Welcome to Lancaster
Since the 1980’s there has been a beautiful piece of writing out in the world, but it has become more popular since the age of the internet, it is called ‘Welcome to Holland’. It was written by Emily Perl Kingsley and is known by most parents of children with challenges or special needs. Welcome to Holland tells the tale of leaving on one trip to beautiful Italy but ending up in Holland, unexpected, but still beautiful in its own right… and learning to live with the change in expectations. One year ago I planned my move to Lancaster. In doing so, I made trips here to search for homes, but never had time to truly explore. Central Market, The Fulton Theater, The Wolf Sanctuary, I always said “I can’t wait to live here to see all of these wonderful places.” In April, at the beginning of the pandemic shut-down, my family and I moved from Georgia to Lancaster County and immediately went into lock-down in an Air BnB. Our home wasn’t ready, our jobs weren’t ready, it felt like Lancaster wasn’t ready for us. It was all I could do to remind myself that it wasn’t Lancaster that wasn’t ready for me, it was Covid-19 that is keeping me from Lancaster. It was Covid-19 making me feel isolated and alone in this new place I was so excited about and had been looking forward to exploring. Covid-19 had stolen this experience away from me. I know I am not alone in the realization that Covid-19 has been a thief this past year, stealing time with family; graduations, holidays, experiences…. Joyful moments…. Health…. Lives. With that goes our sense of emotional balance. Not feeling like the world will come back into focus the way it was. How do we combat that sense of imbalance? We stay as connected as possible. If we must live in a safe bubble, make sure that bubble is supportive. Have people within it who you can talk to about what you are struggling with. If you can’t do so, find alternate ways to express your feelings. There are now online support groups, or even virtual meditation and tapping therapy apps. Assistance like MHA’s Community Mental Health Assistance Program can connect you with tele-med therapists and social workers if you need to find someone to talk to. Always remember that there will be a light at the end of this long Covid tunnel. We will have a future where people can travel to Italy, or Holland, if they wish. The wonderful thing about my trip is that I didn’t end up in an unexpected place, I am still in Lancaster. I just have to wait a while before I can experience all that it has to offer.
Caryn Thompson, CPS-P
Caryn Thompson is a mental health advocate and ally. She was trained in the state of Georgia as a Certified Peer Specialist- Parent and a Certified Peer Specialist – Mental Health. Prior to moving to PA in 2020, Ms. Thompson worked closely with the GA Parent Support Network, NAMI GA (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and MHA of Georgia educating communities and teachers throughout the state about mental health. Locally, she has been working with MHA of Lancaster County as their marketing coordinator and Community Mental Health Assistance Program Coordinator (CMAP).