We live in an interesting era. The internet. Smartphones. Uber. Netflix. But our problems are ever the same. Nixon is back in office. People think the world is flat (don’t get me started). Fears of war with the Ruskies. These are crazy times. Some things are scary. Anxiety inducing. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and a desire to stick our heads in the sand. These feelings are valid. You’ve had them. I have them. But, working with the mentally ill has given me a different lens. One that makes me thankful for my life, my family, my limited abilities. I’ve learned that I am indeed lucky.
I was born with that little bit of random good fortune that landed me in the good resort in life.
Whenever I speak with a client about their decisions, their struggles, and their perpetual “lack of motivation” the answer always seems to be something akin to feeling they are always having to tread water; struggling to get, well, anywhere. I just don’t know what it’s like to be in a constant internal battle and fighting against life itself. Sure, I get lazy, or sometimes feel down, but I’m not drowning. I’m lying by the pool with beautiful water, complaining about the cloud that is messing up my tan, and the glare of the sun on my smartphone. I don’t have their very real and unjust circumstances. I have superficial problems.
Don’t drink the water! It has hepatitis.
They had that little bit of bad fortune. The kind that nudged them to land in the bad motel in life. They have to go through seemingly impossible and constant hurdles. They get their room checked for bed bugs. And a man is selling crystal meth in the lobby.
I’ve learned there are some people born into the shitty motel next door. The one we ignore. You know, the one with the hepatitis ridden pool. With brown/green water and band aid floating around in it. And not only are they in that terrible pool, but it’s raining, and they are just trying to avoid drowning. On the way up? They dodge the drug dealer and take the stairs. Me? I’m one of the lucky ones, that does have some stress, but often complains about first-world problems (my ipad isn’t charged and I can’t watch The Leftovers. Seriously though, watch The Leftovers). I can ride the elevator up. I worry about money, sure, but I try to be thankful. I have clients that don’t know how they’re going to feed their kids this month. Food or the electric bill. How would you decide?
We all know someone that has these struggles. That just couldn’t get ahead in life. It’s often frustrating to watch, because we can get motivated within our circumstances. Some of us can “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps”. Others simply can’t. They are just trying to tread water.
“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.”
-C. G. Jung