Thursday, August 28, 2014

When you can't follow prompts

This week was eventful.

A pipe burst around midnight on Monday to start off the week right. A little water damage gets things rolling.

There was the always favorite: relationship confusion. Everyone loves this but I typically choose not to write about the single life because either I'd have to change the name of the guys or my own name. And that's just way too confusing to keep track of.

I went over to my friend's house on my lunch hour to try and connect with her but she wasn't home. I heard a beeping sound and thought I set off her alarm (I have a habit of walking in people's houses unannounced). Frantically, I called her and she didn't pick up.

Side note: My parents got an alarm because their house got broken into a little while back. I thought the same thing would happen, that within minutes the police would arrive.

The police never came. I found out my friend doesn't actually have an alarm.

Once again, for the second week in a row, nothing I'm writing about has anything to do with the prompt for five minute Friday.

I'm okay with that.

This is the best I can do. But don't feel sorry for me because I got to swim by myself at my neighbor's pool tonight even though the awkward check-in guy kept eying me because he knew I was pretending to live there.

Over here, the calendar still says "July." Well, one of them. Promise. I haven't turned it yet. It stays summer a long time in North Carolina. I know you thought it stayed summer a long time, but I mean a long time.

The radio announcer told me today that fall is coming but I don't believe him.

I guess the seasons do change and we have to turn the calendar and the pools close eventually and how come every year I have to write several odes to summer starting and ending?

Question (s): Do you ever feel like your life does not follow a prompt even when you are given one? Do you ever feel like it's easier to break the rules on paper than in real life?

What month would you keep on your calendar all year long if you could?!

linking with kate for five minute friday for (a stab at) reach

Friday, August 22, 2014

Finding your voice, pizza and not talking about change

Today's five minute Friday prompt is change.

Of course it is.

Here are the words I told my friend before she left my house, exactly five minutes ago.

"I don't like change much." -me

You know what I do like? Create your own pizzas. In theory, anyway. Tonight, the guy at Whole Foods let me choose my own ingredients and my favorite kind of cheese. He was bored, perhaps. He said he had never made a pizza with feta and goat cheese on wheat crust with broccoli and mushrooms. Weird combination, but it sounded good at the time.

Create your own pizza sounds good in theory. But in reality, it tastes about as good as it sounds, especially since it's not what they usually make. I can't actually complain because I was delighted that someone gave me so many options and did not find this order strange or complicated -- at least not to the untrained eye. But, maybe sometimes more options is not better?

I'm not sure what pizza has to do with change. I think change has to grow on me, again and again. Like weird pizza. I got three big slices, and I still have extra in my fridge, so there's time.

It seems like I would rather talk about pizza than change.

That and I lost my voice for awhile. I think I'd like to talk about that, too.

I lost my voice. Literally. It was weirder than the pizza. People I talked to on the phone didn't recognize me. Funny because I had been looking for my writing voice again -- I was afraid it was getting lost somewhere in the sea of my current state of life. Maybe things needed to recharge. My voice is back now.

If you've ever lost your voice, either kind of voice, maybe you've wondered if it wouldn't come back. Maybe your voice got scratchy and six octaves deeper than your actual voice. No?

So, it's been a little odd around here, but you know, there's always a story.

I'd love to hear you talk or not talk about change from your corner of the woods. And if you ever think your voice has gone lost, literally or figuratively, but you're still dying to speak to the world with whatever muffled sounds you can let out, I understand. I will do my best to listen close.

linking with kate

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Getting out of the bubble...and thank you Patch Adams

I wish we did more about mental health everyday.

I wish I didn't only talk about the seriousness of my job to a few people and the fact that in my work I see kids -- kids! -- who are hurting enough that they sometimes feel like the best solution would be for them not to be here.

Suicide is not a foreign word that I only hear about when something happens to a beloved celebrity.

Still, my heart hurts for the loss of Robin Williams as I know many others do as well.

It seems surreal and the world only looks more broken from the outside looking in.

What about on the inside looking out?

What if talking depression and suicide and taking kids to the hospital and safety plans was a normal day? I don't talk about my job like it's any more sacred than anyone else's. I just wonder sometimes if God has graced me with a burden for something that runs deeper than seeing headlines and causes me to ask a lot of questions.

The whole thing scares me, honestly. I knew Robin Williams struggled at times throughout his life, but I've never been one to follow the personal lives of famous people much. I always loved him as an actor though. His wit and unashamed humor was mysterious to me, and I secretly aspired to be him, his Patch Adams persona that is.

Ironically, I'm getting to live out that dream a little bit now, but it's not all clowns and story time. I never actually thought it would be. I knew if I worked in a medical setting and regardless of where I did counseling, I would still see people who struggled in all kinds of ways. My goal isn't to make them laugh, even though like Patch, I use humor to heal. I mostly want them to have space to grow and be encouraged that things can change.

It's so hard for so many. And the continuum is so large. While I don't think I have experienced depression in a clinical way or to where my life has been severely altered, I've experienced times where it's been an offshoot of other things going on. I can remember a season of my life where I didn't laugh. Me, who loves to laugh, above most things.

The continuum is large, people. We need to get out of the bubble we're living in. I don't talk about this much. But it's important, and it's worth struggling through with the people in your life, it's worth asking hard questions, it's worth listening. It's worth staying when you want to go.

Whether it's in your job or your home or the corner of a coffee shop with your closest friend, every day, not just a day we hear about it in the news, should be a day that we ask how things are going. And sometimes, the best thing we can do is to not have all the answers but be willing to walk alongside someone who is struggling.

There are no quick fixes to make the pain go away after such a death. It saddens me. I am not minimizing it. I am thankful for his life and his work even if I did not know him.

What I can do now is think about those in my life and not wait until the next time the headlines we fear are local news.

When someone comes and talks to me, one of the things that concerns me most is what their support system looks like. How have they gone this long without talking to anyone? There are so many more complex issues about mental health problems and yes, we all know the stigmas. 

But, in my own experience, it took that one person, one friend willing to step out when things were bad, before they got worse, to say this couldn't go on.

Can we not just pray or talk about it, even though these things are great. Can we meet with people? Can we help pull them out of the pit even if they say 'it's all fine?'

It can't just be a counselor who sees you every week. That is a start and a first step for sure but it can't be the end.
It can't be the end.

Be reminded, if you are hurting, that when you feel trapped, there are people who want to come around to surround you. This is a good post when we want to look past just the words. And this one. You see, friends, because real people struggle or have struggled. There is hope.