A Twist to the Holidays
Serious times have hit and now throw into the mix – the holidays. We are all going through something that is so unusual, so desperate, and how in the world can we feel merry and gay? The holidays have always been the time to share our hearts with loved ones, give gifts, and plan for a prosperous new year. It feels like this pandemic has put a stopper to this.
What was your progression as you navigated through this past year? As a counselor, I’ve heard and seen a lot and went through my own process. According to Kubler-Ross and the Stages of Loss, there is a normal progression that takes place. First, we deny what is actually happening, then we get angry, then be bargain about things, then we get depressed, and lastly, accept what is happening.
When we initially had all these restraints placed on us, I know that I amongst others acted out and refused to wear a mask, trying to make-believe this thing wasn’t taking place, nor it would happen to me. Then came the bargaining believing this virus was just like the flu and wasn’t that bad and should run the same course. But it only intensified and continues to do so. In all actuality, it seems like this pandemic is picking up some steam. I think this may be the depression time for many – not being able to share the holidays like we normally do. I am still battling to not accept this pandemic is that severe – especially with the vaccine now being utilized. It seems like the last-ditch effort to rise above this situation once and for all and get back to the old normal of going to concerts, ballgames, the movies, eating in restaurants, and not hoping that the person at the nearby table may infect me or my loved ones.
When I personally look at what we are all going through, I can’t help but think about our children. They have been asked to stay away from friends, not go to school, be social, avoiding birthday parties or any large gatherings. What a shame. This is the time for our kids to learn social skills and not how to tolerate lectures on Zoom. And my God – Halloween. That was a downer. I only had a trickle of children coming to my door for candy and when they showed up, they found a dish with candy and not a strange man who dresses up like a Disney character gladly doling out the goodies. Now it is Christmas, a holiday that has the most magic of all.
As a child, all I wanted to do was celebrate Christmas since I grew up in a Jewish family. Christmas had songs and cool cartoons on the T.V. and showed the happy family that I didn’t have in the first five years of my life. When my mother left my abusive father and remarried, my sister and I convinced our new step-dad to get us a tree. The first Christmas that we shared marked a new era in our family. One that was light-hearted, full of love and laughter.
My Step-Dad was and still is great at age 91. He was Jewish also and aimed to please so he gave in and purchased a Chanukah Bush and had that sucker flocked, and decorated with only blue ornaments. This was amazing and it only took a year before we had a full-color tree and lights outside our house!
As you can imagine there is a special feeling in the air when Christmas comes along. My mother, sister, and I had a second chance, as a therapist, I am aware of how fortunate I really was that it was for only a few years, for many it can seem lifelong.
That electricity for me is somewhat tainted – which is natural after almost 60 years of watching the same old Christmas shows and displaying the age-old ornaments. They simply don’t have the same excitement they once had when I was a child. But for many children, this is their holiday season to enjoy and honestly, with so many deaths and the lack of funding, many children are simply happy to eat.
Way back in 1991, on Christmas Eve, I had just had a huge business breakup and had no place to live. I just moved out of an apartment I shared with my business partner. It was a time for me to recenter and focus on what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. This was when the magic of Christmas hit!
My sister Kris and I ended up talking late that Christmas eve night, talking about life. She was the only one of my siblings left, being the youngest – about 12 years younger than me and I felt a lot of compassion for what she had been going through. Her world was different than mine, more rigid and monitored, while mine was more carefree and silly. I even brought this up to her stating, “Somebody should do something for your generation to bring more laughter and fun.” Then it hit me. I was always the one who passed the buck and wanted somebody else to do the grunt work. When this thought hit me, I asked myself why not me?
In 1992 I enrolled that spring into college to pursue a career in Psychology. I blame Christmas on that choice because to me it has always meant so much and in so many ways. Yes, I had converted to Christianity which is another inspiring story, which had nothing to do with the holiday trimmings but for the real meaning of the season.
I am hoping for an inspirational season to show up for myself, mankind, and especially for our children. Okay, so we don’t get the big gatherings, the hugs, and music that dominated my youth, but we do have each other to get through this ordeal together and hopefully, some of that Christmas magic will appear.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry. We are here virtually and in-person to help you get through this COVID-19 pandemic and many other difficulties you may be experiencing.
May you have good mental health.