To Our Patients With Gratitude

I am struck by the patience, strength, and determined spirits in you, our patients. As Thanksgiving passes and we dive into the busy holiday season, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from and to grow with you.

The Covid-19 situation hit us hard. We hear every day about the rising number of infections, increasingly restrictive and isolating protective measures, and the growing acuity of psychiatric symptoms. Anxiety has nearly doubled in people in their late 20s during the pandemic. Familial conflicts are accumulating as we quarantine in close quarters, especially when our old supports and coping strategies become harder to reach. Most of us are lonely, irritable, worried, and overburdened. We feel less safe, our sleep becomes troubled, and we are more tempted by our vices. It becomes harder to control our tempers and easier to lash out at those who do not respond to our needs for time, space, support, and safety in the ‘right’ way. As a very wise child patient said, “Covid sucks.” All of us have had to face changes, weather losses, and make sacrifices in light of the pandemic.

And because of all this…

…you have welcomed relatives, friends, and neighbors to share your homes and your lives, often in spite of your own financial uncertainties. You have embraced multiple, simultaneous full-time roles as parents, partners, teachers, camp counselors, coaches, members of the workforce, and caregivers. You have adapted new routines, learned to savor simple pleasures, and gained the humility and courage to reach out to others when you needed help. You have comforted and supported your loved ones through their physical and emotional struggles, despite your own trials, and often, in the face of your disagreements with each other. You transitioned to remote learning, working from home, and online appointments, despite countless technical difficulties. You have found innovative new ways to celebrate birthdays, holidays, graduations, and so much more. You have learned new skills, picked up new hobbies and refined old ones, replaced favored activities with creative opportunities. You have prioritized the health and safety of your loved ones, even while overcoming personal and external pressures.

You are amazing, wonderful and resilient–and you have, and will continue to, persevere. It is an honor and privledge to be given the opportunity to work with you and your families, to have snapshots of your daily lives, your struggles and you triumph. Seeing your hard work and resilience is inspiring, and I am amazed by all that you are accomplishing. As Emily Dickinson wrote “hope is the thing with feathers.” As we fly together past the storm of Covid-19, thank you for letting us be a part of your flock.