Who ever came up with that bizarro Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer special they show every year? The one where Burl Ives is an animated Hostess SnowBall? That show gives me the willies, big time. Seriously, I turn the TV on, that’s there and I get scared. The hackles on the back of my neck stand up and I click the remote fast. Then, I flip back for one more peek to see if it’s as weird as I thought. It is. That is the stuff of nightmares and I would have thought someone would have killed it- the whole program- before this. But what do I know?
This can be a rough time of year, mental health-wise. Hoss uses his bah-humbug neck pillow for relief. How about you? My new neighbor, Jay, pointed out this article, indicating you’re better off seeing a dolphin than a therapist. I think that’s about right. We share a limbic system in common with dolphins that allows us to form
relationships and bond with other species and it’s also tied to our
strong drive to communicate through physical contact. Wouldn’t you feel better frolicking in warm ocean waves next to a dolphin than hanging out with an aloof therapist who is cranky over managed care?
For years, I dressed very professionally. I always kept the cats out of the home office. I made sure clients didn’t get a glimpse or a peep of my private life. It was all about them. Now that I’ve been at this for 28 years I’m getting a bit more lax. (Yesterday, a day when I was mostly seeing kids, I actually wore my Mighty Ducks sweatshirt. It was a big hit.)
Nowadays the cats sleep on the sofa next to my clients, I dress casually and this week, I’m taking a client poll on whether or not they think my fake tree looks remotely real. The general consensus is no. Newer clients are timid about being honest and negative but a few people I’ve been seeing for awhile have been more blunt. One of them exclaimed, "What the Hell? I always look forward to your tree! It’s the best one I’ve ever seen- and now this??"
Another person I see noted that it didn’t look particularly life-like since it has 1/2 white pine boughs and 1/2 spruce needles. I had thought that myself but wasn’t sure anyone else would notice since it looks like one big giant green bottle brush anyway. This person is very perceptive though. He’s also certain that life is pointless because there’s a big comet coming in 2071.
I’m hoping that once I get the ornaments on there will be some improvement in the comments. McCloud likes it; he’s always sleeping under it on the pointless tree skirt (there’s no water, no needles, no mess- not even much of a stand, really).
Where I started going with this is that these days I’m more of a real person to the people I see. I’m sure they have some idea that my kids can annoy me, my garage is cluttered and I’m conflicted about my new faux tree. They know the cats run the show because I’ll actually get up and let them in or out if they’re poking at the door.
Fact is, I think they appreciate it. It doesn’t feel so much like the healthy versus the unhealthy- it’s more like we’re all in this together. At this time of year that’s important. One of the worst things about depression is that people isolate themselves and tend to feel more and more alone. In general, depression is closely tied to disappointment and unrealized expectations and at Christmas time it’s very easy to feel disappointed. And the holidays rarely live up to expectations. It can be lonely with a lot of bah humbug. Definitely not a good time to feel as though it’s just you.
Here’s a bit of news that helped me feel more at one with the creatures of the Earth: A baby gorilla has been born at Busch Gardens in Tampa (named Bolingo, meaning "love" ) and today they had the new mother and son on view for the first time. The poor mother had to have a C-Section, her baby has those scrawny baby arms and legs and she’s stone cold flat in the mammary gland department. This is her second baby and she had a pretty severe postpartum depression after the first baby. (Where’s Tom Cruise when you need him?) I can relate to all of this. Nevertheless, everything appears to be in working order and the baby is nursing well and thriving under her close watch. That happened with me, too.
Sometimes, argument rages over whether we were descended from the apes or dropped, as is, in the Garden. I’m no scientist but the little bit I know about evolution suggests that we- the apes and you and me- evolved from banana slugs or some similar creature, side by side. I love being part of the Greater Scheme of Things. You?