Monday, March 9, 2015

The Melting of Snow and Sadness

There are times when I get so inside myself I don't know how to come back out. I hurt. It's only expected, of course. Ask any parent who has lost a child and they will tell you the hurt never goes away.

I met a 91-year old woman who lost her son when he was 11. She told me not a day goes by where she doesn't think of him. She remembers him as if he were here yesterday.

You can, externally, appear very put together. Very well adjusted. Very okay. Possibly even very thriving. But sometimes, sometimes the hurt is too much to bear.

It might last seconds, like when triggered by a smell. Or minutes, like when triggered by a song on the radio.

It might last an hour as you flip through the pages of a photo album remembering with great fondness that time you went camping.

For some, the hurt pulls you down and holds you hostage for days, weeks even, sometimes months, threatening to never leave.

Sometimes the only way to escape is to talk yourself out. But family is tired of hearing the same sadnesses repeated and friends are busy and the therapist was on vacation and is now scheduled two weeks out.

And it's tempting to feel defeated. As if the sadness is winning by an overwhelming margin. And it's too late in the game to make a comeback.

I remember sitting in my car in front of a man-made lake. Just staring out. It was such a beautiful, beautiful day. And I was 22 and had a baby and the father fluctuated between nonexistent and threatening and my paycheck didn't pay for anything and I was constantly reminded of what a mess up I was because I wasn't in college getting my degree in marketing or economics and I felt alone and like a failure and I was tired, so very, very tired.

And I sat looking at this beautiful water, reflecting back the rays of this incredible golden sun, wild flowers blooming all around. And it was so incredibly perfect that it made me remember how incredibly tarnished and ugly I felt.

And I just wanted to be done. Done with everything.

Done with the 3 a.m. phone calls that I would never see my baby again. Done with the snide comments that no one would ever want me now that I had a kid. Done with feeling like a leper every time I walked into my church. Done with electric bills that went unpaid and water that kept getting shut off and formula that was too expensive to buy. Done with feeling absolutely alone in this beautiful world filled with beautiful people.

I just wanted to be done. To just not feel it all anymore.

I closed my eyes, started my car, and backed out of the parking stall.

And I headed home.

I can't say it got easier. Not overnight. In fact, it got harder. Life did. Much harder. Custody disputes, crazy new wives, braces and glasses. A sham marriage and a ridiculous divorce. Moving from apartment to apartment. Taking on two jobs, then three. It was hard.

But I kept doing it.

And I don't know when it was exactly, but one day I happened to be driving by that man-made lake and I remember thinking, "the last time I was here I was so incredibly depressed it threaten to keep me. I wouldn't let it."

Maybe I was too stubborn.

Or maybe there was still this teeny, tiny speck of hope that still glowed from deep within. One that I couldn't see at the time but somehow just knew was there and knew that if I kept putting one foot in front of the other there was a small chance it would finally ignite and my darkness would be illuminated. And I would finally be able to see truth.

Because depression lies.

Deep, loud lies.

And I, somehow, without grand knowledge or great fanfare, had made a comeback.

A quiet, slow, inch by painful inch comeback. Like a man learning to walk again after a stroke. With the physical therapist beside him, encouraging him on. You're doing great today, sir! Look at you! Much stronger than you were yesterday! My, have you got the fighter spirit in you! 

How important it is, that encouragement.

And I think that if more people made it a point to be bold and tell others about the good they see in them, maybe, just maybe, those truths would drown out the lies we hear in our heads.

And I think that if more people made it a point to be bold and speak truth out loud and write it on someone's Facebook page or send it in a card in the mail, or leave it on a note in their coat pocket, then maybe, just maybe, those truths would drown out the lies we hear in our heads.

And I think that if more people made it a point to be bold and say, "hey, I see that you've been riding that person really hard lately and that's not right" then maybe, just maybe, fewer and fewer people would think it's okay to be purposefully demeaning to others. And maybe, just maybe, that respect would drown out the lies we hear in our heads.

The sun is out today and the snow here is finally beginning to melt. My prayer is that everyone's sadness and depression melts away, too. But just as the snow needs the warmth of the sun to melt, so sadness needs the warmth of family, friends and especially strangers to melt.

So, starting today, go out at give three honest, heartfelt compliments to someone you think might not hear them as often as they should. Post on their Facebook page. Stop them in the hall. Leave a note on their desk.

Be the sun to melt someone's sadness. Because that encouragement will light the way for someone else's comeback.


Brenna said...

The thing I'm going to do is share this with the friend who just now posted about how depressed she's been feeling lately. xo

Mellie said...

Bridget, I know you know I've had some of these struggles as well. It's hard to put one foot in front of the other when it feels like life keeps sucker punching you. And yes, it gets to that point where you don't even want to keep talking about it even if people want to listen because you get sick of yourself at that point. Ugh. It takes special people to lift you up, and sometimes it doesn't even take that much. A friendly smile to remind you that you are worth more than you realize. someone noticing that despite your struggles, you are still fighting to stay above water. :)
I love that you posted this. You are amazing and I love you. Just love you. Anytime you need to be reminded that someone cares, call me, I'll get the chicken suit out and we can laugh our worries away for an hour.
Let's spread some laughter and some joy-what a great message. And most importantly, hope. Let's be ambassadors of hope. Without hope, we have nothing. I am hopeful every day. :)