I’ve seen countless articles this week discussing grieving during the holidays, depression during the holidays… What should be a happy time of year, for me, is something I wish I could sleep through. I know, how could I say that?! I have a child who still believes in Santa. Heck, she believes that Stella the Elf is real and still doesn’t touch her. Did I mention she is 9? I love that she still believes and that is one reason I am living through this season of “joy”. I want to keep her happy.
If I had my way though, I would go to sleep today, remain in a coma-like state, and wake up sometime in January. The holidays are too painful. All the memories of last year. Happy, joyful, memories of a little boy experiencing his first real Christmas. With him gone this year, I am just left with those images that are piercingly painful instead of joyful. Playing out the last couple of weeks of last December in my mind causes tears in my eyes, not only for the first year grieving T, but for how quickly I fell, how quickly I succumbed to my anxiety. I am a week shy of my first real Panic Attack anniversary. This Attack that left me crippled, almost dying, fearing life with and without people. I am reminded of the hallucinations my brain tricked me into believing. I am also reminded of what followed…
The most severe Depression episode of my life. A year later, and I am still begging and pleading with it to leave my body. The Depression that sent me back to be hospitalized. Now, this little bugger, is keeping me from enjoying the holidays. Of course it isn’t working alone.
There is the whole issue with my In-Laws hating me, or at least the Depression is telling me that too. With this, I have decided on having a Jewish Christmas with my parents… Fiddler On The Roof, Chinese Food and Alcohol. There is a part of me that is aching, drowning in sorrow, that I will not be at my In-Laws enjoying Christmas Eve dinner like always and watching Sophia open gifts at the butt crack of dawn on Christmas Morning. But I can’t. I just can’t. I am so emotionally unstable, not sure of what words I may spew out if I went, knowing I would feel incredibly uncomfortable, most likely triggering a panic attack. Sounds merry, right?!
This year, I had to be a bit selfish. I had to put my Mental Health before the happiness of my husband and daughter. I am extremely lucky to have the two of them because they both understand. They have both witnessed my illnesses at their worst. But, I feel as if there really is no correct choice, Jewish Christmas versus Christian Christmas. Either way I suffer a bit inside.
So for this holiday season, please remember those that may not be in the spirit. They may want to be, but just can’t. Enjoy the holidays, try to really enjoy them and remember that happiness and joy. Hold on to it as much as possible so that no sorrow can penetrate it. Then, when at home later on, call or email that one family member or friend who has no happiness and be there for them. That one action means so much to us, being remembered is powerful.