So you want to start therapy...
Ha. No. Not really. But this "thing" keeps getting my attention-- and it won't let me go. I suffer from migraines, but what? Many women suffer from these. In fact, many people suffer from migraines in a way that is much worse than me. Isn't it genetic anyway? My father and my grandmother suffer from them.
But yesterday morning, while I was minding my own business, I felt this need, almost as if a voice was calling, saying, "Stop drinking coffee." Yeah, well. Hot chance that will ever happen. The aroma, the energy--nay--the joy of this ritual every morning is a gift to myself. I do so little for me. Joy is good.
But then, I read an article in the local paper that links the caffeine in coffee to depression in some women. Well, okay. So maybe I suffer from what some might call depression. That too is genetic, right? It's part of the hand I was dealt. Come on-- let's not be all mamsy pamsy about suffering. Every one has something. So I made myself an espresso.
The afternoon came.... so my mood was low. But depressed? Nah. I think I'll go get some coffee as an afternoon treat.
Excited with the anticipation of joy, I go to the local coffee shop. They know my name, I won't lie. But would you believe it? As I was waiting in line, I overheard a conversation between two women. What were they talking about? That the caffeine from coffee causes, in some women, the worst kind of menstrual cramps. La-la-la not listening-- la la la! I'll have the double shot of espresso please. la-la-la-di-dah.
I'm feeling great again. I feel invigorated by my individual strength at not taking on other people's issues, which I so often do. Yeah, so I get cramps... okay, they are bad sometimes. But is it worth giving up coffee for the sake of a few hours of pain? I think not. I am strong. People can be so unwilling to suffer these days.
But then, having stealthily combatted the forces of the universe thus far, I turned on the 11 o-clock news. And the third story was not about pandas, or Uncle Ricky's Pizza, or repairs being necessary on the 405. No, it was a report about "how, for some women, [and this was the death blow] new research has confirmed that the caffeine in coffee causes migraines." Yes, for some women... again.
Okay fine. This "thing" is calling. I'm not deaf. What, are you going to tell me that coffee also cause deafness "in some women??" (Uh-oh, who am I talking to...?)
What if I stopped drinking coffee, and I actually felt, um, good? Instead of wrestling most days with some sort of fight: whether it be against depression, menstrual cramps or migraines. Sometimes it's all three-- that's a doozy! I surrender. Once I stopped (it took a few tries), I did in fact feel better. Most importantly, though, getting coffee out of the way helped me look deeper inside me to find me, a much better joy than coffee could ever give me. I suppose, looking back, I decided to suffer the real pain, rather than the one I could control through coffee.
And I did that through therapy.
Do you have a "thing" that keeps getting your attention, and won't let you go? It can be as seemingly mundane as coffee, or it could be a recurring dream? It could be a word that keeps popping up on screens and billboards... Anything really. The Universe, or God, or "the Cosmic Muffin" as Anne Lamott likes to say, tends to be eerily (in an awesome kind of way) personal and particular to us, perhaps even speaking our own language so we get it. All I know is that it tends to be for our good.