Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas "Crap"

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


mumtotwo said...

hugs to you dear woman. all the very best to you from another gal that has a wonderful husband!!!! ain't it grand!
love robin

Anonymous said...

My Dear Friend,

I am so grateful for Mark, and his ability to be clear, and caring and state things so you can hear them. Now, drink hot drinks, rest, cry and take the care offered. I am planning brunch for the boys and girls and Sheila. A simple dinner and then travel to Erin's house. We have simple gifts for each other. The day and meal is the family present. I have holiday funk too. Much milder than what you are describing. I love you. Beulah

Anonymous said...

My dearest sister-in-law (emphasis on the sister) if you want to know about depression just ask!!! You know I know lots and lots!!!!!!!! You are not alone, I am here for you--reach out (one of the major things I have learned). I have lots of books on depression and lots of experience with therapy. One book that really helped me understand and helped me overcome is The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns. As for Christmas, it is not about buying presents, cooking food, entertaining everyone but yourself. Christmas is curling up in your favorite chair watching your favorite Christmas movies while drinking hot chocolate cuddled in your favorite blanket. It is the joy of telling everyone you see Merry Christmas even if they look at you like you are nuts (cause hay I am). It is the feeling of Santa in your heart (even if you know you're getting nothing for Christmas). It is reading the Christmas Carol every year before Christmas eve. It is rejoicing that you do have someone to spend the day with doing nothing but what you want--walk in the snow, sleeping late, coffee in your jammies, dinner in your jammies (actually suffering from depression you really should get dressed every day but hey it's one day). Make a snow angel, make a snow man, you can do anything you want-forget baking, parties, presents and just enjoy the feeling of the season!!!!! There's another wonderful book I read every year at Christmas--The Christmas Chronicles by Jeff Guinn. It contains 3 stories that are truly amazing-The autobiography of Santa Claus, How Mrs. Claus saved Christmas, and the great Santa search. I don't have anyone to spend Christmas with but that's ok. I'm going to paint, read, and make a turkey TV dinner and will be just fine. Merry Christmas oh sister of mine.
Love ya,

Annimal said...

Thank you so much for the kick in the ass. "stop tying to be Martha Stewart". I DO try to be her thinking my life will be perfect with one more recipe in the oven. Then it's the end of the day, my feet hurt, my back hurts and I am tired and cranky and not even hungry for anything I've made except cookies.
I'm looking at a small pile of presents this year, feeling a sadness that I had to scale back my spending and trying to tell myself that the kids won't be disappointed, I know they won't be, it's ME that I don't want disappointed. I get so much pleasure from their excitement, it gives me the joy I've never been able to find for myself at Christmas.
A neighbor called last night crying and needing a shoulder, she is out of sorts with her 16 y/o daughter. Wanting to know how to keep her from sneaking out of the house and following a dark path. After our conversation I looked at my 3 children and my heart sang with joy that I don't have the trials of so many parents and I take it for granted and don't appreciate all I have on a daily basis.
What I want for Christmas--what I need for Christmas, is gratitude. Simple gratitude. For all I have, for I have all that I will ever need.

Helen said...

Merry Christmas to you and Mark...may you find the wonder and hope of a child. And, if you don't, so what? ;-) Sounds to me like you have already gotten a great gift this Christmas -- insight into YOU.

Love, Helen

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