I started writing this blog over a month ago now.
Every year, as we move into the fall season and the trees start to change colors and the days become shorter, I write a seasonal blog post to bring awareness to Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) as well as strategies to prepare and cope with it. When I started writing this year, my working title was “S.A.D. is here…are you ready?”
However, in an unexpected twist, I found myself wholly unprepared for the tragic and sad events that took place on October 7th. The day when my homeland of Israel was attacked, when innocent civilians with babies, children, youths and elders among them were brutally murdered and taken hostage.
Regardless of where you stand geopolitically, the loss of so many innocent peoples’ lives and the violence of the attack left me, my family, my family of friends, and the whole country of Israel in shock, in deep pain, and in acute grief. And in additional to the terror of the attack, the war and violence continue.
I feel deep gratitude for all of you who reached out to me with care, empathy, and to offer sympathy to my country. For a month now I have been frozen in grief, not able to reach out or to finish my blog. When we are grieving, life can feel like it’s been reduced to only what’s necessary to survive.
As I’ve started to write again, this post has taken on a different name: SAD in So Many Ways. The sadness of innocent lives lost, of the loss of hope for peace, and of being caught between governments on both sides that do not care about their citizens.
In Ester Perel’s recent blog post, Reading & Writing in a Time of War, she talks about coming together with each other in times of grief.
‘Despite all that is splitting us, we are trying to really see each other and connect through our humanity. We talk about our grief, how our feelings aren’t binary, how we agree more than disagree. We talk about the people who are experiencing the hell of war on the ground—loved ones, friends of friends, and strangers—and how we can help them. We are not turning away from this conflict, we are turning toward each other. As Peter Levine says, “Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathic witness.”’
She also gives advice about how to approach this conversation.
‘ – Try reaching out to someone in your life whom you know is close to this conflict.
– You don’t need to make a point.
– Keep it general but heartfelt.
–“My friend, I have been thinking about you and wanted to affirm our connection. There is so much to say about this war but, right now, I just want you to know that our friendship is important to me. If you ever want to correspond more about what is happening or just about life, I am here”
– Release yourself of the expectation to get anything in return. this is a difficult time for so many and we are all processing it in our own way.
– What matters is that you show you care.’
There are no winners in war,Filippo Grandi, head of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR
but countless lives will be torn apart.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
And while feeling all of the sadness, I still want to speak a bit, on Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it’s impact.
As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, fall leads into the darker portion of the year in the northern hemisphere. Along with this shift into the darker months, some of us will experience mild or even sever changes in our emotional states. Even if you’ve never suffered from depression, you can experience symptoms of S.A.D.
It’s important to be aware of S.A.D. so that if you are impacted, you can take steps to find the support you need. Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year. Treatments for S.A.D. can include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy, and at times supplements such as Vitamin D or medications.
I have been so grateful to have my therapy practice to lean into in these times. Being with my clients in the office gives me a sense of hope and purpose, a feeling that regardless of what is happening, I can still contribute to making the world a better place, one hour at a time.
Big News: Hold Me Tight® Costa Rica
Many of you have followed my Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshops journey. You have seen me offer, facilitate, and lead successful Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshops here in Nevada City, CA, over the past ten years. Earlier this year, I decided to take a leap and push a new edge for myself; I booked a Hold Me Tight® Couples Retreat, this coming May, at the beautiful Imiloa Institute in Costa Rica.
After the tragic events in Israel and seeing my homeland go through such hard dark times, I’ve had a difficult time sharing about this retreat, feeling the stark juxtaposition of such a joyful experience, against the reality of so much suffering.
However, I’ve realized that now, more than any other time, we need connection, and we need to heal, and we need to find ways to reignite our belief in love and life.
And so, I want to invite you to share this new adventure and challenge with me at our next Hold Me Tight® Couples Retreat in Costa Rica at the Imiloa Institute. Join us for 6 days, May 18-23, 2024, to share, and to reignite your relationship, in the magnificent healing beauty of Costa Rica; in the midst of a lush jungle with toucans, sloths, monkeys, butterflies, and your partner.
Once again, I am feeling immense gratitude to Dr. Sue Johnson on whose work Hold Me Tight® Workshops are based. She embarked on this journey of figuring out couples relationships and broke the code for “‘what it is to love,” discovered the obstacles to secure attachments, and pioneered how to form long lasting bonding connections with our loved ones.
Owen Marcus, MA, author, workshop facilitator, co-founder of EVRYMAN, and TEDxTalk presenter on Masculine Emotional Intelligence, will once again be co-leading this workshop with me. (Owen’s TEDX talk).
Owen brings with him the width of decades of leading and facilitating men’s group all over the country, helping men access their masculine vulnerability. Owen’s presence, and his work with couples and men, will enhance this upcoming Hold Me Tight® retreat.
We are looking forward to share this Hold Me Tight® Couples Retreat and are happy to answer any questions you might have during a free consultation. Please fill out our brief questionnaire to ensure we tailor this consultation to your needs and help us make the most out of our 30-minute session together.
We are offering a 10% reduced fee for early registration.
Fill out a brief questionnaire to book a free 30 minute consultation for more information.
Please do not hesitate to contact me privately by email at email@example.com, or call or text my cell: 530.218.2721.
In gratitude and love to all of you,
Hold Me Tight® is a registered trademark of Sue Johnson, founder and originator of Emotionally Focused Therapy.