I said that the other week. In loud ringing tones I said, "I can't wait until all this Christmas crap is over." I meant it. In spades. Turns out I am one of the people who gets depressed at Christmas. Not just a little blue but full out clinically depressed. Who knew? Not me.
I thought I was a person who was irritated by, but basically enjoyed the Holiday Season. Took a bout of immobility and my husband's fear to open my eyes. I have been going down hill for a while now. After Socks died I felt better. Why you ask? I had a reason to cry. But you can't sit around on your duff crying all the time and get any work done. So I got up to get back to work. Only I couldn't. You all know this condition so I won't describe it. Seven days ago I finally got up.
Husband and I were having a cold breakfast. I couldn't dredge up enough oomph to do more than put cold cereal and milk on the table. Mark said something, I don't remember what, and I lashed out at him. He, bless him, just sighed and said, "You get like this every Christmas. I wish I would get used to it." Shocked the jingle bells right out of me. "What do you mean 'Every Christmas'" I inquired in dulcet tones. "Every Christmas you get more depressed" he said. "Every Christmas?" "Yup, every Christmas for twenty years." "And what do you mean by 'more?'"
I got out my journals. Yup, every Christmas for twenty years. I apparently hate Christmas. I thought I was just stressed getting it all done. Turns out it goes much deeper than that. The journals outline the slow gentle spiral downward to my present condition, with a sharp decline noted each Christmas. In a nutshell this is what I am learning.
1. Striving for the "perfect" Christmas kills my spirit.
2. No family/friends close to hand kills.
3. Regret kills.
4. Spending money on crap kills.
5. The food fest kills.
6. Guilt kills.
7. Envy kills.
8. Not having a Christmas sweater that fits kills.
9. Fear kills.
10. Denial kills.
I am dubbing my current contingent of major depressive symptoms the Holiday Panic Flu.
I feel some better. Just knowing I am sick has helped. I have stopped scourging myself for not "doing" Christmas "right" and have begun to drink hot nourishing drinks and take healthy naps. I also take tears as needed.
Mark took the past week off to take care for me. That scared and helped me. I hadn't taken to a corner with a blanket over my head like my mother but I was close. I have had to fight off depression all my life and have been fairly successful, but since we moved up here I seem to be losing the battle. I am no longer able to hide my "shameful, weak, irresponsible" condition as well. At this Season of Cheer people are beginning to suspect. (smile)
I have resisted learning about depression. I research everything else like a fiend but know next to nothing about depression. I bought a book. If my pride will allow it I will read the darn thing. Yes I know, I probably need medication. But not yet. Maybe I can cure myself. Fat chance. Ho Ho Ha Ha. You get it.
Thanks for listening. Stop trying to be Martha Stewart and appreciate your blessings. Merry Christmas. Love Lynn