Dear Dr. Sohail,
Christmas, one word, one day, that brings to mind many feelings, memories and obligations. Peace on earth, good will towards men, joy to the world, and Santa with a sleigh full of toys. These are pretty high goals to achieve, especially for a season that now means increased stress and anxiety for me trying to meet everyone’s expectations of the holiday – the perfect presents wrapped and under a beautiful Christmas tree, endless food, delicious cookies and the happy gathering of friends and family. Somehow along the way I became responsible for providing this to my husband, children, parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, as well as nieces and nephews. I accomplished it very successfully for quite a few years, not so much recently.
Dr. Sohail, I hate Christmas! I get so angry at this time of year. I’m tired of hearing how wonderful Christmas is. I’m running out of patience with the unending pressure to buy presents for people who need nothing, whereas people in need receive precious little financial aid to buy the necessities of life. I’m tired of being treated discourteously by rude sales clerks. It’s especially difficult to have to listen to peoples’ plans for wonderful family get-togethers. Why do I have to put on a happy face at Christmas functions, when I prefer to go home, lock the door, and forget about Christmas completely? I hate the gaudy Christmas lights and trees, the inflated snowmen with vacant smiles, and the morbidly obese Santa’s that try to convince me that Christmas is a happy, fulfilling time. This evening, my anger almost pushed me over the edge. In a fit of rage, I threw a book violently across the living room, and then savagely ripped it in four.
When my anger abated and rational thought returned, a sobering thought came to me. Is it possible that it’s not Christmas I’m really angry about? Maybe Christmas amplifies my dissatisfaction at how lonely and meaningless my life has turned out in my retirement years. I’m starting to realize that this bitterness is not serving me well. It alienates me from others and actually fuels the loneliness I’m trying to escape from. And worse still, by emphasizing what’s wrong with my life, it damages my self-esteem. It would be of greater benefit to think of ways to brighten up my life instead of railing against the shortcomings of the Christmas season. As Helen Keller so eloquently advises, maybe I could, try lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness.
As a student of psychotherapy and a practicing therapist, I realized that most books on mental health were written for health professionals. However, I wanted to write books for the average person who suffers from anxiety and depression, and marital and family problems. I was interested in creating a self-help program to focus on emotional and relationship issues. The Green Zone Philosophy and Green Zone Books are the result of that wish and our gift to our patients and their families.
Green Zone Philosophy inspires people to create a happy, healthy and peaceful lifestyle for themselves and for their dear ones, that we call Green Zone Living. In one sentence, Green Zone Living is peaceful living. The Green Zone Philosophy has already helped so many people through our clinic. In our community there are many doctors and nurses, psychiatrists and social workers, who refer their patients to our Green Zone Clinic. No wonder we have nearly a one year waiting list.
After working as a psychotherapist and helping patients and their families for more than thirty years, I have come to the realization that there are many people all around us who are suffering silently because of their emotional struggles and social challenges. Sadly, only a few get the help they need.