NEWSFLASH: Covid-19 destroys another special event and threatens the balance of an anxious mind….or does it?….
Here we are four weeks into the lockdown and many of us are getting used to the changes and restrictions, and beginning to form ways around them or new ways forward.
I thought I would write about one such event close to my heart. Why is this more special than any other? In truth it isn’t, but through the eyes of a caring young pretty teenager, it means the world. It shows how expectation, connection and laughter can improve mental health and wellbeing.
Over the Easter weekend a very special young lady turned 18. A big party was planned, with lots of food, drink, friends, family, music and much dancing…..all planned and all cancelled. It was known in advance of course and fully understood.
It can be a wonderful and useful thing….and cause huge disappointment, low self esteem and anxiety when it does not come to fruition. Factor in the emotions and interactions of your average 17 year old and you have a potential perfect storm. We gave her a date and time to connect (without the main details), we did some sound and video test scenes and of course she was able to arrange some makeup and hair play at home. Careful and secretive chats that she could glimpse ramped up the excitement and expectation in a good way.
We are social creatures. Even the shyest friend I know can talk for ages in the right place and right moment. Whether we have a few connections, many or tonnes, the feeling of being involved and part of something important enriches our lives. Don’t get me wrong, a quiet moment without the kids to enjoy my book or the sun is awesome too, but the lockdown has definitely effected many people without being able to see or hug their friends and family. Regular video and voice calls, cards and letter, texts, emails and chats from the end of the path can make such a difference. Even a video call during a much anticipated end of season TV program gave us a sense of connection.
How low do we feel when we are sad, tearful, disappointed and lonely? Compare that to when we feel happy, smiling, excited and enjoying our friends and family. I use comedy a lot in my practice. Sometimes I’m not aware of my dodgy jokes and sometimes they are just spur of the moment remarks, but even the most anxious or fearful person manages a smile or chuckle. What if we were watching a top sitcom moment, funnies on YouTube or watching our nearest and dearest trying to dance? Laughter is the best medicine.
So what happened?
Family over four locations decorated their houses with banners, balloons, photos, flashing lights and party music, all in secret. The men had showers and shaves, spiked (or smoothed) hairs. The ladies went to town (in the bedroom of course), with their hair, make up and perfume. Then everyone got in to their special party outfits, loud shirts and nice shoes (yes even shoes).
A cake was made and all the cards and presents assembled. The joys of next day delivery be a certain large supplier and another helpful tech company connected us all.
321 - Happy Birthday!
She had her cards and presents, there was cake and singing, many drinks consumed and dancing began. A few games thrown in and even the dogs got involved. No-one was left out, special party dresses got worn and fun was had by all. There was even a multi-house conga and a “cheese fest” of party music including the birdy song and YMCA!
Expectations met, Connections had, Laughter infectious.
In the midst of a global crisis, with so much going on, one inspirational and determined young lady got to smile, have fun and laugh while she turned 18 amongst her nearest and dearest.
Us British are a funny lot. We queue, we drink tea, we moan about the weather (even if it is too hot, cold, wet or dry), but push us into a corner and we pull together and come out swinging.
We will come through this stronger, together and ready to develop our lives in a much better way than ever before. Until then, we will still have those precious moments and memories together.