Often people come to therapy with hope that they will be relieved from some sort of internal pain. At times we can create coping skills, broaden perspectives and re-write endings. Those are the best case scenarios and when you self-medicate with food or being busy or whatever your choice method is, it may be it easier to change those methods of behavior. At times we have pain that we cannot fix and has no end date. You know the pain that creeps up… when it is quiet- such as with grieving a loss, having unresolved personal conflicts or dealing with traumas. We need balance for serenity and yet when there are things that are unresolved or chronically part of who we are it can be hard to relax, get quiet because it is often those times that our behaviorally masked issues can creep back in. I know that if this applies to you, you are likely hoping that I have a magic answer to give you and quite frankly I wish that I did. I know for many these types of scenarios can make holidays have a somber covering and like they said in “This is Us” every happy moment always has a saddness when you are missing someone. That being said- avoiding happy moments disrupts the balance between happy and sad and you always need both. Isolation keeps you only in the sad. Talking about these issues, honoring the feelings sitting in the feelings will make them more maneageable and shorter term. Past can not be erased but it’s effect can be less intense. These can be triggers that derail us when we do not deal with them. As the holidays approach I hope that you can seperate from shame, allow the balance to be part of the holiday rather than the reason that you do not wish to partake. I wish you the courage to embrace your pain and to use it as a platform for growth and not a sheild of armor that paralizes you. Deep this is, but it is important to say. I wish eveyone a happy holiday season as it quickly approaches and a big hug to all that this applies to. I am grateful and fortunate to know many who now do the dance between sad memories and living in the present. Thank you for your teachings- you make my job everyday so rich and rewarding.