Any mail from Regence sets off a defensive reaction: they must be saying no to something, or sending you a massive bill. But Regence is worried about me. Regence wants to be sure I am okay.
Dear Member, it opens. Already, validation: I belong to something greater to myself, and have the paper to prove it.
The Holiday [sic] season is upon us. During the fall and winter months, stress can be at an all time high high. It is important to take steps to reduce the feelings of being overwhelmed or depressed. Consider the following tips to make this time easier[.]
In its inimitable way, Regence wants to help and is telling you so, leaving behind a peculiar aftertaste. It’s perfectly rational to presuppose the holidays are a bad time for many people, but to me it seems overbearing to send them mail about it. I’ve never found a Christmas card inscribed with take your meds, which is more or less what this letter is.
In the few days the letter has been on my table, I have increasingly wondered about its motivation. The insurance company is looking after its fiduciary responsibility, which just happens to involve human beings who are flawed, if not chronically broken. But it bothers me that the letter turns the holidays into pathology. Could it not be that sadness and unpleasant reflection around this time may not be the shiniest thing someone would want, but are in fact a normal part of being human? Do holiday blues have a procedure code? An entry in the DSM?
I know this time of year the crisis lines tend to glow brightly with use, shrinks and therapists are booked solid or unavailable. We pull up things from the past to beat ourselves with, allow others to make their unrealistic expectations our own. TV is high-def shiny now, titillating the oldest parts of our brains that, like children, just don’t understand reality is different.
It’s okay. If you are bummed, overwhelmed, sad, freaked out, lonely, jittery or sleepless, you are not alone. I have been there, was there, could be there now. But it is still okay. You can walk downtown and see the lights, watch the kids on the carousel, pet a sleigh horse. You can look at the model train in the Macy’s window and enjoy its windup frenetic zip. You can walk and hear the people, sit among them. You can be here now and see the lights for what they are: lights, symbols of spirit, a brilliance we wretches all still have. You can tell yourself that no matter what is happening and how good or bad things are, it really is okay. There is always someone to talk to. If you want, talk to me.
Do keep up your meds, though.