When depression comes to visit.

Heidi's heart painting

Depression is a rude guest. It always shows up unannounced. It comes and goes when it feels like it, often at inopportune times. It leaves a mess when it breezes into town and expects you to drop everything to be with it.  It makes you feel bad for opening the door in the first place. It blames you for everything that doesn’t go right.  It’s entitled and inconsiderate. Not to mention it also makes you feel bad.

As you can imagine, a guest like that would be very unwelcomed.

That’s how I felt Sunday morning when I sensed it was coming. I didn’t get it and I definitely didn’t want it. I had just had a beautiful weekend. There was no reason I could think of that gave it the green light to visit.

I started to think about how I could pretend not to be home. Hide in my room, under the covers, or just not answer the door this time. Maybe it would get the hint and go bother someone else.

But, having a toddler at home and a husband out of town. I didn’t have that luxury. So, I woke up and opened the door. It floated above and around me.

Then it made its way in.

Maybe you know what that feels like.  The proverbial gray cloud that follows you around, it still seeps in and parks itself on your chest, attaches itself to your back, forcing you to carry the weight of it around, or it settles in the lump it cultivates in the back of your throat.

At first, I ignore it. I try and pretend it’s not there and go on about my day.  Wake up, make breakfast, and play with Ellie. Smile. Try to pretend it’s not there. Distract myself.

I’m a girl who loves a good state change-thank you Tony Robbins and NLP, but sometimes that works, and other days it only seems to entice the sadness.  Pissing it off and helping it grow.

So then it morphs into frustration. I distract myself long enough to think I’m just in a bad mood. And that works for a while, where I can just pretend I’m pissed or PMSing.

But eventually something will happen to shift me back “home” to the intent of the original visitor. I will stub my toe, burn noodles, or open a bill and WHAM! There it is.

There she is. And she envelops me. And

I let her in. Fully. Finally.

I fell to my knees sobbing in the kitchen. And my toddler was in the living room.

I heard Ellie’s soft voice through my sobbing, “What happened Mommy?” She asked.

I was tempted to say, “Nothing.” But instead I said. “Mommy just got sad.”

“Mommy just got sad?” She echoed.

“Yes honey. Mommy is sad.”

“Here.” She said scooting our little Chihuahua closer to me. “Want to pet Milo?

“Thank you” I wept petting Milo.

Ellie began to rub my back and play with my hair, “You pretty hair, mommy.”

“Thank you Ellie.”

“You fine now?” She wanted.

“Mommy’s still sad”, I still needed to cry.

“Want to go color? Come on Mommy” She grabbed my hand and led me to the canvas.

As I sat, crying and coloring with my daughter I felt so blessed that I could cry and that I didn’t need to run to the bathroom or suck it up to protect her.

I feel blessed that she can see the value in seeing a feeling through.

What she taught me was how to remember how to be a good hostess.

When sadness comes to visit, sometimes there’s immense value in just being present for it. Not being mad at it, but welcoming it and asking it what it needs or why it’s here.

Before, I would do anything to push sadness away. I would try and drown it, or medicate it, or sleep it away. But today, I showed up to meet it. And there is a lesson in every tear.

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