[Ninth installment  – If you are new to this journey, start at the 1st chapter in my 8 months pregnant with 2 broken legs journey as chronicled in my book Say Bump and Take a Left, How I Birthed a Baby and a Business after a Huge Bump in the Road.]

The response from first time spectators to our current family sport were pretty typical.  They would start with the standard sympathetic, “Awwwwww . . .”, and quickly turn that into a smirk, and eventually a giggle when they saw the commode.  This entire response was repeated from the beginning when they saw me attempt to walk.  At the time, I was appreciative of the company and caring of the few brave souls who ventured from their own busy family lives to enter my solitary, hilarious, monotonous existence, so I didn’t mind the reactions.  My welcomed visitors also helped me clear away the oppressive cyclone of emotions that I relate to being depressed.  If I could temporarily divert my energy into entertaining my guests, rather than entertaining myself with the numbness induced by watching paint dry (aka, daytime T.V.), I could also temporarily divert the winds of my depression cyclone.  Things like depression cannot exist without secrecy and solitude.  I am sure that the same can be said of other life altering, destructive behaviors such as addiction, abuse and oppression.  If you ever find yourself giving in to the emotions that lead you to choose one of these behaviors, or are living with someone else who does, call someone, knock on someone’s door, GET OUT!

If, like me, the person with whom you share your deepest confidence is right there in the thick of it too, talk to as many of your friends and family members as you can.  This will help show the true character of those around you.  The ones who look at you with that shocked, “OMG, I’ve got to get out of here!” look are to be immediately removed from your Christmas card list.  Simply show the door to those few relatives whose solution it is to move in, take control of your life and ‘make it all better’.  These are probably the same people who encourage or display those destructive behaviors I just mentioned.  The rest, as long as they don’t call the local mental hospital unless absolutely necessary, can be counted as true friends.  Hopefully, someone will shine through and help.  I truly believe that when you are ready and willing, help is always available.  As I tell my now 9 year old Riley, “We can’t help you unless you use your words.  Fortunately, I don’t have ears that can hear your thoughts.”

Luckily, I had a few good friends that came by occasionally, brought meals and took Evan for play dates.  I didn’t have any close family members except those to whom I would gladly show the door, and my mother-in-law was busy healing herself with my father-in-law stumbling through their household chores, so Duane and I hopped along this journey alone together.  Another situation that would probably have been faced by Romeo and Juliet, I’m guessing.

Visitors were always shocked to see our sparkling clean house, Evan’s neatly laundered clothes and our fully stocked pantry and ‘frig.  Duane walked this, “Road less travelled” with the same manic dedication to the tasks at hand that he did when I went into early labor with Evan, only there wasn’t any bark to be shoveled.  Instead, he tackled the grocery shopping, laundry, dusting, vacuuming and commode duty as if his life depended on the successful conclusion of each task.  Every time friends came to help, the only chore available was sitting and talking with me.

Gee, Darn!

~Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom