I am not depressed. I've been there, done that.
This is not that.
This is not the soul-numbing pit of grey despair with no end in sight.
This is simply life being hard.
I find the small joys in every day. There are many. I pay attention.
I’m not talking about the “big picture” things – a roof over my head, food in the pantry. I am thankful for those things every day. I don’t take them for granted, but thankful and happy are different things.
I’m talking about the small things. The things worth smiling about.
- Making a dinner that actually looked like dinner (meat, veggie, salad) that everyone liked.
- Listening to the eldest happily jabber on while she did the dishes.
- Getting in my van after vacuuming it and enjoying the lack of grossness.
- Scheduling coffee with a friend, and confirming that I get to work with some of my favorite people for three days next week.
- Realizing that I had just told the dogs to “HOLD” when I wanted them to freeze. And having them actually stop. I laughed out loud at that one.
It is now a habit for me to take a moment and acknowledge the small joys as they happen. A good habit for anyone to cultivate.
There are days that aren't so good.
Days when it is harder to see those small joys.
Days when I’m overwhelmed by my life and the things are missing from it.
Last year, I dealt with it on my own, internalized it. Not a very healthy way to deal with things; it led to stress piling on top of stress, which wasn't healthy.
Friday was one of those days.
As I pushed through the stress and despair, pulling the comforter off my bed for the third time that week because the damn cat peed on it again, I stopped.
I stopped. Physically. I let go of the comforter and it slid to the floor .
I sat on the edge of my bed and stared in the mirror.
I’m creating a peaceful place in my room. If you distill down what makes me happy, you’ll find it in my room. A bookcase full of old friends, books I've read so many times that just looking at them makes me smile. Trinkets, treasures and memories that make me happy. It's not done, but the bones are there.
Looking in the mirror I could see all these things.
I could see my Camelot quilt with the friendship and support written all over it, piled next to the bed where I’d been working on it the night before.
I could see the button snake my smallest had made for me, the pet rock my boy made “You rock mom. Get it?” and the mason jar full of pretty feathers my eldest had collected.
I could see pictures spread across the dresser where left them as I tried to figure out which ones to put up in the frames I had, and which ones could wait until I found new frames.
I could see the love and support.
I closed my eyes. I could feel it. I just needed to ask for it.
When I opened my eyes, I was looking at my hands in my lap. Looking at the small rose tattooed on my wrist. Remembering a conversation I’d had with a friend after getting it done.
I've learned that I have support from many people. It’s there, I just need ask.
I wanted some support from this friend. A friend who has been an increasing support throughout this mess, but that I hadn't talked to in a while. I hadn't ever asked them for support, it had always just happened organically.
wanted needed this friend’s support.
Realizing that there was no way for anyone to know I was struggling unless I told them, I put myself out there.
I reached out. I took a chance that I wouldn't get a response.
I sent a text.
I felt better just asking. I honestly didn't expect a response.
(If you don’t expect anything from anyone, then you can’t be hurt or disappointed.)
But I had asked.
I also knew there were others I could talk to, if this friend wasn't there.
But I had asked.
A huge step for me.
Actually asking for help.
I felt like I could keep breathing, I could keep moving.
About an hour later I got a response.
I could hear the words they had written. I could feel the shoulder to lean on.
And that’s all I needed.
I took a deep breath. I could do this. I am a remarkable woman. A strong person.
All day I kept rereading the text, remembering our conversations, taking strength from those words.
I found the small joys Friday.
Saturday was easier, and Sunday better yet.
My heart is not bursting with joy, but one day it will. Until then, I will continue to see the small joys. I will continue to remember that I am not as alone as I feel, and that I have support.
And I will remember to ask for it.