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20.12.16

Dealing with Depression at Christmas




There is so much pressure surrounding this time of year. If you're not radiating 'merry' or 'jolly' vibes, 24/7, it can begin to make you feel like a total Grinch, am I right? 
Last year, I told myself I wasn't allowed to feel depressed at Christmas. I was supposed to be full of joy and merriment, and not depression and anxiety. I told myself I had to do 'Christmassy' things and get out of the house and 'have fun'. I thought about it every day - as if I was 'wasting' Christmas by not playing the donkey in a nativity, or laughing in the snow whilst making snow angels. 
I wanted so badly to be excited and happy - Christmas has always been my favourite time of year - however, seeing as the year before (2014), I really hadn't partook in the celebrations very much, last year I put a lot of pressure on myself to make that Christmas perfect. 

I remember that, for most of the month of December, I had this constant question in the back of my mind: "why do I not feel festive?" or "why do I not feel like I used to feel at Christmas?" - I just didn't understand what was different. The year before last (2014) was obviously going to be different, I could comprehend that - I mean, I could barely eat Christmas dinner in 2014, where as now I could eat 6 plate fulls - 2015 was meant to be 'normal' again though... so why did I not feel the way I would 'normally' feel?



At Christmas, it can almost be like we're being brainwashed into having to be happy. It's like we almost feel like it's a 'duty' not to be down or 'ruin the fun'. Around us, all we see are festive lights and Christmas shoppers, and all we hear is Mariah Carey constantly on repeat - we don't really get chance to get away from it all. We spend an entire month wanting to feel happy and a part of the festivities, yet sometimes as human beings, we might just not be in the right place to be feeling like that. Sometimes we might have other things going on, other than Christmas. Sometimes we may have lost a loved one, or be suffering from an illness, or (a tough one at this time of year) be dealing with debt or money problems. Not everyone can just turn on the Christmas tree lights and feel 'ok'. 

Don't get me wrong, there's absoloutley nothing wrong with enjoying the festive fun at this time of year. I mean this year, I may as well be dressed as an elf every single day, because I've literally had Mariah Carey on repeat since the 1st and decked my room full of fairy lights and festive Yankee candles, however, last year, things were so so different - I wasn't in a 'good' place. 
There is absoloutley nothing wrong with not enjoying the festive fun either though. It's totally okay to want to just get Christmas over and done with, or to not even celebrate it at all. It's okay to be grieving or feeling low - at the end of the day, our mental health and other problems don't just get put on hold because Santa's coming to town. Depression doesn't stop at Christmas - in fact, it rises by a pretty big percentage.



I'm sorry that this post isn't very jolly or some kind of 'Last Minute Gift Guide' but I just want people to know that you don't have to force happiness just because it's Christmas. You don't have to act like everything is fine - we're all still allowed to struggle and deal with things, no matter what time of year it is.
I really tried to force myself to be a part of Christmas last year. I constantly told myself to cheer up or that I should be playing Christmas songs and dancing around, when really I wanted to hide away in my bed, under my duvet cover and just sleep until it was over. I wanted to be like 'Holly from 2012' who made everyone wear Christmas pajamas and wake up super early to give each other presents - but that wasn't 'me' anymore. In fact, I was 'Holly from 2015' who, despite not being in the depths of an eating disorder, was still going through a lot of shit. I wish I would have just accepted that.
It got to Christmas and I just ended up feeling sooooo deflated. I was trying to 'big up' Christmas, as if it was going to bring all of my happiness back - but at the end of the day, it wasn't going to do that, no matter how brilliant a time of year it can be.



So, my advice to you is, try your best to not let the pressure get to you. Try and focus on the people closest to you and your own state of mind. Don't be blinded by the twinkly lights and feel brainwashed by the loop of Micheal Bublé songs playing - just take care of yourself. Take one day at a time and don't force anything.
If you're not feeling up to 'rocking around the Christmas tree', then don't do it. It's okay for the same feelings you've had all year round or for the past month or so, to follow you into December. Our brains and bodies don't know that it's Christmas, so don't be hard on yourself if you're not radiating Christmas spirit.
If you feel like you need to take some time out or have break, then do it - your family and friends will understand. It can be such a wonderful time of year, but it can be incredibly stressful too. It's okay not to be okay.

Just like at any other time of year, I'm here if any of you need someone to talk to - I'm only a message away. I've also included some phone numbers and links below that some of you might find helpful, but if you're not up to talking then I just hope that reading this has helped slightly anyway.

Mind Info-line: 0300 123 3393 or text 86463
Samaritans: 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
Cruse: 0808 808 1677

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2 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling (I empathize and have been in that boat), but I want to commend you on speaking out about something that people are hesitant to, especially around this time of year. You should do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your mental health.

    I hope you have a good Christmas, Holly

    Alyse (J.X.L.) ▲ Lumière & Lens

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Alyse. It can definitely be a difficult time of year!

      Hope you're well and had a lovely Christmas and New Year! xxx

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