Last week was a very busy, stressful, but productive week for me. As I’ve been busy, I’ve been thinking about how my clients have been doing, and wondering how they are dealing with the stress that this time of year can bring. October 31st has always been the kick off of the busy holiday season for me. Halloween….followed closely by Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and soon the New Year will be upon us.
For so many people, this time of year is filled with family closeness and fun activities. But for many more, it can be a time of stress and reminders of past or present family dysfunction and problems. Sadly, the holidays seem to bring out the worst in some families. If this has been true for you, you are not alone.
The idealistic picture of happy families gathered together celebrating one holiday after another is just that….idealistic. Most families don’t live up to the ideal. Or families may try to live up to some standard from the past….or each year try to top the memories from the year before. But sometimes reality gets in the way of our attempts to create that ideal family gathering. In my own family, last year, we kicked off the Christmas holiday by my husband coming down with the flu just in time to miss my daughter’s wedding. He barely recovered in time for Christmas Eve…at which point I became incapacitated with an abscessed molar. Physical sickness can strike at any time, and does. People struggle through holidays with loved ones hospitalized, or with surprise accidents, or with devastating losses.
In a similar way, mental health issues can flare up at any time. Holiday seasons may seem like the wrong time to seek help, with all the other demands on our time and finances. But in all seriousness, if you had an abscessed tooth on Christmas Eve, would you ignore it and just live with the pain? I know I didn’t. I called my dentist at 7 am on Christmas morning, woke him up and explained (after I apologized for the early call) that I’d been awake all night, with dental pain and swelling of my jaw. He was there for me, listened patiently to me, and phoned in appropriate medications to the only open pharmacy.
If you are experiencing relationship problems, if you think you might be depressed or have some mental health issue, call me. If you are thinking about postponing getting help until after the holiday season, I’m asking you to respect yourself enough to reach out now. If you are dealing with parenting issues, and have a child or children who are not coping well, please don’t wait. Physical pain is a warning signal that something is wrong with our body physically. In a similar way, emotional pain (depression, anxiety, stressful thoughts) are our mind’s way of sending us a warning. You can have help. It’s as easy as a phone call or an email. I am here, and there is nothing I’d rather be doing over the holiday season than helping you to feel better. Why wait until the new year to begin your healing journey? You have every right to expect professional help now. Just like me with my abscessed tooth calling my dentist, you can reach out to me at any time. I will return all calls or emails within 10 hours at most, but usually within an hour or two.
Wishing you a transformational, peaceful and blessed holiday season.