Can we talk?

Friday from 4-5pm is my favorite hour of the week, hands down. It has been since November, when I first met my counselor and we made Friday our day.

I remember being so terrified to pick up the phone and make an appointment. My hands trembled and I made a friend sit in the car with me while I dialed.

I’d tried counseling before…unsuccessfully. Therapy turns out to be less meaningful when a counselor looks at you in the middle of deep depression and tells you that they’re hoping to “make you better” in four sessions or less. I didn’t need a quick fix. I needed someone to listen and try to understand. I needed someone who promised to stay even after I divulged all of my deepest darkest hardest stuff. So I decided not to go.

But I got into another dark place this year. So dark that on some days it was hard to know if the light ever really existed or if it was just a figment of my naive imagination…a fantasy I’d been clinging to. Those were the days when it took all of my energy to get out of bed in the morning. I’d be driving on the freeway and fight the urge to turn the steering wheel abruptly and fly off the overpass. Those were the days where the pain of living felt so excruciating that ending it all seemed like the easy answer.

Like I said, the days were dark.

At the end of the day though, I didn’t swerve. That was January and here I am now and honestly I’m not even sure I could pinpoint a reason why. I think there are many reasons.

I have a few people in my life who I give 1000% of my heart to. By that, I mean that I am completely honest and raw with them. Unfiltered, unpolished, ALL ME. They see me in my times of sincerest joy, fiercest anger, deepest shame…you name it. They are knee deep in the trenches of life with me.

They were aware of my darkness. They knew when I was at my lowest and they entered in with me. They showed up when I didn’t ask them to. They called me when I didn’t text back. They brought me dinner and lavender soda when I couldn’t get out of bed.

They told me they loved me and then backed it up with their actions.

I’ve yelled at God a lot this year. I’ve wrestled with doubt. Not about whether God exists, but whether He is good. When you look around and all you can see is pain and death and suffering in the people and places around you, doubt is a normal emotion to struggle with, although I didn’t feel like that at the time.

Christians suck (yes, that’s the appropriate term) at talking about our doubts. It’s this weird taboo subject that we avoid because it might involve other people questioning our faith…and we care so much about other people’s opinions that we are swayed by that potential and keep our doubts bottled up inside of us, which eats us alive by producing guilt and shame.

I made a conscious effort to talk to people about my doubts.  

I started counseling again. I picked up the phone and made an appointment. I showed up despite the fact that I felt like vomiting and I told my counselor the whole truth about everything I could think of despite my fear that being completely known by someone would lead them to walk (or sprint) away forever.

We talk for an hour every Friday. We go over the week. I talk about about how I’m feelings, my fears and my insecurities without wondering if she is judging me. She validates me. She makes me feel heard and known. She makes me feel normal. She reminds me that I am human, life is messy, and we are all still learning. She tells me that she cares for me.

I walk away from counseling each week feeling heard, known, and loved. 

I’m writing this post tonight because I think all too often we fail to be transparent in the ways that we need to be. We hide behind facades and screens and we scrape together paper town lives that look real and wonderful from the outsides but don’t even exist in reality.

Mental health is a scary subject. No one wants to admit that they’re hurting and don’t know why and need help. It isn’t fun to get on the Internet and admit to however many people that I have struggled with severe depression throughout my life. People tend to get uncomfortable when you tell them that you’ve been suicidal before. The subject is swept under the rug for the most part…or people talk about it after the fact.

I don’t claim to have all of the answers when it comes to mental health. The conversation is so much larger than twenty-somethings who feel hopeless and struggle with depression (although depression is a huge conversation in itself).

More than anything, I want to be someone who boldly steps into the conversation with transparency. I struggle with mental health and I think we, as a society, need to do a better job about walking into that conversation with open arms and fighting hearts. We need to be open to what other people around us are struggling with and we need to fight for the health of the people we love.

I don’t necessarily think that friends, doubt, and counseling is the perfect recipe to finding health for everyone struggling with depression. I know people who would tell you that medicine saved their life. I know others who would tell you that they needed to change their schedules and priorities drastically in order to find health. I think everyone’s needs look a little different. And that’s okay.

Just because we don’t have all of the answers doesn’t mean there aren’t any. There are ways to move forward and care for those who are struggling, but we have to be willing to listen. We have to be willing to show up even when we’re not sure what we should give.

But first, we have to be willing to talk.





Mayer, zombies, & honesty.

Seattle broke a 122-year-old record for rain last week (ugh) but all I can think about is wearing sunscreen to prevent any more sun damage from being inflicted on my already-peeling skin.


I spent last weekend in the beautiful, ever-sunny Los Angeles laying by the beach and seeing JOHN MAYER in concert. Emphasis on John and Mayer because if you know me at all, you know that’s a REALLY big deal.

I developed a deep love for Mayer my freshman year of college. I had recently ended things with my boyfriend of four and a half years and all I wanted to do was cry and listen to break up songs. Fun fact: John Mayer has SO MANY good break up songs. I guess relationships don’t last long when you’re rich, famous, and a grade-A jerk.

Anyways, the concert.

It was amazing. So good. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and melt into the floor as I listened to him serenade me with his perfect break up songs forever. As I looked around me though, I saw something different…the dim blue light of screens everywhere. I watched a girl ahead of me record every. single. song. on her phone.

As I watched her, I thought to myself, why? Why would you go to a concert just to end up watching the whole thing through a screen?

Part of me wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. She must really love Mayer and wants to be able to go back and watch all of those videos later on. But I knew better. She wasn’t going to do that.

She wanted proof. Proof that she went to the concert. Evidence that she was cool… that she was out on a Friday night doing something fun. I watched her upload the videos to Snapchat. Those videos would be gone in 24 hours and she’d never watch them again, but she would be content knowing that her followers got to know that she was there.

I feel like I need a quick disclaimer. I took some videos at the concert and I posted one or two of them, so I’m not saying I’m immune to the desire to let people know JUST HOW AMAZING John Mayer was live, but recognizing the sea of iPhones at the concert brought up a valid question; what were we really there for?


I’m a senior communication student at the University of Washington and I’m currently taking a class about inequality in the media. My professor lectured on the new zombie craze in the media recently. Have you noticed it? I mean, it’s pretty hard to miss. Zombie games, zombie movies, zombie 5k runs…apparently we’ve become a bit obsessed with the idea of these insatiable post-apocalyptic crazies and maybe that’s because they’re a lot like us.

Now wait a second, before you tune me out, take a second to think about the first thing you did this morning when you woke up. Or how you spent your lunch break. Or what you consider to be relaxing in your leisure time. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure I must resemble a zombie when I spend my break time during class scrolling through my phone.

Like I said, we want distraction. We crave it. We prefer to spend our time thinking about ourselves and what other people think about us because that seems easier to change than our broken health care system or poverty or scarcity of resources.

And sometimes that’s not a bad thing.

This world we live in is brutal. We live in a society where people are enslaved and oppressed, where equality is preached but not practiced, where there is suffering and heartache and pain…and we are only human. Sometimes we need a break from the chaos. We need a moment to tune out and find relief. And that’s okay.

But we can’t stay in that place. We can’t walk away from the pain and suffering of reality and think that it’s acceptable.

Reality demands consciousness. It begs for our full attention. It requires action.

Distraction leads to despair. It offers temporary relief but follows up with empty promises. It tricks us into spending our time and energy on things that don’t matter. It tricks us into believing that making sure that our followers see that we went to the John Mayer concert is important or that having trendy clothes and the newest iPhone is going to make us more likable. It deceives us into thinking that the world revolves around us.

News flash: it doesn’t. The world isn’t about you and it sure as hell isn’t about me.

And praise God for that because we are fallible, fragile human beings.

What is your purpose? What is your why?

In other words- what do you care about? At the end of the day, when all is said and done, what are you willing to place your stake in the ground for?

Is it money? Name brand clothes? Expensive food? More followers? Success? Being cool?

The likelihood is that it’s not. At the end of the day, you’d probably say that lifting people up is what you care about the most. Or loving your family well. Or finding genuine joy. Or maybe you want to reflect the character of Jesus through service and mercy to others.

Whatever it is, spending all of your time thinking about yourself probably isn’t the answer.

Whatever our why, we must look at our actions and determine whether what we care about matches up with what we’re actually doing.

You see, I’ve come to realize recently just how important actions are. We’ve all heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words,” but how often do we use it as a measure for our own lives?

I recently experienced a major life transition that left me asking myself a lot of hard questions. After making the decision to step back from a commitment I’ve had for the past four years, I spent an evening sitting in my bedroom, writing down a list of my priorities arranged by importance. I then did my best to objectively write down another list- this time it was a list of actions. They didn’t match.

We must align our actions with that which we profess as priorities otherwise our souls suffer from dissonance between our deepest desires and our superficial cravings.

It isn’t easy and it requires honesty. Honesty about what we want, what type of person we want to be, and the types of sacrifices we are willing to make to become that person.

So ask yourself: what do you want?

What are you willing to give up to get it?