During recent months we piloted additional Frazzled Cafes in various cities across the UK and last week we launched an ongoing, bi-weekly Frazzled Cafe in Brighton. This now runs alongside a bi-weekly Frazzled Cafe in London that has been going since July. We will be launching more during the next 12 months, in those cities we piloted and across the UK. Sign up to the Frazzled Cafe Information List to find out more and to be sent invitations to register your interest.
I envisioned and hoped that these cafes would be a safe place where people could remove the armour we need to wear to survive and talk from the heart, rather than that mind numbing cocktail chatter. Either it's so mundane you're put in a coma or they yabber on about what they would do with the Syrian situation. Everyone's an expert. They know better than the world leaders because they've read "The Week".
At the Frazzled Cafes we have cut the bull and gone right to the heart of the matter: we need to talk...as humans. The state of being frazzled has gone pandemic. Everyone feels the stress of just being alive. There are those who thrive on stress, the rest of us are frying from just trying to pretend we're having a ball.
Frazzled isn't an illness, it's the syndrome of not being able to stop those churning thoughts; that we're not doing enough, not good enough, that we're riding by the seat of our pants and we're going to get caught. The culture we live in has such high demands, many of us feel we've let ourselves down no matter what we accomplish. We feel we have to keep our weaknesses hidden which ramps up the pressure even more. If we lived in a remote, medieval village we'd only be competing with the other villagers - who gets the alpha male, who owns the most cows. In this culture, because we know everything about everywhere, we're competing on a global plane so, of course, we can never win or feel worthy against those odds.
I've got to thank Marks and Spencer for opening their doors to host the Frazzled Cafes and serving coffee and cookies. (Just like AA but better cookies).
Last week, I went to an on-going meeting and was amazed to find how closely knit the group had become. Many of them said that just by knowing they had a place to go every two weeks made life easier. I was hit in the heart by the compassion these people had for everyone there. How intensely and patiently they listened to each other. When we're bonding we're at our best. This is how we're supposed to live; caring for each other. That's how we survived this far. The problem is that now we're all isolated, families disperse and you're lucky if you know the neighbours. And even with family and community, people don't really want to hear how you think or want to know your feelings. Just a nod and, "I'm fine, how are you?" is good enough.
If you want to be the first to know about new cafes as they are launched you can sign up here.
This isn't a walk-in, it's a talk-in so there will be limited number of invites to each meeting. The group is led by a facilitator with a background in counselling or mental health. We then follow a format; everyone who wants to talk has a chance and if you just want to be there and say nothing, that's fine. I haven't ever felt so safe and happy to be with a group of like-minded people. Finally, a place where it's OK to not be OK.
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