My mental health journey – May is #MentalHealth Month

My mental health journey
My mental health journey – recognizing that I am stronger than I know…

Why is it that when we have a physical ailment, we feel free to go to the doctor? Yet, when we have a mental health issue, often times we don’t seek help.

There is a stigma around seeking mental health treatment, and it is killing us in many ways: broken souls, suicides, abuse, stress-related illnesses, substance abuse, etc.

Continue reading “My mental health journey – May is #MentalHealth Month”

Broken Hearts and Christmas

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“Somewhere there’s someone who dreams of your smile, and finds in your presence that life is worth while. So when you are lonely, remember it’s true: Somebody, somewhere, is thinking of you.” – Unknown

Christmas is the season of hope and miracles. Festive lights and decorations are everywhere. There is absolutely no escaping it. No matter where you are, music is playing. Wishes for snow and gifts are plentiful. To-do lists and errands seem miles long. Hustle and bustle. And exhaustion – all in an effort to have everything “perfect.”

For weeks I have been asked: Are you ready for Christmas? Are you in the holiday spirit? Don’t you love this time of year?

No. No. And this year, no.

For the record, I am not a Grinch. Most years, I am as wound up as a five-year-old waiting for the big day. Though no longer a child, I do believe in Santa. On Christmas Eve, I search the sky, looking for the jolly ol’ elf. And I believe in Christmas magic and the hope of this season. The Babe in Bethlehem is my Salvation.

But I am not really into Christmas this year.

I have freely admitted this to many people, and save for a few, I am greeted with shock and horror. Some people look at me like I am crazy.

But I am normal. And I don’t need a therapist and I don’t need an anti-depressant.

I just need people to understand that, for me, this is a difficult holiday season. I am going to smile. And I am going to laugh. And I am going to cry. And those tears are healing. Those tears are okay.

Christmas will be different this year. That doesn’t make it bad – it doesn’t make it good. It makes it different. I never wanted it to be different.

I wanted it to be perfect.

At some point in our lives, how we celebrate Christmas changes. Children grow up, family members move, dads pass away. Maybe, for the first time in my life, I really have come to understand that there is no such thing as the perfect Christmas.

I overheard a conversation that resonated with me. Two women were discussing the emphasis on to-do lists, and shopping and baking, “all for one day.” The older woman hit the nail on the head – that the emphasis is on the wrong place.

“All you need to be ready for Christmas is to be surrounded by the ones you love.”

Yet, this year, there will be very dear ones missing from our celebrations – but because of my I love for them, they will be in attendance, for they are always close in my heart. Always.

Undoubtedly, Christmas will be different. Acknowledging that difference and that I won’t do all the same things this year relieves me of some of the pressures of “perfect.” I won’t have to pretend I am happy if I am having a sad moment. Different will make previous memories more precious, and new moments memorable.

Different will give me an ever greater appreciation of what I have been blessed with, which will go a long way towards healing my broken heart.

Different will also force me to look outside of myself and share with others – hard as that may be – even if all I can do is muster up a smile or be polite.

Maybe different will cause me to become different – but in a good and more thoughtful way. Maybe it will give me a greater compassion for the lonely, the hurting or for those experiencing loss.

Maybe, just maybe, different will one day feel perfect.

“It is the personal thoughtfulness, the warm human awareness, the reaching out of the self to one’s fellow man that makes giving worthy of the Christmas spirit.” – Isabel Currier

How are you helping yourself or a loved one this holiday season?

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb