Monday, May 16, 2016

We're all mad here (An introduction)

I don't necessarily adore being a barista at 5 am every day. But every day, I see my regular customers. I know their lives. I sense their pain. And I understand that (especially) the difficult ones are difficult because of the pain they live in. Emotional. Physical. Mental. And something in me knows that I may be the only person who looks them in the eye and listens to them today. I may the only one who notices them for something other than what they can offer at their places of employment. Several of my customers get hot chocolate or decaf coffee every day, and I speculate as to whether it's just a daily thing because they know I'll ask and listen about their lives. And so often, I witness someone being shy or embarrassed to share with us. Wanting to talk about what's on their mind but afraid that they're weird and the only one going through whatever mud they're tromping through. My most commonly said phrase with everyone all day is "Oh, you mean you're suffering from that being human thing, too?" And then we all laugh. I watch them feel accepted by that one phrase. I see their shoulders drop an inch or two. And I know there must be so much truth in that simple sentence for so many people to drive away feeling peace, bravery, and a sparkle after hearing it. We are all human. We are all messes. As the Mad Hatter said in Alice in Wonderland, "You're mad, bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret......all the best ones are."

Guess what? I am in school to be a Psychologist. And I suffer from depression and anxiety. Strange. A little mad. But truth. I dealt with it for years in the past. I thought I had been completely healed from it-the last season has been good and any tough times were largely due to the circumstances around me and not so much my mental and emotional state of things. I'm told that I'm known as the continually positive bee buzzing around work and school. But this year, I was hit very hard with depression. In a way I haven't experienced for a LONG time. I've been hiding in silence and in my schoolwork. Cutting myself off from a lot of my world. Having insomnia. Always anxious about my future. Broken over my present. Worn. Driving in the country late at night with my sunroof open and Hillsong blaring until I feel the bass rattle in my bones while I sob. Because who wants to admit that while they're in school to be a therapist, they're sometimes feeling bonkers themselves? Who wants to admit that there's some serious pain and struggling happening? Who wants to be the one not doing well, needing to get their spark back? Who wants to fall off the pedestal of being so solid and strong and put together spiritually as a missionary or leader in ministry? Not me! It makes me squirm to admit it or talk about it to others, even though when it's their struggles, I'm happy to listen and talk all day without feeling awkward. (Yeah. I chose the right field to go into.) I don't want to talk about mine. I don't want to admit to it.....Except when I look into the eyes of my customers, classmates, and fellow believers. And I see that they, too, all struggle with something. Because it's so true.....we're all mad here. 

That theme seems so silly and Disney. But I have been thinking, pondering, talking, and journaling about it. And I believe I have a lot of things to say. A lot of things I've learned and experienced. And if done right, I think I can say things in a way that will have us all laughing and learning at the same time. Finding similar ground and similar joys in the journey. Feeling more connected. Feeling less like the only one. So let's give it a shot. Consider this the Preface. Let's see what the chapters that follow hold......