Monday, August 6, 2012

In Which I Probably Share Too Much

"Noelle, you've been ornery for a really really really long time," is what my brother said to me when I sat down in his office today.
And then he ducked his head, apparently waiting for me to throw something at him, or at the very least burst into tears.
I did neither.
Instead I put my head on his desk and said, "I know.  But life has been hard for a really really really long time."
"I didn't say being ornery wasn't justified," Ben said.  "But I can tell a difference lately.  You seem happier.  You seem more like you, and I'm glad."

* * * * *

When I had reached the point where I knew I was in trouble if something didn't change, I made an appointment with my doctor.
And I went in and told him about the last year of my life...about the stress, about the fear, about all of it, and when I was done, and had answered all of his questions, and filled out his paperwork, he sat on his stool and shook his head a little bit sadly.

"Sweetheart, you didn't really have a choice.  With what I imagine is genetics from your great great aunt Tilly, and more stress that your body can handle, you didn't stand a chance against what is a pretty serious case of depression, and some PTSD thrown in for good measure."

"And without some help, your body can't correct the chemical imbalance that the circumstances of your life has created."

* * * * *

It's been a week.  He told me it would take three or four, before I noticed that the medication is helping.
I notice.
I notice every single day.
And I wish with all of my heart that I had asked for help sooner.

When I told Jason about my appointment he said, "I won't tell anyone about it."
And at first I didn't think I would either.
But why not?
Why not be honest with the fact that it's been hard and I needed help?

"It's like I've spent the last year of my life walking along the edge of disaster, and at any moment I knew I would fall off the edge, and never be able to recover," I told my brother today.
"But now that edge is farther away.  It's not right there staring me in the face."

I feel like I can breath...truly breath...for the first time.

* * * * *

I stopped at Barnes and Noble on my way home tonight.
Em was with her daddy and I had a few minutes of alone time.
Barnes and Noble is one of my favorite places to spend alone time.

I hadn't been looking at journals for very long before a girl several years younger than me turned to me and said, "Isn't this journal beautiful?"  In her hands she was holding a leather journal.
(The fact that I seemed approachable in and of itself was a miracle.  Being ornery for a 'really really really long time' makes you somewhat unapproachable.)

"It is beautiful," I responded.  "Is it $60 beautiful?"

"No, it's only $40 which seems like a really good price," she told me.
"I'll have to count my dollars and see if I can get it."
"Oh, it's just so beautiful," she said again, this time a bit whimsically.

"Do you write in a journal or do you just collect them?" I asked.

"I fill them full," she told me.

And then she smiled and walked away.
I watched her for a minute as she pulled out a bundle of cash and counted it.

As I got in line a few minutes later to check out, this girl was ahead of me.
I heard her ask the cashier if they had any coupons running.
The cashier mentioned that if she gave them her email address, they would send her a coupon for joining their email list.

"Oh good! My email is ... " and then she asked the cashier, "can you hold this for me for a few days?"
The cashier said that she could, and the girl walked away again...but only as far as the magazine rack before she stopped to pick up a magazine.

When it was my turn I saw the journal still sitting on the counter and I said to the cashier, "You might think I'm crazy, but I would like to buy her that journal."

The cashier's eyes got big and she said, "That's not crazy.  That's incredibly kind."

She put the journal in a bag and I walked up to the girl and tapped her on the shoulder.
When she turned around I smiled and handed her the journal.
"Happy writing," I said.

"WHAT?  Are you serious?  NO! I can't take this.  Please, at least let me give you the cash I have in my wallet" were all the things the girl said almost at once.

I smiled again and said, "It's okay.  You keep your money and your journal and have a great day," and then I walked out the door.

As I was leaving I heard her say to the cashier, "I really can't believe that just happened to me."

* * * * *

As I drove home I thought again about what my brother said.
"You seem more like you, and I'm glad."

Two years ago I wouldn't have thought twice about buying a stranger a journal.
Two months ago the thought of making a young girl's day wouldn't have even crossed my mind.

My brother is right.
I do seem more like me.
And I'm glad too.
I've missed me.

* * * * *


Kristin @ Simply Klassic Home said...

I'm so glad you felt brave enough to share this with your friends. And that's what we are, friends. I have learned so much from you, probably more than you will ever know. Thanks for being xoxo

Kristyn Monaghan said...

I have been seeing someone for almost 3 years now and had the same "I wish I'd gone sooner feeling." I think everyone does. You look back and think "oh there were all these signs and I just didn't know what they were." I'm so glad that you have talked to someone and are starting to feel more like yourself again!

Angel Shrout said...

Why do we feel as women that we are supposed to be OKAY when life gets hard and things go wrong. Why do we feel the need to act as if we are okay and fear that reaching out and saying I am NOT okay will make us less. I am proud of you for taking care of YOU and saying I am not OKAY right now but I can see it coming back in my future. We are not made of steel, none of us.

The Lumberjack's Wife said...

Thank you for being so honest! I am glad you are feeling better. What a nice thing to do for a stranger. :)

Sandra said...

Do you know that I have always wanted to be just like you? You are one of the loveliest people I know, inside and out and I am so glad that you are feeling more like yourself again. This past little while has been really rough for you.

Amy said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better!

Sam said...

You are so brave, Noelle. Not only with dealing with the day to day, but sharing about a personal battle with others.

And when you bought that journal? Man oh man. I LOVE that kind of thing. I wish I could be rich so I could do that kind of "pay it forward" thing every day. You are an awesome example of a human being. :)

Kathy T. said...

Bless you, Noelle, for sharing your story. It is nothing to be ashamed of! You took the step that so many hesitate to do: ask for help. And bless you for your random act of brought tears to my eyes!!!

Carol said...

Well, the "you" you are is wonderfully kind! That young woman will never forget your gesture. Bet you were in her journal that very day!

TortugaRachel said...

Oh Noelle, I am so happy for you. I know exactly how it feels to lose yourself for a while and then the joy when you find yourself again. It's so hard in the midst of the storm to even realize you've lost yourself, but when you find you again, it's like finding a favorite blanket or sweater that just fits so right and you wonder why you ever lost it in the first place. Do not ever be ashamed of needing help. Remember, Jesus Christ died for you because He knew you couldn't do it alone and He was sent to help you. His help may not always come the way we expect, but through others, and yes, sometimes even medication, He has provided you (and me) the help we need. I am just so happy for you.

rplatt said...

I got a little teary-eyed with that story. I'm glad you are coming back also! I've missed you!!!!

elizabeth said...

What an awesome thing to do. You brought tears to my eyes. And asking for help takes a lot of courage. x

-stephanie- said...

Nothing wrong with seeking help. So happy for you that you did just that. Hugs.

I bet the first thing that goes in that girls journal is the kind thing you did for her. More hugs.

Welcome back. :o)

Bridget said...

This post just gave me the chills, the good kind. Beautiful! Just like you!

MamaMags said...

Your random act of kindness really made me stop and think about what I might do to make someone else have a better day. I am going to follow your example. Thanks for sharing your most personal thoughts and feelings. Your life has been extremely hard the last year plus, and I for one wouldn't have the strength to endure what you have. Your example helps me endure my own trials.I think you have been moved to the front of the line for a reservation in the Celestial kingdom!

Nessa said...

Aw you made me cry a little. I'm so happy that you're feeling better and more like you. And you are pretty much the nicest person ever for doing that for the girl. It made my day a little happier just reading it.

Jackie@The Cookie Corner AZ said...

Thanks for sharing! You'll never know the power of your kindness!
Imagine if everyone did one random act of kindness per day? Or even one a week? The world would change!
Jackie Lee

Megan said...

I love that you shared! It makes me love you more and want to be more aware of how I can make someones day. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you!!!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing and moving entry this is. Than you for sharing this. May your generosity be returned to you a hundred-fold!

Leslie in CA

Daniel and Elise said...

That's so cool! All of it :)

Carole said...


Ali said...

Although I have yet to meet you, I love you. I am so happy that you asked for help and you are now seeing yourself come out of the darkness that had taken hold of you. This post made me all warm and fuzzy inside and I love it!

Angee and Thom said...

tears at this time of night? you stinker! Thank you for sharing, it seems the moment you are the most raw is the moment when you feel the most and are filled.

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

My most favorite post.


Dazee Dreamer said...

You are so sweet, and I think there is no shame in being on medication. I'm on anti anxiety and it has literally helped me through some rough times.

Lisa L. said...

I`m thrilled for you. I had a near death experience 4 years ago and I sought help in the form of medication and counselling. I don`t think I will ever totally forget what happened to me, but I can function and be happy again. I`m proud of you. ANd thank you for sharing.

twelvedaysold said...

I can't get over you buying that journal for that girl. I don't normally get teary eyed reading these types of things but that keeps making me get really emotional.

It's affecting me in a good way, and I'm not sure what else to say about it. Thanks for sharing.