A Blue Christmas
Managing depression and the holidays
The blue Christmas thing is relatively new to me. I used to like Christmas.
I already talked about this a little bit in a previous week’s Working On Us post. For most of my life, I was a Christmas girl (albeit of the atheist variety). It was a time for food, family, decorations, and more food.
Christmas was never stressful for me. I have a pretty small immediate family, so there weren’t a lot of people to buy gifts for, meaning it wasn’t an expensive proposition, nor did gift shopping take a lot of time. There weren’t a bunch of extended family members crowding around and laying on the pressure. Pyjamas were acceptable, and food (and booze) was plentiful.
There was the odd Christmas that I had to work, but even as an adult, most Christmases were spent with my parents, who live about four hours away. Christmas was one of my favourite times of the year.
Since my illness relapsed in 2016 and then became treatment-resistant, there are two major factors that get in the way.
One is anhedonia; I just don’t care in the slightest about Christmas.
Another is that I don’t feel comfortable with my family. It’s been 4 or 5 months since I talked to my parents. I don’t even remember the last time I saw my brother.
Probably my brother and his pregnant wife will go to my parents’ place for Christmas, although I don’t actually know. I’m assuming because they were at her parents’ place last year. I was there two years ago when they last did Christmas at my parents’ place, and it was just too much — too many people (yeah, even though it was just 4 other people), too much stimulation, no alone time.
I feel a sense of loss. Christmas as I knew and loved it doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t miss it in the sense that I wish I could do Christmas this year; I have zero interest, and I don’t care sufficiently to put up any decorations.
The loss is more all-encompassing than that, though.
It’s a loss of who I was and what mattered to me.
That loss is present at other times of the year as well, but Christmas is one of the times when it gets in my face a little more.
So it will be a blue Christmas, not because of what I choose not to have or do, but because of what is no longer available to me.
Originally published at https://mentalhealthathome.org on December 17, 2019.