Depression Comes for Christmas
If you’re thinking that the holidays are
supposed to be a happy and joyous time,
That’s what they are “supposed” to be.
In a perfect world, anyway.
The reality is that the expectation of feeling
the “holiday spirit” when you are grieving or
depressed can make getting through the holidays
even worse than your loss or depression are
already making you feel. Which is plenty bad.
Maybe Scrooge Was Just Depressed?
My kid is in a production of Scrooge The Musical
this season, and it got me thinking that Scrooge was
maybe just depressed and grieving…not a bad guy.
Yes, he chose money over people and that didn’t
work out so well. But he grieved the loss of his
one true love, no matter that he sent her away.
He didn’t eat well. He didn’t allow himself to
partake in anything that smacked of joy or
fun for fun’s sake. He didn’t have any friends…
and didn’t understand why they were important.
He was still grieving the loss of his partner, Jacob.
If you’re grieving a major loss this holiday season…
the loss of a loved one, a home, a job, a dream…
then it’s going to be difficult to feel joyous.
If you’re struggling with depression
(unipolar, bipolar, or seasonal), the holidays
can illuminate just how depressed you feel
when everyone else seems to be having such
a great time decorating, partying, etc.
You’re not being a Scrooge just because
you’re not feeling the holiday spirit.
You’re being a human being.
What Scrooge Was Missing
Scrooge…at least the character of Scrooge…
was a human being. His losses needed to be grieved.
He needed love, care, and support from others.
He needed good nutrition and a little extra sunlight.
He needed to allow himself to care for others again,
to move on into his life with an open heart,
to care for himself, and to care about life.
What You Can Do This Season
If you are grieving or depressed this holiday season,
instead of looking at all the things you can’t easily feel
or do, look at the things that you CAN feel and do.
1. You CAN let yourself be a human being who is doing
the best he or she can right now, given the circumstances.
2. You CAN do something every day to show someone you care.
It doesn’t have to cost anything…probably better if it doesn’t!
3. You CAN do something every day to show yourself some care.
Give yourself the gift of good nutrition, a walk outdoors, time with
pets or people who make you feel good about yourself….daily!
4. You CAN make a plan for the next month that includes
activities that are good for your health and mental health,
and eliminate any that wouldn’t be good for you right now.
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, just
because it’s the holidays…this is your life.
“Will You Not Speak to Me?”
But don’t forget that the holidays just may have
something to show you. When the final Ghost of
Christmas Future came for Scrooge, he said to it,
“I fear you more than any spectre I have seen.
But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and
as I hope to live to be another man from what I was,
I am prepared to bear you company, and do it
with a thankful heart. Will you not speak to me?”
If It May Just Be…
If the holidays are allowed to just be…
if you will allow yourself to just be this holiday…
without pumped-up, unrealistic expectations…
there may be something for you to experience,
to learn, to understand, to appreciate…
even with loss, grief, or depression standing
beside you at the Christmas tree or Menorah.
I can’t tell you what that will be…it’s like a gift
with the tag on it “Do Not Open Until Christmas!”
And besides, that gift is just for you…