Anyone that has suffered from depression can tell you it’s especially debilitating some days. On good days, you try to take advantage of your drive to do everything you can in one day. It’s exhausting and doesn’t leave much time or energy for you to enjoy any sense of well-being. So, when you find something that gives you feelings of happiness again, you push yourself a little bit harder to enjoy that moment. I first heard about rock hunting from a neighbor when I saw a really impressive painted rock in her house. She explained it was painted by a man named Mark Ostheller, and then told me all about painted rock hunting. I went home to look up what this activity was all about, and noticed she sent me a request to be a part of a Facebook group for painted rock hunting in our area. I accepted and started scrolling. Two hours and many posts later….
I was addicted! I couldn’t stop looking at painted rocks. I was all over Pinterest, Facebook, even Google looking up all the different designs and patterns. The idea behind them was inspiring, and brought an appreciation for our community that had long been forgotten. You take a rock, paint a picture or message on it, and hide it for others to find. As you find them, you have the option to keep the rock or re hide it for the next person to find. They are hidden everywhere like parks, nature sanctuary’s, even local stores and business’s. It’s sort of like a rock type of pay it forward. I made plans with my neighbor for the following day to go hunting. Depression started nagging me first thing that morning telling me I should consider cancelling for simply no reason at all other than wanting to stay home and sleep my day away. Despite this, I made myself get up, get dressed, and start moving. I went with my fiance Josh, our pup Dexter, and my neighbor with her family and their pup. Our day was off and running. We decided on a wetland sanctuary by our house that had been a known hot spot for painted rocks.
Well, being as it was a wetland, it was very hot and we all were bitten a thousand times by mosquitoes. However, what it did for my mental health was unlike anything I had tried before. Following the trail with the pups, watching the kids hunt high and low for any sign of painted rocks, and being out in the open air was the best antidepressant I could have. This was such a great venture in fact, I did it again with the same group a couple days later. I decided I didn’t want to just look for painted rocks anymore though, I wanted to be someones reason for having a better day as well. I went out to purchase supplies needed for painting rocks such as paint markers, modpodge, and acrylic paints. We found some great rocks while spending a day at the beach and took them home to be painted.
It’s still a work in progress, and when the weather gets colder I’m sure painted rock hunting will slow way down. It’s okay though, that will give me an opportunity to paint a big collection to hide in the spring. I think this is an activity all ages, families, even just individuals would absolutely enjoy. There is something very therapeutic about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. You don’t have to be an artist. You could be as good as stick figures and still make someones day amazing by making them feel like they are not alone because you left that there for them to find. Take a break from technology and get outside into the open air. There is so much I miss out on from depression, but painted rocks is one thing I am very glad I didn’t miss. I hope you come to enjoy it as much as I do, and have fun hunting. Leave me a comment on something that has helped you with your depression or getting through your days! Until next time I leave you with words from a very talented artist…
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
-Vincent Van Gogh