Monday, 21 December, 2015
For years, on concluding a series of treatment sessions with a patient, I’ve joked . . . “I have one of the only jobs I know of where I get to say ‘I hope I never see you again’ and it’s not an insult”.
It’s Christmas in a few days – a crazy time of year – the perfect stress storm for so many people, what with financial pressures, amplified family dysfunction, heightened expectations, traffic, lineups, excesses of all the wrong foods and beverages and the darkest shortest daylight days of the year. Anyone with a chronic anxiety and/or depression issue is likely to be cascading into distress this time of year.
With that in mind, I just got the dream phone call from a patient. I’ve been seeing her on and off for a couple of years for help with anxiety and depression revolving around a set of highly stressful and dysfunctional family relationships; the kind of thing that precisely intensifies around Christmas. And she just called to tell me she was doing very well this year. She wanted to acknowledge that the benefit of all the work we had done over the past couple of years was really showing up this year.
That’s my favourite proof of progress . . . when the very circumstances that normally trigger the worst flare-ups of symptoms are no longer doing that. There is no better sign that the full resilience of our body-mind-heart-spirit system is fully on-line and healthy when we can weather the bumps, bruises and storms life is throwing at us.
And my favourite call is always the call just to say I’m doing wonderfully and I don’t need you.