Season to be jolly? That's a lot of pressure for someone who is depressed.
Tis the season to be jolly? Even if you don't deal with depression you can find it hard to be happy just because it is Christmas.
I remember the first Christmas after my dad died suddenly at the age of 59. Christmas came three months later. I knew Christmas was going to be tough. I even wondered if there was some way to avoid it all together. A friend said 'sure you could avoid it this year but then next year you will still have to have your first Christmas without your dad. You may as well get it over with.'
The thing is, everyone else who was with me on Christmas day was missing him too and so I was not alone. No one there expected me to be happy about Christmas that year.
Depression is different. You feel very much alone. You can be sitting in party room pretending you are having a good time while inside you are wishing you were not there. 'Tis the season to be jolly' is a lot of pressure. The beautiful decorations, the heart-warming songs, the happy ending Christmas movies – all a reminder of how depressed you are.
You may imagine that you are the only one feeling this way. But you are not. Lots of people find Christmas tough, depressed or not.
So what is the solution? There are two solutions.
1. Be kind to yourself. Do the things that you know make you feel okay, that sooth you and comfort you. Don't do anything that is the opposite of that.
2. Be kind to everyone you meet. They just might be having a tough time too and are embarrassed to admit it to anyone else at this 'most wonderful time of the year'.
3. Give yourself permission to NOT enjoy Christmas, to NOT attend any events that are a strain for you. There is nothing to feel guilty about. The Christmas police are not going to come after you.
Put that Christmas crash helmet on and wear it before, during and after Christmas. Be aware that the season has landmines for everyone and take care of yourself.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? How are you feeling today? Are you looking forward to Christmas? Are you dreading it? Do you have some new ideas of how to handle it differently this year?
I am so glad you dropped by Depression Getaway today. There is hope for depression. Don't give up, I am praying for you right now:
Please be the Christmas crash helmet for each dear one reading this today. Protect them, love them, heal them. Help them navigate the Christmas season.