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Conclusion and Part 2 - Conversation with Ms Gardenia

Well, here we are...Cheers to the month of November, 2022! Do I dare ask if you are making preparations yet for the holiday season? Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away!!! And, it has been made known to me that turkeys may not be so "available" this year...just thought I'd pass along a word from the wise...

So, I wondered if you have a sense about the photo today. Does this scene look inviting to you? OR a bit haunting? I chose it for the colors first, but I really like it for other reasons. I am curious about where this path is leading around that bend...I would love to walk this path, but with a friend or my husband, as it seems strangely mysterious? Care to comment? is part 2 of my conversation with Ms Gardenia. What comes next from our meeting is a little more emotionally charged as, once we moved past all the revelations and positive decisions she has made, there was a shift. I want to say that when people feel that they trust the person they are talking to, it does something for that person. It allows them to feel free to open up and be vulnerable. For the person listening, it is really important to maintain respect, to listen without judgment or to criticize or challenge. In this time together, I was not looking to drive the conversation in any certain direction; it was to give her audience to hear what her perspective, concerns, opinions, etc. were. So, I felt really appreciative when she changed directions and gave some substance to a few new issues she deals with.

Ms Gardenia used the word "noise" as she described her SAD symptoms; her own particular brand (those with SAD have different symptoms). So the "noise" for her is described as: the effort required of her to be connected with people is too much during her season. It feels like she is "playing ball" (pinch and hit). Often to ease the guilt that comes after not wanting to work that hard leads her to retreat and "go silent". One scenario she described made so clear the struggle to maintain community with others is the conditional exchange at a huge emotional expense for her. She expressed that she feels so misunderstood because, at her core, she likes and enjoys people. A few have stated to her personally that they feel she is: conceited, stuck up and snooty. To dispel those "misbeliefs", however, her initial defense was to try and be more social. I found this really heartbreaking and wonder how many people try to "fix" what other people think of them, by working harder to be someone they are not. I want to acknowledge that, unless people in her life, in your life...and mine understand the need to curtail socializing and withdrawal, it makes sense that others might misread the change in behavior. So there is also good reason to talk about the symptoms to those around you (including family/relatives). To be understood means helping others to understand. Awareness and education go a long way to keeping and maintaining relationships.

Ms Gardenia summed up her life to say this: "Coupled with the reality of a turbulent and challenging life means that there is a preference for easy company; one on one time with a good friend who is aware of my boundaries and makes no demands to "perform or pirouette", is really good medicine". I would like to add that her demands at home with family and the recurring dilemma of seasonal depression create the necessity of being educated, (not only as the one with symptoms but also for those in her circle as well).

I want to thank Ms Gardenia so very much for this opportunity to listen and learn the good, the difficult and the necessary required for life to be healthy and to thrive!!!

I hope you found some insight and perhaps a little understanding for yourself, should you have a symptom here and there that seeks to pull you down. We are entering a change in seasons, not just weather related, but a couple of months of serious holiday celebrations...or even a challenge or two. Perhaps it might be time to chat a little about just that topic!

Until next time, good on you! Jeanine

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