How the Grinch Found Christmas: From Sneer to Cheer

“NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!” the Grinch exclaimed. “It’s all I could hear until I learned to stop being mad and let myself feel good.”

The Grinch had spent years despising the holiday season. Retreating from everyone due to depression and acting out in anger driven by anxiety, he pushed away anyone who cared about him. “I was really quite unpleasant to be around,” he admitted. “But I’m working on it.”

Last year, his little friend Cindy-Lou Who noticed that the Grinch was acting even more irritable and sinister than usual. “I stole her Christmas tree,” confessed the Grinch. “Let’s be honest, I stole her tree, every present, her stocking. Heck, I even took her family’s roast beast they were going to fix for Christmas dinner.”

But, even though most of Who-ville thought the Grinch was pretty awful, Cindy-Lou knew that the Grinch was having an even harder time than usual. She alerted her parents, who called Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center’s crisis department.

Although the Grinch resisted help, initially, he finally consented to meet with SEKMHC’s crisis team. Almost immediately, SEKMHC started to work on wrapping services around the Grinch, realizing he was struggling with severe depression and general anxiety and attempting to reconcile a traumatic childhood that left him feeling abandoned and alone.

He started working weekly with SEKMHC therapist Dr. Sandy Sue LaRue, learning to talk about anxiety and attempting to open himself up to positive interactions. “I realized that I needed to give people a chance,” commented the Grinch. “Sandy helped me to see that happiness is available to me. For years, I’ve committed to being sad and alone. I convinced myself that others were excluding me, when, in reality, I was pushing them away.”

After nearly a year’s worth of work with Sandy and weekly meetings with case manager Jed McDodd, the Grinch is ready for the holidays this year.

“He’s worked hard this year – and, he’s stepped out of his comfort zone to do things he really didn’t want to do,” said Jed. “I think he got mad at me a few times, but he kept plugging along, working toward his goals.”

The Grinch has started to pop into Who-ville for a few groceries and a quick lunch – instead of waiting to stock up every month or two — and hosted a card night with friends. “I couldn’t have done it without SEKMHC and Jed (case manager). They helped me untangle how I felt and understand that I deserve happiness. I’m so thankful for them!” the Grinch asserted.

The 2022 holiday season looks much brighter for the Grinch. Progress didn’t happen overnight, and he still has work to do, but he’s on the path to recovery.

“Before, I really felt like my heart was two sizes too small. But now I know I was doing it to myself,” said the Grinch. “This year, instead of looking down from Mt. Crumpit at the celebrations and grumbling to myself, my dog Max and I will be carving the roast beast and singing along with the Whos!”

Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center Crisis Services

Anyone facing a mental health crisis can call for help using our toll-free number: 1-866-973-2241. Services are available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.