Thanksgiving Let Down
I don’t know about you but I was unprepared for the chaos that erupted in the valley on Friday after Thanksgiving.
I stopped by the office Friday morning, planning to get in a few hours of work before heading to Montrose for the White Friday festivities. But it was 12 hours before I was able to make my way home.
The first I became aware that something was wrong was the sound of helicopters circling Foothill Boulevard just before 5 o’clock. Mary O’Keefe quickly made her way to the Ralphs Marketplace where sheriffs were already on scene. Soon after we received a call from one of our drivers whose mom was inside the CVS, one of the stores in lock-down.
Over the next several hours, Mary would call in her story and I would “blast” it out to our readers who are signed up for the blast zone. (Being in the blast zone is a free service provided by Crescenta Valley Weekly. To have emails sent to you of breaking news, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add your email address to the blast zone.) Of course the Crescenta Valley Weekly website was continually being updated and we “tweeted” information as it was received as well as posting on Facebook.
The hours were tense as we waited to see how the situation would be resolved. Around 9:45 p.m. the stand off between the Santa Clarita man and law enforcement ended when the man shot and killed himself in the Verizon store.
I was so sad as I made my way home around 10:30 Friday night.
Then Monday, tragedy struck our valley again when a man in his 50s leapt off the Ocean View Boulevard overpass onto the Foothill (210) Freeway. Though he initially survived, around 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday he died of his injuries at Huntington Hospital.
Our proofreader Anne commented that these incidents are sad reminders that the holidays are not joyful for everyone. “The omnipresent pressure to be festive, love and be loved by family, and spend lots of money is torture for those who are severely depressed and don’t feel festive, don’t have loving family, money, a home, a job, etc.”
Yesterday I received something from Geisler Patterson Law that reiterated that the holidays are not jolly for everyone:
“I always get depressed over the holidays. Depression over the holidays is quite common. For many like me it is a reminder that family members are not all with us. My brother died the day after Thanksgiving so that day will always be sad for me. My father died 10 months later and holidays have never been the same for me. At the holidays our meals always include some who did not marry or do not have children, and at times even those whose children are far away since I know how lonely the holidays can be.”
The author, certified elder law attorney Martha Patterson, outlines steps that can be taken to combat depression. These include recognizing that it’s okay to be sad, but put a time limit to do something that will help focus on anything but the depression. She also suggests eating well and avoiding too much sugar or alcohol as they can increase symptoms of depression. Finally, she reminds readers that the shorter, darker days are also part of depression and remember that soon the days will get brighter and you will feel better.
“You are not the only person who feels depressed; there are many of us smiling on the outside and sad inside, and you are not alone.”
Her last words of advice are especially poignant: If you find you don’t want to live or have thoughts of killing yourself please seek professional help!
I applaud Martha for her raw honesty in putting out there her own journey with depression. I hope that we all can take something from her wisdom, whether in dealing with depression ourselves or helping someone we know and love get through this time of the year.