I met my friend Patrick for coffee yesterday.(1) It was a rainy, blustery, cold day up here in the mountains. Patrick is a very interesting man. He is maybe 70ish. He is both American and French. He was born and raised in France but came to the U.S. in his twenties. He has had a very interesting life to say the least.
As we sat there in the coffee shop he almost could not stop talking. I am not complaining as I am not a big fan of listening to myself speak. Its not that I don’t like my voice, its that repeating what I know already cuts me off from learning. I learn more with my mouth closed.
What I learned during the couple of hours we spent sipping espresso and coffee was that Patrick had had a major breakdown a few years ago. He thankfully had not lost everything But he was just coming out of a depression. He was grateful that I had invited him for coffee.(2)
I also noticed that he had a similar experience to mine with his family surrounding his depression. A couple of his nephews, who he invited into his business, were apparently working to take away his business from him.
What do I glean from all of this? Is it that much of the abuse in our culture is perpetrated on those who are ill. Abuse is perpetrated on those who are physically ill as well as emotionally ill. My experience is not the subject of this blog, but needless to say a “family,” member took advantage of my wanting to be fair when I fell into my depression.
What sucked is that I could not fight back. It is not that I could not afford to protect myself, its that I did not have the psychological will to do it. It sucks to write and read this but it is true.
I did not give Patrick advice. After learning of his situation, I just listened. He was talking because he needed to have someone besides himself hear his trouble. All I could do was tell him I heard him and if he needed to chat about this I would love to meet for coffee again.
We all want to be heard. Our fucking isolated world leads so many of us to not have anyone else to hear them. I am so grateful for my friends, almost all of them made because of my time in A.A.
123 RV, SA, WC, JM, AF, PA, SR and say a prayer for the Colonel
* My friend the Painter I call him(since we are anonymous here so as not to violate the 11th tradition) sent this to me the other day when we were texting back and forth about a mutual friend who is/was suffering with a major bout of depression. I pray I can live up to the Painter’s words
(1) We met at a wonderful newish coffee shop up here called Infused run by a dynamo named Jamie! If you are ever up on Cobb or Loch Lomond check them out. Infused is in Loch Lomond. There is also a great coffee shop called Mountain High Coffee which is in Cobb
(2) I gave him some Peets “Ethiopian Super Natural,” coffee. You could see the joy in his eyes when he smelled it. Apparently the French are snobs when it comes to coffee, TOO!