First, I have super exciting news 🙂 Diana invited me to do a little guest post over at her place today. She’s all kinds of awesome-sauce, so jump on over there and see what I had to say about potty training John and how incredibly well that went. And check her out while you’re there. I puffy heart her. Her take on life as a SAHM, natural parenting and blogging cannot be missed. Plus? My husband has known her before she was born. Crazy, No?
Over here, today I have this to share with you: I am not Meryl Streep. I am not Rene’ Zellweger. I am not an Oscar winning actress. This may not come as news to you, but to me? Sorta.
You all know about my fight with depression. I’ve talked about how I fought it, I tried to fix it, I was hospitalized because of it. I also hid it. Or, I thought I hid it. I was wrong.
I ran into a friend this weekend. I’ve known her forever, but we haven’t sat down together in ages. Since before I fell apart. Through a strange series of events, one of her best friends bought a house around the corner from me. So now I have two amazing women right smack in my face. (Uhm, hello answered prayer?)
Anyway, we saw each other and our kids were playing together. And then she said, “I read your blog.” And I knew from the way she waited for us to be alone that she meant business. She wasn’t about to pat me on the back and say, ‘how cute!’ I drew a deep breath, because I suddenly realized that she had read all about my depression — the meds, the hospital stays, the crying, the guilt, the grief.
And she’d known me, seen me a few times a week when this was all happening. My mind started to race as I thought of how to explain that during that time, when we saw each other at school pick up, that I was hiding my problems. How I was pulling it together to deceive her and everyone else. She, too, took a deep breath and told me, “I saw you one day and I knew. You were pale and unkempt. And I knew. But I guess I didn’t know how to say . . . what? Were we close enough for me to say something? I mean, I have a degree in family counseling. But I didn’t do anything. And I think I knew.”
Right there, in the midst of a birthday party, my heart swelled with such gratitude for this woman. I didn’t know what to say. My eyes filled with tears and I didn’t bother to hide them from anybody. I hugged her and said, “Thank you so very much.” And then I let her know, I hope, that I really don’t think she could have said or done anything that would have changed things for me.
I’m beginning to see that I had to go through this. In order for me to be here, where I am right now, I had to be there two and half years ago. Does it suck? Large hairy donkey balls. Do I understand why? Not even remotely. But I do know that without having been there and mucking through it like I did, I wouldn’t be healthy today.
After I left the party I sat and really thought about what she’d said. Thought about what might have happened if she’d approached me and gotten my attention. And said what? I was a steaming pile of a hot mess. I was desperately holding onto the idea that I was fooling everybody. And failing miserably. Again, not an Oscar winning actress. Shocker, right? I would have been defensive and completely denied any and all help she offered. Yes, even friendship. I didn’t nurture friends during that time, so there is no way our friendship could have blossomed. There is no way she could have quietly, unobtrusively helped me. So, no. Nothing would have changed.
But as I stood there, listening to her, I felt . . . lifted up. Supported. Loved. She wasn’t judging me. She wasn’t running, screaming, in the other direction. She was doing exactly the opposite. She was, in fact, throwing herself in front of this crazy train. Because she didn’t have to say a thing. I would never know that she suspected. I would never know that she felt this way. But instead of hiding, she put it out there. She made herself vulnerable to me. To me. To this crazy lady.
And for the first time in a long, long time, I felt normal.
I also felt incredibly blessed. Because what kind of person comes to you and says, hey, I think I realized there was a problem but I didn’t know what to do and I wished I had done something and I didn’t. So I wanted to say I’m sorry I didn’t reach out. What kind of person is that honest? That vulnerable? What kind of person puts herself out there like that? I’ll tell what kind of person. One that I want on my side, in my corner. The kind of woman I want to call my friend. The kind of woman I want to be when I grow up.
See, she knew me ‘when.’ And she knows me ‘now.’ She might have watched from a distance, but she saw, oh, she saw. And instead of leaving, she has said, “I know, I’m telling you I know, and if it happens again? Oh, I will tell you I KNOW.”
That accountability is something I crave. It means she cares to stay around and that I’m not scary.
So, in the middle of a loud, giggle filled birthday party for a seven year old I was given an extrodinary gift. It was the best gift. And Kirsten? Thank you. From the bottom of my soul. I cannot express what you have given me. Thank you.
And, I see coffee, kids, laughter, play dates and giggling in our future. Ready?