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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Opinion: During this season of celebration, you are not alone

Courtesy+image%2FShutterstock
Courtesy image/Shutterstock

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, or to be the one to offer it this holiday season. You may be blessed or be the blessing.

By Rebecca VanGorder
The Today Editor-in-Chief

Thanksgiving is a time to gather and be grateful. Christmas is the celebration of Christ coming as a baby. Hannukah celebrates the miracle of light for the Maccabees. 

There are so many holidays in so little time that call to mind celebration, gratitude, family and friends, and feelings that release an inordinate amount of dopamine. 

It is good to reflect and celebrate; it is hard too.

Many people have experienced, directly or through a friend, broken families, dysfunctional relationships and sentiments of the feeling of being an outcast. I myself am the black sheep of my family. Part of that is my choice; most of it isn’t. I’ve accepted that role and generally wear it with pride, but the holidays are hard, and pride is a crappy balm for a wounded heart. 

I am blessed to have an amazing husband who loves and supports me in every way that matters (I’m still fighting for a pygmy goat) and would fight the world to protect me from every hurt. My kids are pretty awesome too and incredibly loving, if not always obedient and tactful.

That’s where family effectively ends for me. I grew up in a household of six most of my life, and that grew to nine after my parents adopted three of the boys they had fostered.

I was used to big family holidays with guests added in for spice. I was used to hustle and bustle and an overflowing Christmas tree. Mind you, with that many people it was usually one to three presents each. 

I loved the controlled chaos that was my holiday season growing up. I was close with my parents and would come back to visit for Christmas when living out of state. 

A few years ago, the rug was ripped out from under me, and in the span of a little over a year I lost my entire family. When I say lost, I don’t mean death, which might have been easier in a way. I mean that I have no contact with either of my parents or any of my six brothers. I lost support systems I thought were indomitable. 

Since then, I have had to learn to rebuild my ability to have relationships where people are allowed close enough to hurt me. I’m still learning. 

Throughout life’s education, I have come to learn that I am not alone in so much of this: The dysfunctional families. The broken families. The blended and mending families. No one is ever truly alone. 

A friend tentatively invited my family for Thanksgiving, and whether or not it works out that my family and I go, I am so grateful and blessed to have a friend that would reach out like that. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, or to be the one to offer it this holiday season. You may be blessed or be the blessing.

If you need help

Who: Wolfpack Wellness Center has counseling services available.
Where: Located in the CIHHI building room 174
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
Info: Phone (719) 549-2838
Appointments are required, but emergency appointments can be accommodated. Services include: individual therapy, group therapy, massage therapy, Acudetox, Heartmath and Mental Health Monday.

EMERGENCY CRISIS AFTER HOURS ASSISTANCE: (719) 549-2838
 
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