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Honoring My Mother | A Long December

ALAS, for this generation onward, the advent of December and Christmas for that matter, will be like no other. Yup, no need to declare it officially, the celebration of Christmas will never be the same. That might sound funny coming from a baby boomer from the fifties, but the truth is, our memories of Christmas, as with other generations until the ones belonging to the present time, will always pale in comparison to your 2020 version.

Hopefully, things will “simmer” down, and people will have already been used to the changes, even if the pandemic had altered our lives forever. Things still remain to be seen, how we’ll all deal with social distancing, especially at Christmastime. For pinoys, family time is basically hug time, so this may prove to be a problem (or a painful and difficult change).

Already, for people I know, a lot of apprehension has come as the fateful day nears. This however will never compare to the reported air of depression that had slowly begun to overtake the yuletide winds. Truly, mental health, as perceived many months ago at the start of quarantine, will be dealt with a bad hand, a deadly effect resulting from all this.

Already, many have innocently become burdened with overthinking, and most often, everything starts from there. The uncertainties of how to cope, especially for poorer communities will double as days continue on, even as aid begins to trickle. Through all this, all may be limited to our physical needs. How do we deal with and help to ease the mental counterpart?

I remember during one post-typhoon disaster relief sortie, psychology students have gone to assist the rescue teams by holding therapy and play sessions with children in ground zero. With actual contact discouraged today and all school activities turned virtual, this may not be feasible today. However, a similar approach may work.

Unlike first world economies that already have in place solutions for dealing with depression and mental health issues related with emergencies, ours is still at an early stage, although this description is vague. The overall consciousness is not even quite there among the population. How goes it pinoy?

As December rolls in, it is a fervent wish that authorities and private institutions also deal with this growing problem. While Covid remains as the main concern, the silent effect depression and anxiety have on everyone’s psyche cannot just be placed aside as secondary priorities.

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