some thoughts by Eleanor Silverberg,
Dementia/Caregiving/Grief Specialist. Social Worker, Speaker & Author
Who would deny that it has been a crazy year? How has COVID-19 affected your mental well-being? I recently watched a documentary about Toronto born celebrity, Howie Mandel who narrated the highs and lows of his career as a stand-up comedian and television star. It was a life altering moment when he accidently revealed on the popular Howard Stern Radio Show that he has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He literally panicked but was later joyfully surprised at the response of people suffering with OCD and other mental health conditions who reached out to him.
Howie Mandel spoke candidly in the documentary about his mental health issues. He remarked that it is so easy to tell others "I have a dentist appointment today" as opposed to telling others "I have an appointment with my psychiatrist today". This reflects the existing stigma when it comes to mental health. As we bring out this crazy pandemic year that has probably affected everyone mentally, how about bringing in 2021 with kindness, compassion, and perhaps taking the risk of opening up and sharing with those you feel comfortable sharing with about your mental well-being? Perhaps, you can be open to tell others "I have an appointment with my psychiatrist (or therapist) today". Like Howie Mandel, who accidentally went public and now is a spokesperson for mental health, you may be pleasantly surprised and find it healing.
The following words written by Donna Ashworth, author of ‘To The Women’ and ‘History Will Remember When The World Stopped’ seem so fitting to bring in 2021 under our present circumstances:
How about we skip all of the January punishment and regret this year.
How about we don’t promise to be better, thinner, more disciplined.
How about we look at our slightly larger selves and accept that this is the way, every year.
And it’s totally ok.
Maybe this year, we should not tell ourselves what we ‘should’ be doing and instead we should commend ourselves for being here at all...
We should congratulate ourselves for fighting so hard throughout this diabolical year, for facing our demons in the lockdown and for handling the waves and waves of bad news and change.
We have been through so much.
Give yourself a pat on the back and if you must resolve to do anything for the new year, resolve to enjoy every minute of your life whenever you can.
Live more in the moment.
This year has shown us that the world can change overnight. We can only rely on a few things: our friends, our family and our courage.
Who knows what next year will bring, so be kind to yourself little one.
You have done well.
Maybe this year we should just say ‘well done’ at the stroke of midnight.
Well done to us all. Each and every one.