhino isn’t me. It’s not the first time he’s camped out here, but he’s clearly back.

I’m also saying it out loud, honestly, because if I don’t, I won’t actually do step number two. This rhino is REALLY LOUD and REALLY HEAVY and I could easily come up with a whole blog’s worth of excuses about why today isn’t a good day to move my body. Every day.

But instead I’m going to say that it’s starting here and now. Today.

Twenty minutes. Let’s do this.


by julie rybarczyk


  • Julie

    Thanks for cheering me on, Gretchen! I’m so glad you’ve found help with your doctor. Yay for natural! I’ve had all those same issues and have made huge progress with my fave Dr. Brad.

  • Gretchen Schaumann

    Brave girl… Now that you’ve said it, and acted on it, we’ll trust that it will take a flying leap from your life. So great that you are forcing yourself to get up and move. I’m attempting to do the same in small steps of progress, but with my bad back injury early February I’m having to do it carefully.
    Glad to hear you’ve tried some Natural remedies. I am going today to my Naturopathic Dr. in Anoka today, and am getting back to working on myself as well. When I went there b4, all of the issues you mentioned disappeared from my life totally, and so want that back… I had food sensitivities, mold/fungus issues, and candida, as well as other things. Get in touch with me, if you want to know more.
    Hope things improve for you… been thinking about you, and will keep you in my prayers now as well.

  • emily

    Amen girl. You are refreshingly honest and so much more than what the rhino murmurs in your ear.

    Me too on the moving the body. I’ve heard it. I know. I know!!!!! SOOO wanting more of that in my week.

    And I crazy that yes, I can. Nice pair of running shoes strapped on tight. Maybe a few sips of coffee and then off I go. Yes! Fist pump to you and Joe.

  • Joe

    I actually just went for a run for only the second time this year about a half hour ago. I, too, had/have a myriad of excuses not to do so, not the least of which is that I already exercise for my work pretty thoroughly. But delivering papers isn’t aerobic, no matter how tiring it can get, and my body needs more.

    I love the imagery of a rhino on your shoulders, and may have to use that one sometime. It’s an image particularly helpful in displaying the the rhino ISN’T YOU, just like you said.

    Lastly, hooray for saying things out loud! From my experience, rhinos (of all kinds) are pretty self-conscious and don’t like to be talked about. Keep it up and this one might just decide it needs to find a new, quieter place to rest!


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