I’m sitting in the lobby at surgery having an internal hissy fit because I cannot get my wireless to work. Ironically I don’t even need to get online. I have come prepared with two bags filled with at least four books, a journal and my camera – the bags are heavy with options! My thoughts alone could keep me busy or at least entertained for hours but instead I’m angry that I cannot get online. A sad commentary of the state of my mental life.
Note to self: never wait in a healthcare office without headphones. I forgot how badly this bothered me when my dad was ill and we had endless waits in the hospital as he was treated for his brain cancer.
Hell, I hate the clatter associated with the comings and goings in a doctor’s office. A moment of total honesty — Humanity’s cacophony gets under my skin. With the nurse’s numerous interruptions as they are fetching folks in and out, the cable television blaring unceasingly, the elevator’s chimes, and boring conversations on cells phones as people make arrangements for their day. No, I don’t want to talk to the elderly woman with a novel protruding from her red pleather bag. So she chats with the stay-at-home mom who has already introduced herself and has already mentioned her four sons and that she is waiting for Kevin, her husband. I am also annoyed by the two loud women, (it is much too early for loud or conversation) obviously friends, whose smoker’s voices are husky and grating, their tracksuits and year-round tans are simply strange and irritate me. I have no patience. Stale coffee smells. Everyone is nervous, chatting with the companion who drove them. Their voices annoy me, made even more so because I cannot resist listening to them and that pisses me off. The only one that sounds halfway interesting is the gentleman on the phone speaking in Spanish who cannot reach whomever he needs. He shakes his head in frustration.
This place is depressing.
And all the while my baby girl is in there, knocked out cold, having an invasive procedure on her face. Sinus and Adenoid surgery and I am thinking about the fact that I never made that call to my friend Mark about natural remedies. Perhaps if we had done that, changed the phlegm level in her head, she wouldn’t be here today. I suppose one can always second guess. I know I will.
It is likely that I am so irritated because I am scared.
This day has been three years coming and here I sit at “the Holy Grail” because we are hoping against all hope that this resolves the consistent sinus infections that have plagued our thirteen year old daughter for years. I cannot imagine what it is like to live in constant pain. It makes me work extra hard to be patient with her, to understand that her frequent moods may not simply adolescence.
And I wonder, what is it that makes me withdraw into myself here in the waiting room pissed off that I cannot connect to the internet?
Perhaps I am simply too introspective.
I think — I amagine — that I am in control of my children’s worlds. And this week I have one under the “needle” and the youngest has traveled to Florida for a trip to Disney with Grandparents. The truth is I have no control over these circumstances.
Finding a small consolation in the knowledge of my impotence, I begin to read an essay in Not Alone by a young (I’m assuming) woman named Laura Droege.
It is a distressing story and once again I feel anger that a person can suffer for so many years and the very people who should have helped – parents, teachers, doctors, pastors, therapists and friends – all left her alone in her mental illness. Why? What is the meaning of this and how is it that we are so unable to understand when someone struggles with an illness such as this. Something needs to be done to educate the public, I am especially interested in Christ-followers knowing how to help those they love when they come up against someone with the troubles that Laura faced. Something must be done for people who live for decades with suicidal thoughts, obsessive behaviors, wish for self-harm, depression, and the never-ending feeling that God has abandoned you.
Something must be done.
I wrote my story to help others, but as I was doing that I realized that I could barely say anything in 2000 words.
The challenge to the Church is clear, it is there in the stories of the forty people in Not Alone who shared their experience with depression in that small tomb. The question is how will the church respond?